The kitchen in Sophies home was very clean, just like how her appearance was. Elegant, refined, and pure.
But Li Du could tell that the stove was often used, and this could also be picked out from what she said: "Do you need me to help out? Im pretty good with a knife."
Li Du said, "No, no. You can just rest outside Well, that was just a formality. Actually, it would be great if you wanted to help."
Sophie pursed her lips and smiled. She washed her hands and asked, "What should I do?"
Li Du said, "First, let me introduce the dishes I would like to make, and see if it suits your taste. It will mostly be vegetables. I think since youve been a surgeon for some time, youll probably be less interested in meat."
The female doctor nodded vigorously and said, "Yes, yes, youre correct."
Li Du secretly grinned. This was what Hans had told him. As to why Hans was so knowledgeable on the female doctor? It was simple: He had information on almost all the pretty, unmarried, young women in Flagstaff.
"What Im going to make is lettuce stir-fried with shrimp, cabbage with mushroom, cold and spicy mixed vegetables, zucchini omelet, and lastly, tofu soup with conpoy. Hows that?"
Sophie smiled and said, "Although Ive never eaten that stuff before, from the names, I know Ill like it."
The four dishes and the soup were simple dishes, but making them was not easy. These were dishes that Li Du had specially chosen. He had made them almost a hundred times each. Though the dishes were simple, he could create some special flavors.
The main factors in cooking were quality of the ingredients, the handling of the heat, and the seasoning.
For the quality, Li Du had chosen the most expensive organic vegetables. For the flame and seasoning, he knew how to control those easily. To top it all off, he had specially brought a bottle of peanut oil.
Americans tended to use more olive oil. Olive oil was suitable for grilling, or as a dressing, but for stir-fried dishes, peanut oil was better at bringing out the flavors.
Sophie didnt have much experience with Chinese food, and her knife skills didnt help much. What she mainly did was wash the vegetables. Li Du handled the cutting.
Li Du was preparing to begin stir-frying when the doorbell rang. Ah Meow sped to the door and jumped to look out the window. Then, it went to one side and continued playing.
Apparently, the person outside was not threatening.
Sophie, puzzled, said, "I rarely have guests at this time; who could it be?"
She went to open the door, and a clear, bright voice from a man sounded out. "Hi, my lil Sophie, have you had dinner? Look at what your dad brought for you?"
Li Du almost dropped the spatula he was holding when he heard that. Sophies father came?
In fact, her mother was here too. "Sophie, I knew you were home when I saw the lights on Hmm, it smells nice, are you cooking something?"
The mans voice continued sounding out, "Woah, has my daughters cooking improved so much? I told you that we wouldnt have to buy dinner for her. She can take care of herself, our daughter is the best"
Sophies parents approached the kitchen, and Li Du quickly tidied up his clothes and smiled toward the door.
A white old man walked in, smiling to the point that his eyes had turned in crescents. Due to the sudden encounter, the two of them were somewhat confused.
The short, old man was confused as to why there was an unknown man in his daughters kitchen. Li Du was confused about was whether this was Sophies father or her grandfather.
He examined the appearance of the old man, and felt that he was familiar, that he seemed to have met him before.
The old mans expression changed. He asked in a deliberately low voice, "Hey, kiddo, who are you?"
Li Du said, "Hello, sir. My name is Li Du. You can call me Li. Im a friend of Sophies"
"Just a friend?" The old mans eyes narrowed to almost just a line.
Li Du raised his hands up and said, "I swear to God, Sophie and I are just friends!"
Instantly, the old mans expression seemed somewhat despondent. "Just friends?"
"Not living together?" The old man asked, with some anticipation in his expression.
Li Du couldnt understand what he meant, but still answered honestly, "No, no. Youre mistaken. Were just friends, and tonight were having dinner together."
That was when Sophie rushed over and said, "Ah, Dad, Li, let me introduce you two to each other. This is Li, my good friend. This handsome fella over here is my dad, Mr. Thomas Martin.
Li Du reached out his hand and said, "Hello, Mr. Martin, you really are good-looking. I was curious as to why Sophie was so pretty, and after seeing you, I can guess why."
Mr. Martin laughed, and said, "This fella sure knows how to talk. Youre cooking, right? Sophie, how could you make the guest cook?"
The female doctor looked embarrassed. "Li Du has a hobby"
Mr. Martin didnt give her any chance to explain, and continued, "Youre not treating him as a guest, then? Ah, haha, I get it, my lil Sophie has finally grown up."
Li Du blinked his eyes a few times. Why did he feel that this old mister was different from a normal parent?
Sophie pushed him out, grumbling, "Thomas, what are you saying? Get out, dont disturb Li when hes cooking."
Mr. Martin was pushed out, and a beautiful lady that looked fairly like Sophie squeezed in. "Hello, Li. I am Lisa Martin, Sophies mother."
Li Du hastily greeted her, and the beautiful lady nodded with a smile. Her gaze was exceptionally piercing as she scanned him from head to toe, almost like an X-ray machine.
What was going on? Mr. Lis head was muddled with confusion. It seemed that Sophies parents were different from the parents of other normal daughters.
From what he knew, parents with daughters, whenever they saw a man they didnt know in their houseeven if they didnt display a strict attitudethey would instinctively be opposed to him.
The Martin couple was, instead, okay with the situation. From their words and actions, Li Du felt like he could safely say that these two seemed to already treat him like their son-in-law!
After the two left, Sophie returned and said helplessly, "Sorry, Li. My mom and dad are a little childish. I hope they didnt put you off."
Li Du replied firmly, "No, no. Theyre great. Theyre really friendly, it makes me feel at ease."
Sophie said, "Then sorry to trouble you, but youll have to continue here. I have to go out and tend to them."
"No problem! Go then, leave the kitchen to me."
Sophie had just exited the kitchen when Li Du heard Mr. Martins voice: "What are you doing out here?"
"To talk to you guys."
"Weve talked for 25 years, sweetie. Now what you need to do is go back in there and help that fella cook. The two of you have to work together, understand? You need to build up trust!"
Sophie said in shock, "Oh Lord, Thomas, can you hear what youre saying?"
Li Du scratched his chin. He wanted to know the answer: Could it be that he had a face that old people liked? Why did it feel like the old man was trying to put Sophie and him together?
In any case, the female doctor retreated back to the kitchen.
With them, the four dishes and the soup were not enough. It was a good thing that Li Du had bought enough ingredients; he would add four more dishes. The two seniors out there were important people that he had to leave a good impression on.
He had bought beef, so he decided to make stir-fried beef, pan-fried salmon with celery, braised assorted vegetables, and baby cabbage with minced meat.
Ah Meow smelt the fragrance from the salmon, and immediately crawled out from God-knows-where.
Mr. Martin exclaimed in surprise, "Oh, an ocelot! This cat is sure plump!"
Ah Meows tone was furious. "Meowww! Meowww!"
Mr. Martin exclaimed again, "No wonder I felt that Li seemed familiar. Weve met! I remember: He has been together with Sophie for a long time already!"
In the kitchen, Sophie and Li Du looked at each other, both at a loss.