Gluttonous Crown Princess Chapter 20.1
After passing the Zhide Gate, it was the area of the Eastern Palace.
Although Tao Ti had only finished touring the Eastern Palace yesterday, she had a good memory.
She took on the attitude of the woman of the house and introduced the various parts of the Eastern Palace to the sixth princess as they walked.
The sixth princess looked around curiously with her big bright eyes, responding obediently from time to time.
When passing through the small garden, the double-petaled roses were blooming brilliantly.
Under the bright sunlight, the purple-red petals bloomed heartily, a show of vivid colour and exuding a strong fragrance.
Tao Ti stopped and said to the sixth princess warmly, “Come, let’s pick some roses to bring back.”
The sixth princess’s big eyes sparkled, and she asked, “Is sister-in-law picking flowers to make fragrance water”
Tao Ti said smilingly, “They’re not for making fragrance water, but for making snacks.”
When she was at the small garden yesterday, she had specially taken a look; these roses were all edible roses.
If it wasn’t because her main intention yesterday was to explore the entire area, she would have picked them yesterday.
Since she was free now, she could pick a basketful to bring back.
Seeing this, Linglong immediately asked a junior eunuch to prepare a basket and scissors.
Tao Ti took the sixth princess to stroll around the garden while picking out the flowers of excellent quality.
The Compendium of Materia Medica1 records: “Rose; clear but not turbid, warming but not aggressive.
Softens the liver and activates the stomach; invigorates Qi and promotes blood circulation; and clears stagnation without any disadvantages of heat and dryness.
It is the most effective and tame of the medicines in regulating Qi, and there is scarcely any equal in the use of aromatic products.”
After picking a basket of flowers, the two girls headed to Yaoguang Hall.
Tao Ti’s Yaoguang Hall was decorated in a very warm and cosy manner.
After getting familiar with the supervisors of the three courts and five bureaus, she asked for quite a lot of flower seeds and potted plants, and filled the empty spaces in Yaoguang Hall with flowers and plants.
She had also planted a plot of fruit trees in the backyard, such as pear trees, peach trees, apricot trees, pomegranate trees, and so on, and thought happily about how she could pick fresh fruit off the trees to eat when they fruited the next year.
Of course, it had also crossed her mind that perhaps before the trees could bear fruit, Pei Yan would have already given her a marriage annulment letter… And this marriage annulment letter, from another perspective, was also Pei Yan’s death notice.
Tao Ti tried her best not to think about such sad things.
She personally hoped that Pei Yan could live a little longer, that he would be able to at least taste the fresh fruits of the four seasons and enjoy more of the little things in the world.
That way, when death came, he might have fewer regrets.
The sixth princess was still a little reserved, but Tao Ti didn’t treat her as an outsider at all.
She placed all sorts of candied preserves and pastries in front of the sixth princess and said warmly, “Feifei, sit and rest for a while, I’ll go make you some desserts.”
“Sister-in-law, don’t bother...” the sixth princess stretched out a small finger and pointed at the pastries and candied preserves on the table, “There’s already so much to eat.”
Tao Ti hurriedly said that it was no trouble, then turned around and went into the kitchen.
Seeing how welcoming her sister-in-law was, the sixth princess’s heart was warmed.
She sat on the couch in an orderly manner to wait, neither wandering off nor touching anything, and only picked up a piece of pea-flour cake and ate it in small bites.
She had thought that the “I’ll be back soon” that Sister-in-law Crown Princess said was just a casual remark and did not expect that when the tea in her cup was still warm, Sister-in-law Crown Princess came back.
“It smells so good...” the sixth princess inhaled the sweet fragrance and looked curiously at the tray a palace maid was carrying.
Tao Ti motioned to the palace maid to set the desserts down and sat down opposite the sixth princess.
On the red sandalwood table carved with an auspicious pattern were two desserts in exquisite white porcelain bowls.
They did not look very different from regular sweet soups2, but the rich fragrance of milk and flowers filled the whole hall, as if one had sunk into a sweet and beautiful dream.
“Sister-in-law, what kind of desserts are these It’s my first time seeing them.”
“This one, is milk soup with peach gum and dumplings.
The other one is rose fragrance ginger milk curd...
I hadn’t planned on making the ginger milk curd, but seeing that the roses we picked are very fresh, I just decided to make it.” Tao Ti handed her a silver spoon and smiled, “Try it.”
1 Compendium of Materia Medica: A Chinese herbology volume written by Li Shizhen during the Ming dynasty; its first draft was completed in 1578 and printed in Nanjing in 1596.
It is a work that lists the materia medica of Chinese medicine known at the time.
It lists plants, animals, minerals, that were believed to have medicinal properties.
2 Sweet soups: Or Tong sui is a collective term for any sweet, warm soup or custard served as a dessert at the end of a meal in Cantonese cuisine.
Tong sui are a Cantonese speciality and many varieties are rarely found in other regional cuisines of China.
Outside of Cantonese-speaking communities, soupy desserts generally are not recognized as a distinct category, and the term tong sui is not used.