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734 Extinct Craftsmanship

 The first thing the old man talked about was his recent experiences. The old man lived on carrying passengers with his rickshaw. Strictly speaking, such a vehicle like the rickshaw was forbidden to be used for carrying people in Chengdu.

Although his vehicle wouldn't be confiscated, he would still be fined 200RMB if he was caught by the traffic police. That almost equal to his two days of revenue. Consequently, the old man usually hung around side streets on his rickshaw.

About half a month ago, the old man entered the side streets and came across a strange matter.

"A question for you. Do you think that liver could be eaten if it's not cooked?" The old man asked a question as he spoke halfway.

No matter where it came from, liver always had an offensive smell. Rumors on the Internet said that foreigners didn't eat livers. It was actually not totally accurate to say so. It was actually the Americans who didn't eat that.

The legendary British cuisine "Haggis" was cooked with the lamb's liver and stomach. The Germans liked eating blood sausage very much. There was also a traditional cuisine called Andouilles de Guemene in France, which was cooked with large intestines, small intestines, and some breadcrumbs.

Apart from the reason of excessive production of meat, another important reason why the Americans didn't eat livers was that they knew little about cooking. In their opinion, cuisines with internal organs were nothing but boiling them in clear water. People simply found it difficult to swallow that. It was believed that no Americans would like to eat such types of food if there were better ones.

It tasted bad even after boiling, not to mention if one ate it raw. Therefore, everybody on site shook their head one after another. How could one possibly eat it raw?

As it was related to good food, Yuan Zhou listened to them carefully without letting his feelings show. As far as his knowledge on cuisines went, the internal organs all needed to be cooked thoroughly through means of deep frying, steaming or boiling, especially the lungs. Apart from boiling, the rest required more complicated processing, just like a very famous cuisine called Horse Belly Plate in ancient times. The main ingredients were the large intestines and the belly of the horse. Furthermore, people had to stuff the horse oil into the intestines to wash them.

Most importantly, Yuan Zhou asked the system and even the system said there wasn't that kind of dish. In Yuan Zhou's opinion, there were two fields that could best display the wisdom of the ancient people. One was their buildings while the other was the good food. With regards to these two fields, ancient people had truly racked their brains and created many techniques that couldn't be uncovered by the current people.

Yuan Zhou was listening to him with great attention in hope of knowing what exactly the old man wanted to say. As for Wu Hai, he was also listening to him carefully. He showed interest in everything related to food.

"I came across an old brother in the side street, even older than me. He was dressed in the Chinese tunic suit and was sitting at the entrance of the vegetable market. The lamb dealers in the market would give all the lamb livers to this old brother for free. Even if other people wanted to buy them, they would say there weren't any and would then give the livers to this old brother." The old man was good at telling stories and thus, he attracted people's attention very easily.

Chengdu was situated in the southwest of China and it wasn't the northwest part where people liked eating mutton. So, there wasn't anyone who sold mutton in the normal small vegetable markets.

It wasn't an easy thing to buy lamb liver in Chengdu. The reason wasn't that it cost a lot, but there weren't many livers around the area. Simply speaking, the lamb livers were worth some money, yet the lamb dealers would rather send them to the old man than sell it to others. That was really interesting.

Then, the old man explained the reason to him. He continued, "I asked the lamb dealers curiously why they did so. One of them told me that the old man could cook very delicious lamb livers. Since it wasn't worth a lot of money, he would rather let it become a good dish."

What an interesting lamb dealer. Of course, what attracted Yuan Zhou's attention more was the delicious lamb livers.

There were many cooking methods of lamb livers. The most common one was Haggis Soup. And other traditional cooking methods included quick frying and cold-dish along with Chinese chives, cumin, and radish. The only unusual one that Yuan Zhou could think of was the Lamb Liver Infant Rice Paste.

How delicious could the lamb liver dishes be for the lamb dealers to send the lamb livers to him for free gladly?

