Here is the bonus chapter, sorry about the delay
Thanks to: Divi, ireadfluff, MissButton, egosumqt, Shadoerunner
Luo Xun watched as the metal team members exuberantly looked forward to eating rice. The first mouthful was put hesitantly into the mouth, the whole team froze in place.
Luo Xun kept his head down and refused to look up. Yan Fei only had a small bite and he froze in place like the rest.
“This, what is this?!”
“This taste? Is this rice?”
“Tastes a bit like rice…”
“It would better to eat bread, even the corn flour noodles are better than this!”
Luo Xun bowed his head, biting back a smile. He only ate a few grains of rice…it had to be said that humans were adaptable to relative frugality and luxury. But only after a year of not eating this, once again tasting it was hard to swallow.
“No wonder they let everyone eat the new food first, what is with this taste!” Captain Guo threw the bowl.
Others silently gazed at the crystal clear rice, then thought of the smell…it was not that they were picky eaters…mutant grains and vegetables were too lethal a combination!
“It’s like eating sawdust.” The vice-captain managed to swallow a mouthful of rice before commenting.
Several soldiers exchanged looks, “But…we have enough to eat…it’s food after all…”
Yes, grain was precious in the apocalypse.
Although it was clear why the new grain was everyone’s new food, these were not good enough to eat. The higher ups did not want to eat it themselves? But what could they do? They could not revolt because of the taste. It was not like they had nothing to eat, it was just not tasty. It was still able to replenish energy, better than no food.
Everyone at the dinner table silently bowed their heads and ate lunch, there was none of the usual chatter. Even Luo Xun and Yan Fei tried to eat as much possible.
Before, eating was a method of relaxation and enjoyment outside of work, but now it was like a fight, completing a difficult task.
They silently ate lunch and began to work. Silently clocked off at three o’clock in the afternoon. The two men drove back home after work…dove into the planting room.
“You guys…what’s wrong?” Xu Mei and Song Lingling felt something was off about the two and followed in to see Luo Xun and Yan Fei crouching and looking at the rice.
Luo Xun turned his head, his expression twisted, “Base harvest.”
“Oh, shouldn’t that be a good thing?” Xu Mei was puzzled.
The two looked at each other, a tangled expression, “Tastes…very bad.”
The ladies froze, “Taste bad?”
“Yes, mutant rice…is disgusting.” Luo Xun nodded.
“Are you sure we are growing normal rice in our home?” Yan Fei had never seen rice plants – on TV did not count.
There were casual looks at fields during an occasional drive through the farmland. So he could not really tell the difference between regular and mutant rice. Not to mention that after steaming, the appearance almost looked the same.
Luo Xun nodded hard, “It’s real rice!” He had little normal rice, but could discern between types. As for benign rice mutations…he was afraid to wonder that they tasted like.
The two ladies were even more curious since even Yan Fei seemed unable to endure the taste of mutant rice. It was said that curiosity killed the cat. Luo Xun recommended that the two go downstairs and buy some new rice to taste.
The two ladies went out for food leaving the two men to watch the house along with Yu Xinran taking a nap with Puppy in her arms. After a quick walk around, the two women were smart enough to only bring back two bowls (few windows would not sell) to taste. There was also some leftover food that could be eaten, so they could endure until the crops were harvested.
That night, Li Tie and company with Zhang Yi all unanimously said – meals were inedible, no way to live, simply unable to endure!
“Oh my God! How can rice have this sort of taste?” Li Tie’s face was bitter, showing his pain and dissatisfaction.
“I thought there was a limit to how bad a mutant plant could taste, it tastes like sawdust down my throat! I had to wash my entire lunch down with water!” He Qiankun had the loudest complaints about food, he was the most stout before the end of the world.
Zhang Yi frowned and stared at the food – the plate had the rice that Xu Mei had bought. “I think it would be better to develop home cooking skills.” He looked at Wang Duo beside him.
Wang Duo immediately straightened, “I will follow orders!”
Han Li and Wu Xin also discussed, “We should try cooking at home too?”
“Yes, but I can only make scrambled eggs with tomatoes?”
Xu Mei and Song Lingling whispered before saying, “How about this, you learn to cook from us? We don’t have many recipes, but with the stuff at home and the vegetables can be cooked.”
