Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
After Ling Ran parked his little Volkswagen Jetta, he could already smell the aroma of steamed salted pork in wine. He immediately got down from the car and headed to the kitchen.
Steam came out from the large steamer, which was as wide as the waist of a 270-pound fatty. Ling Ran could smell the aroma of fermented bean curd and meat.
The difference between steamed salted pork in wine and braised pork lay in the presence of fermented bean curd.
Not only could the fermented bean curd neutralize the greasiness of pork, but it was also an aromatic substance that brought a thick and lasting fragrance.
Aromatic substances were the source of fragrance for everything in the word that emanated a pleasant smell, including tea leaves, coffee, red wine, ham, white wine, and steamed salted pork in wine.
Ling Ran could not help but salivate when he smelled the familiar and tantalizing aroma.
When it came to home-cooked food made by his parents, steamed salted pork in wine was one of the dishes that left the greatest impression on him. Compared to the grandiose dishes Tao Ping always came out with in an impromptu manner, the quality of the steamed salted pork in wine made by Ling Jiezhou could be said to have always been consistent.
There were 1.3 pounds of steamed salted pork in wine in every bowl. After they were cut into thick slices, there would always be a total of twenty-four slices. The fermented bean curd made up the rest of the weight, perfectly solving the problem of unequal weight distribution.
Steamed salted pork in wine was always made with pork belly because it had intersecting layers of fat and lean meat. They were either made using pork belly with four or five layers, and both kinds should not be used at the same time in one dish.
The process of making steamed salted pork in wine was also very simple. The homemade fermented bean curd Ling Jiezhou used was bought from the Cao family who lived at the corner of the alley. Their shop had been in business for around sixty to seventy years, and were from the same era as Lower Groove Clinic. Their products were excellent and consistent in quality.
The time whereby the pork needed to be steamed, and the amount of water in the steamer were also fixed. Thus, they could, without a doubt, look forward to bowls of delicious steamed salted pork in wine.
Even though the food in Shanghai was scrumptious, their flavors were different from what Ling Ran was accustomed to. After staying there for one month, Ling Ran’s digestive system could not really take it anymore. Come to think of it, in the past twenty or so years of his life, he had never really left Yun Hua for any extended period of time.
Ling Ran even attended university in Yun Hua and went back home all the time.
During his first year in university, when all the other young people who just entered it took pride in leading an independent life, Ling Ran still went home frequently, and he was not ashamed of it at all. Of course, all the female students greatly complimented him at the time, and said that he was an example of a filial child. This also encouraged Ling Ran to keep up with his habits of going home.
Ling Ran retrieved a wet washcloth and wrapped it around his hand. He then lifted the cover of the steamer and glanced inside.
The red and fat steamed salted pork in wine quivered under the steam, but they still kept their bodies straight resolutely. They also retained a certain degree of toughness.
“Are they not cooked yet?” Ling Ran sighed.
“They’re almost done.” Ling Jiezhou walked into the kitchen and smiled when he saw Ling Ran. “When I heard your car engine, I reckoned that you would head straight to the kitchen. Is steamed salted pork in wine more important than your father now?”
“Both are equally important,” Ling Ran answered without even turning his head. He knew that this was a ploy.
Ling Jiezhou snorted a few times. He then laughed and said, “Some are already cooked. I’m letting them cool for now. How do you want to eat them?”
“Ah… there are cooked ones.” Ling Ran’s mood instantly became elated. He quickly said, “I’ll have rice drenched in soup, please.”
When the steamed salted pork with wine was cooked, the lard and fermented bean curd would mix together and sink to the bottom of the meat. When it is added to rice drenched in soup, the end product would be an upgraded version of lard-flavored rice. It was probably an unparalleled delicacy in ancient times, and was still one in the modern era.
Ling Jiezhou chuckled a few times. “I thought you would want that. There’s rice in the rice cooker, go and get some for yourself. Also, don’t eat so much. It’s not good for your health.”
Ling Ran hummed in acknowledgement. He felt unprecedentedly hungry, as if he had never eaten his fill over the past month.
Ling Jiezhou watched Ling Ran with a smile as Ling Ran prepared his meal. After Ling Ran ate a mouthful of rice, Ling Jiezhou asked, “Son, I heard that you can perform major surgeries well nowadays, and you even operated on Liu Weichen?”