"I'm quite interested in food, so I went over there to look for that old brother in the Chinese tunic suit."

It had to be admitted that the old man was a really optimistic person. He struck up a conversation with people wherever he went, previously the old street performer and now the older brother in the Chinese tunic suit. Thanks to his age and his kindness with smiles, he hadn't been treated as a liar and beaten to death.

"The old brother in the Chinese tunic suit is quite hospitable, so he invited me to his home for dinner," said the old man. "Then, I parked my rickshaw at the roadside. The reason why I asked that question just now was that the lamb liver dishes cooked by that old brother were cooked with none of the current cooking methods of frying, boiling or stewing."

Finally, the old man released a piece of shocking news.

Normally, the internal organs had offensive smells and besides that, the mutton itself had the goat odor. Under such circumstances, could that be eaten raw when it wasn't thoroughly cooked?

Then, Yuan Zhou could no longer maintain his usual aloof manner. Was there really such kind of dishes? He began to cock his ears and listened to the old man very carefully without missing a single word.

"I heard from this old brother that the name of this dish is very simple. It's called Raw Lamb Liver, just like the name of Raw Fish or Raw Beef," said the old man. Then, he continued, "It tasted really good."

The old man gave a thumbs up and continued praising, "Anyway, I've never eaten a more delicious lamb liver dish before."

"What's it like? Is it really uncooked?" said Wu Hai immediately. He asked the question that Yuan Zhou had wanted to.

"Since the name is Raw Lamb Liver, it's definitely uncooked. As for the appearance, the lamb liver was shredded." While the old man was recalling the dish, he said, "It seemed that he also added shredded ginger and radishes. The taste is really not bad. I can't describe that feeling precisely. By the way, there was also vinegar inside."

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"Does it have anything to do with the shredding?"

The customers asked one after another. Of them, Wu Hai was the most active one.

Yuan Zhou knitted his brows. That was totally impossible. According to the descriptions of the old man, this dish was supposed to taste very bad. How could it taste good?

"System, didn't you say there isn't any dish that uses raw lamb liver?" Yuan Zhou asked.

In the beginning, the system didn't say anything. Only after a few seconds did it release a recipe: [an intact lamb liver, immersed in water and then shredded; 200g of ginger, shredded; two radishes, shredded; 100g of coriander and knotweed, each, and shredded. Mix and blend them together with salt, vinegar, and mustard. (Note, this dish isn't a successful dish. There is too much offensive taste and thus, the flavor is severely affected.)]

Yuan Zhou obtained the related information from the system. Raw Lamb Liver was an ancient dish originating from the Yuan Dynasty hundreds of years ago. It was recorded in the book, Proper Habits of Food and Drink. However, the system believed that the offensive smell was too heavy and would affect the flavor. Therefore, the dish wasn't successful.

Actually, it was quite normal. Not every ancient dish tasted good. There were always one or two of them that failed, just like this one. The flavoring of radishes, coriander, ginger, and mustard were all used to remove the offensive smell. That's right, even soaking the livers in boiling water could help remove the bad smell. Nonetheless, that wasn't as effective as imagined to remove the offensive smell and goat odor of the lamb livers.

However, the old man was saying clearly now that the taste was quite refreshing and he even emphasized that for quite a few times. If he said so, that meant the offensive taste and the goat odor wasn't as strong as to be noticed. The problem was no cooking method could work to achieve that effect.

"Is it because of the knotweed?"

The only ingredient unknown to him in the recipe was the knotweed. Its full name was Inula salsoloides and it was a kind of traditional Chinese medicine. It was rarely used to be a food ingredient. The main reason was that it only grew around Inner Mongolia. And Yuan Zhou had never heard that it was an ingredient that helped remove the bad smell.

So what was the Raw Lamb Liver mentioned by the old man like?

Yuan Zhou had decided to try cooking it personally. Then, he let go of the anxiety in his mind and continued to cook.

...

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