The pair certainly could not cook for them, after all they had a lot of things to do during the day, and they had to look after Yu Xinran. There was little free time.
But there was nothing wrong with Li Tie and the others coming home and getting some pointers on how to cook simple meals.
Luo Xun added, “Frying something is very simple, not hard to learn. I’ll come watch when you practice and add some tips too.”
It was finally agreed to visit 1601 in order for team members to learn how to cook.
As for the used ingredients – of course part of it is distributed to them.
Before Li Tie and the others ate in the army canteen, they did not eat at home other than a change of pace. Previously, that part of the harvest was taken by Luo Xun and Yan Fei to sell to the army.
Now, they could give up the outer block, produce crops in order to survive.
In fact, after calculations, their harvest was still rich. A few could not be eaten, the rest were still sold to the military, but the benefits were not as much.
Since they were going to cook, they could prepare next day’s lunch. Everyone gathered on the 16th floor to teach the students how to fry vegetables.
Fortunately a large proportion of the grown vegetables were leafy greens with fast growth cycles. These kinds of vegetables were easy to deal with, simply fry with some salt to maintain some original crisp, no problem to eat.
Coupled with Luo Xun teaching people how to make all kinds of pickles – useful life skills.
“Unfortunately, there’s not much flour…Luo Xun do you want to plant some wheat?” When one mentions pickles, they think of steamed bread.
“Okay, when this wave is over, we’ll grow some.” Their home has a greenhouse, adjustable temperature. Much better than the fields outside, many bad things could be blocked due to planting indoors.
“And corn! There’s a harvest of corn this time, right? There doesn’t seem to be much.”
“Right, wait for these batches to grow.” They would have to wait, plant the next wave quickly, especially the short term crops that were only a few months old.
The cooking lessons were a success, at least the food was not poisonous and tasted okay. To be honest, since the apocalypse each meal was replaced with mutant vegetables and grains. Li Tie and the others suddenly felt that their green vegetables boiled in water sprinkled with some salt were a luxury meal with rice!
Looking at those five, novice cooking students eating pickles and vegetables so happily…Luo Xun taught them to make a dipping sauce to eat raw vegetables. The flavoring was also good on rice – unfortunately, they were running out of rice.
It was – outside food was so bad to eat, they ate lightly once they could see the bottom of the rice container. The happiest news? Of course – the rice at home had matured, could be harvested!
October 10, that day Luo Xun and Yan Fei came home early and did not bother to wash and change. They went directly to 1501 where the women were waiting for everyone to gather and harvest.
To be honest, they originally planned to use all the empty space to grow food, so the harvest was great. There were no pests or diseases, no natural disasters, the paddy fields seemed to have higher quality seedlings. People felt a great deal of confidence and expectation towards the harvest.
Several others with Yan Fei used sickles to harvest. Thankfully since they planted the rice in shelves with a layer of mushroom wood underneath, they did not even have to bend down!
At this time, all the water had been drained, once the rice was harvested, they could plant the wheat seedlings in the nursery. They could wait until next spring to collect a field of wheat.
The busy people did not pay attention to time, not long before Li Tie and the others came from work to join the harvesting efforts.
With the extra people, it was not long before the room was done. Luo Xun commanded the team to grab the rice and dry it on the iron shelf.
Yan Fei added some metal pieces to the iron mesh, lest any rice be lost, every grain of rice was precious.
Each room had a dial so the rice ripening date was somewhat different, but not by much. Since the drying area was really limited, they had to split into batches every two days. It took a total of a week to complete the drying.
Of course, during this period, Luo Xun planted the wheat seedlings into the box. One side began to deal with the rice, before the apocalypse Luo Xun had the foresight to get a home shelling machine. Although it was second hand, it was still usable.
The shell machine was a bit large and the team pondered and decided to separate the grains in 1603. Each evening the machine worked, a few busy days later, the team weighed their harvest and was excited to learn that the had nearly 600 kilograms of rice!
In the two floors, with the exception of living space, the rest of the area was planted with as many crops as possible. Of course Luo Xun’s place has less (only had the balcony with some fruits and variant plants), the rest of the space was maximized…
“So much rice…” He Qiankun said with an intoxicated expression. “This taste! The smell! This is real rice!”