“Yeah.” With his eyes narrowed, Ling Ran grabbed a chunk of rice that was completely soaked in lard with a pair of chopsticks. Each grain of rice could be seen clearly, and they sparkled from the layer of lard that coated them. The rice was slightly hardened since they were left outside to cool for a while after they were cooked, and it was as if each grain of rice had developed muscles. With the layer of lard coated around them, they looked like an army of brave Spartan warriors, and the stainless steel soup ladle they closely adhered to looked like their armor.
Ling Ran swallowed the chunk of rice without chewing it.
Carbohydrates rich in lard and slightly hardened was such a sinful treat.
“Is it nice?” Ling Jiezhou asked.
Ling Ran nodded.
“Do you want more?” Ling Jiezhou asked again.
Ling Ran glanced cautiously at Ling Jiezhou. He then contemplated for a moment and said, “It’s not plausible to carry out those surgeries I perform in Lower Groove Clinic. Besides, celebrities won’t come here for surgeries.”
“I know. Even if a celebrity really comes to our clinic, I wouldn’t dare let our doctors treat him.” Ling Jiezhou chuckled a few times and said, “I would at least need to renovate the place to make it more fitting for celebrities. Oh, by the way, didn’t Brother Shanyu or whoever it was come to our clinic?”
Ling Jiezhou lowered his voice to a whisper when he talked about Brother Shanyu to keep the neighbors from hearing it.
The thing about living in an old alley is that even though the neighbors could be very friendly, they could also be very annoying.
Ling Ran raised his head to glance at his father. “She only came here for a massage. I don’t know her.”
“It’s okay as long as she knows you, but we’re not going to talk about her today.” Ling Jiezhou paused for a moment and said, “I was thinking about something… Say, you can even perform finger replantation surgeries now. It requires a very high degree of precision, right?”
With Ling Jiezhou’s medical skills, he would not even pass as a barefoot doctor. But he was knowledgeable when it came to the field of medicine itself since he grew up in a clinic, and had watched his father and grandfather work.
Ling Ran nodded slightly. “It’s a microsurgery. Blood vessel anastomosis does require a relatively high degree of precision.”
“You need a microscope with 4x macro zoom lens, or lenses that are even better, right?”
“Nowadays, we only use microscopes with 8x macro zoom lenses,” Ling Ran said.
“Technology really does advance rapidly. In the past… Forget about it, let’s not talk about it. You probably know how to perform cosmetic sutures too, right?” Ling Jiezhou went closer to Ling Ran and placed a slice of red, fat, and tender steamed salted pork in wine into Ling Ran’s bowl. He said with a smile, “Do you want to sometimes perform cosmetic sutures in our clinic? If you need a microscope, I can also find ways to borrow one…”
“Alright.” Ling Ran grabbed the entire slice of steamed salted pork in wine. After chewing it twice, he then shoved another chunk of rice into his mouth. He felt extremely good.
Ling Jiezhou had already thought of eight different methods to persuade his son. Since little, Ling Ran was never the obedient type, and Ling Jiezhou had long since given up on asking Ling Ran to do things according to his train of thought.
This was why Ling Jiezhou was rather surprised when Ling Ran agreed so easily. “Really?”
“Because I do know how to perform cosmetic sutures.” Ling Ran finished the bowl of rice after only a few mouthfuls. After contemplating for a while, he decided not to refill the bowl. Instead, he wiped his mouth and asked, “How many patients are there?”
Puzzled, Ling Jiezhou glanced at his son. He then said, “A patient will be arriving in a while. She’s a client of Golden Deer Health Services, and the company takes 20% of our profits. If you’re able to treat the patient, the remaining 80% will go to our family. If you’re able to do more, I’ll ask them to send more patients over. Nighttime is the peak period when it comes to patients sent by Golden Deer Health Services.”
“Sure,” Ling Ran agreed. He then asked, “What about Doctor Miao?”
“There will also be ordinary patients. Besides, it’s not like you’ll be working here every day. We’ll just let him perform cosmetic sutures at other times.” Ling Jiezhou had made very clear calculations. Now that so many patients came to his clinic, he was open to discussion when it came to the distribution of profit and was okay with taking either 60% or 40% of it. What he needed to do the most now was to consolidate his clinic’s operations. Otherwise, they might lose their partnership with Golden Deer Health Services, and it would be very difficult for them to reestablish it.
Ling Ran did not think much of it. He took a shower and changed into a new set of clothes. When he went downstairs, he was already dressed in a large white coat.
“Young Ran, you’re back.”
“Perfect timing. Doctor Ling, can you give me a massage?”
“Young Ran, did you see any girls you like in the hospital?”
The neighbors greeted him with a very natural demeanor.
After Ling Ran massaged the neck and shoulders of the old woman who had requested it, and massaged an old man’s thigh, the VIP patient of Golden Deer Health Services arrived.
It was a young woman who injured the corner of one of her eyes in a fight. She had thick makeup on and wore a short skirt. She evaluated Lower Groove Clinic’s old building fastidiously, and said, “I’ve had blepharoplasty before. Are you guys able to treat my wound? If not, I’ll just—”
“Yes.” Ling Ran cut her off and asked, “Do you have any allergies?”
“Ah… no,” the young woman answered a little hesitantly.
“I’ll do a check-up first.” As Ling Ran spoke, he started performing a physical examination on her head. He began with a visual examination, and continued by palpating the young woman’s head and face.
The young woman blushed under Ling Ran’s gaze during the visual examination. She started to yelp in pain when Ling Ran palpated her head and face.
Miao Tansheng sat quietly on his chair. Even though he knew what Ling Jiezhou was trying to do, he did not want to interfere.
He knew that Ling Ran was a medical intern in Yun Hua Hospital, and often heard Ling Jiezhou boasting about his son. However, as a fellow doctor, Miao Tansheng knew too well how the standard of medical interns were like.
‘I’ll just let Ling Jiezhou run up against a brick wall so that he understands how difficult it is to perform cosmetic sutures. We’ll see what happens then.’ With this thought in mind, Miao Tansheng sat relaxed in his chair.
Cosmetic suture techniques were not top-tier skills, and many aesthetic medicine hospitals, or Departments of Plastic Surgery in hospitals, had doctors who knew how to perform it. It would only take one to three years for a doctor or even a non-doctor to learn how to perform cosmetic sutures if he were to put his sole focus in it. The only difference would be that some could do it better than others.
Aesthetic medicine hospitals with low entry requirements even had many of their students master cosmetic suture techniques in three months.
However, Miao Tansheng was confident that he was considered quite skilled in Yun Hua City. If he put aside those who were less skilled than him, Ling Jiezhou might not be able to afford hiring those who were more skilled than him.
With a smile on his face, Miao Tansheng watched as Ling Ran removed the young woman’s heavy makeup, debrided the wound, and browsed the selection of surgical threads in a pretentious manner.
Miao Tansheng could not help but criticize Ling Ran internally. ‘Such an amateur. You should discuss the price with the patient and let the other party choose the surgical thread she wants. Such an amateur… what the hell!’
Ling Ran—who had performed heavy reinforcing suture the entire afternoon—only took a few seconds to complete a group of four stitches.
Next, he slowly browsed the selection of surgical threads again, and started doing the subcuticular suture.
Without being aware of it, Miao Tansheng rose and went near Ling Ran. He earnestly watched Ling Ran work, and then went even nearer to earnestly watch Ling Ran work again…
“Doctor Miao, my son isn’t bad, right?” At some point, Ling Jiezhou had come to stand beside Miao Tansheng and looked at him with a smile.
“Yes, he’s pretty good…” Miao Tansheng wet his lips and said with an unnatural smile, “Doctor Ling is truly from a family of doctors.”
“Doctor Miao, you have been working hard lately. Why don’t we do this in the future: When my son is home, we’ll let him suture some of the patients. You will also get to go home earlier and have a good rest. I’ll try my best to ask Ling Ran to come home more. What do you think?”
Miao Tansheng hesitated for a few seconds. He was then lost in thought as he watch Ling Ran perform the subcuticular suture. ‘These skills, these are no longer ordinary skills. If I’m able to learn this surgical method of his…’
“Doctor Ling, if you’re willing, do go ahead with that. I’ll stay here just in case I’m needed since I’m in no rush to go home either.” Doctor Miao smiled as he spoke and continued. “Director Ling, don’t worry. When I said that I was tired earlier, I was just making a passing comment. I can still handle the extra shifts in the clinic.”
Doctor Miao took the opportunity to stand beside Ling Ran as he spoke and started secretly learning Ling Ran’s craft without bothering to hide it.
Ling Ran did not care. Even though some skills were honestly not worth much, without proper guidance, it would be difficult to master them through the powers of observation and comprehension alone. Aside from that, the heavy reinforcing suture technique and the subcuticular suture technique were established techniques with years of history and multiple schools of thought. If Miao Tansheng were to put in some effort, in the end, he would also get to see whatever he was observing right now somewhere else.
But Ling Ran was not interested in explaining whatever he was doing to Miao Tansheng. People looked at Ling Ran with admiring gazes all the time. One or two more made no difference, and Ling Ran was too lazy to pay any attention to them.