“New rice is really fragrant, we will have rice tonight, eat with duck and some other dishes!” Xu Mei was also excited. She and Song Lingling checked the rooms each day, they had the highest expectations for the crops and rice.
Luo Xun smiled at the group, “Wait for everyone to gather, let’s split the crops.” He turned to everyone, “We negotiated the distribution, no one has argued against the previous agreement.”
People shook their heads. Rice and wheat, grains were a daily necessity, so the originally decided proportions were okay. Luo Xun was worried that everyone was not getting enough crops to eat on weekdays. He did not ask for a team portion of grain, but the two women needed to be paid some points and nuclei for their work.
After weighing the grain, throwing away the unusable remains, the rest were divided according to the number of people. Yu Xinran was younger, but everyone wanted to take care of the child and no one would rob rations.
With the previously prepared food bags before the apocalypse, everyone got more than 100 pounds of rice. This was everyone’s food rations for half a year, enough to last until next year.
In fact, there was not actually enough grain for everyone to eat, but fortunately there was a variety of vegetables such as potatoes and corn that were filling. They did not have to worry about starving.
Everyone smelled the fragrant rice in the pot, people felt very moved – especially after the army’s terrible dinner.
“Whoo-hoo I finally know true deliciousness, sure enough, homemade is the best…”
“Right, from tomorrow on I will bring my own food and not buy canteen meals!” Several people nodded.
Not just them, even Luo Xun had made up their minds, they would bring their own lunch. Li Tie and the others were very busy, after work they had sow seedlings and it was too late for cooking. They had to eat in the dining hall, it was a tragedy.
As for the military, although many soldiers had reported to their superiors that meals tasted bad. But logistics said – had to eat it, warehouse has no more grain. Who made the rice planted in open air mutate after being rained on. There was no other way.
Unless the rice was planted in a shed and carefully cultivated, but the cost and efficiency…less than half an acre, no way to increase the harvest.
These grains were handpicked by the army soldiers. Their own collected food was being eaten! Didn’t it just taste a little bad? Anyways, it also filled one’s belly, so they could only get used to it.
Due to mutant grain, the people who used points and crystals to buy rice were heartbroken. Before the food prices had risen, at least it tasted good. But now the dishes now tasted so bad, even rice was difficult to eat, how could people live?!
What else could people eat if they did not buy this kind of food? Now people regretted not insist on growing their own food at home.
But what use was remorse? All the empty space was filled with makeshift buildings! There was no place for clutter (it might get stolen). These days, it was a pipe dream.
It was clearly harvest season, but the base was bleak and gloomy. Fortunately, humanity might not have super skills, but their adaptability was first class. Once eating the food became a habit, they complained less about the taste.
Luo Xun and Yan Fei saw the students excitedly pack their food. The two whispered about bringing rice or not.
Their situation was not quite the same as Li Tie and the others. For them or Zhang Yi, they ate alone. Perhaps there might be people, but people would not disturb them.
But Luo Xun was different, they were still building a bridge and daily food was delivered directly by base cars. Everyone ate together, if they brought their own food it would be noticed.
If they had brought their own food from the start and not eaten military fare from the start, there would be no issue. Now after the communal food was so bad, changing their tune? Was that not ungrateful?
Plus, they were friendly with Captain Guo and their team members, if they knew about the good rice, they would have to share.
In order to avoid trouble, the men decided that they would eat lunch with the team! Was it not just a little bad? They could eat a larger breakfast, bring some snacks and so on. After coming home they could eat some more while busy.
During autumn, there was little idleness on the walls as the team dried a variety of things on it.
For the convenience of Xu Mei and Song Lingling, they concentrated these things on the 15th floors, leaving Luo Xun’s home covered in solar panels to collect energy, lest there be a power outage.
From this point of view, having a lot of space was a great boon.
Right, although Luo Xun wanted not to use all the roof, but their home’s electricity consumption was too large, so they had solar panels all over the place.
They were busy until the end of the month, almost all the crops were harvested and stored. Luo Xun and company had finished the day’s work and ready for their next base outing.