Chapter 11: First Employee
Translated by me, edited by Kai.
The meat has a unique tightness and odour only found in beef, making it taste just right. The meat itself is especially tender and succulent, and when you bite into it, it melts in your mouth. With the extra kick from cayenne pepper, Jiang Hai excitedly wolfed down a piece and reached out for more.
A half-inch piece of roast beef, was demolished in around two to three bites. Table manners like this would definitely breach upper echelon etiquette, and result in snide comments. However,
it made Robins very happy that Jiang was enjoying his cooking. To be completely honest, Robins’ cooking skills can only said to be average and nothing special.
The beef this time had lost much of its taste and elasticity due to being slightly overcooked. Chinese people tend to like their meat well done, not like the westerners with their medium rare. Thus adding on some very primitive seasoning (1), it can only be said to be very average. At least the meat prices in America is almost dirt cheap compared to the expensive vegetables.
Since Jiang Hai is coming to America to invest in ranches and such, he had of course done some basic research into these areas. The beef in America is graded on both it’s age and it’s marbling (2). There are 8 different marbling grades: prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter and canner. The age of the cow when it was slaughtered is also graded from A to E. Where A grade beef is between 9 and 30 months old. B grade ranges from 30 to 42 months, C grade ranges from 42 to 72 months, D grade ranges from 72 to 96 months, While E grade is from 96 months and onward. Pretty much all the meat sold in supermarkets in the USA are all A grade.
No one is willing to keep their cattle past 30 months since they lose too much profits this way. The only possible reason of why they would keep their cows is if the beef prices are substantially lower this year. But ever since America started to export to countries such as China, Korea, and Japan in Asia, people rarely keep their beef, the most they do is only cap the prices.
The beef that Jiang Hai is currently eating is of the standard grade. Prime and choice cuts never show up in supermarkets since they have their own specialized stores or it’s provided to high-end restaurants. The best grade beef available in supermarkets is the select cuts, but it is also the most expensive. A pound of select grade beef costs around 50 USD, but standard, commercial and utility cuts are much cheaper.
Standard cuts cost around $8 a pound, $5 for commercial and only $3 for utility cuts. Cutter and canned cuts can’t be sold straight away; they need to be processed first. Cutter cuts generally tend to be processed into ground meats, costing around $1 for a kilo (3). Canned grade cuts are used to make canned beef. Except being specially used in military, no ordinary citizen will eat them. Their only used as special pet food. When on sale, these cans cost around 30 to 50 cents, otherwise it usually cost a buck or two for a kilogram of canned beef (4).
Beef in America is seriously cheap. The standard cut that Jiang Hai is currently consuming is much tastier than the ones in China. This is not him idolizing foreign things, but it’s mainly because of the quality of meat of the cows when slaughtered. The cows in China only have an average of 50% saleable meat while the ones here average around 80%. This 30% gap is seriously big.
This kind of meat in China is generally reserved for the steakhouses, while the ones available in markets tend to only be commercial grade. The tough cuts, like the chuck and the brisket, tend to only be of utility grade. Although Boston has a high cost of living, but the cost of utility grade beef when converted to Yuan is not even 20 Yuan for a catty, but in China it costs more than 40 Yuan (5). The $40-50 standard cuts when sold in steakhouses in China would cost at least 200 to 300 Yuan. This is the difference, as long as you cook the meat thoroughly and remove any odours it might have, then of course it will taste delicious.
Now onto that piece of fish. From the first taste, Jiang Hai can only be surprised at how delicious it is. It even has a subtle sweet taste to it.
“This is atlantic cod, one of the most sought after fish in the Atlantic. There use to be some here, but if we’re going to have to farm fish, then this species is a must have.” Seeing Jiang Hai’s satisfaction, Robins explained.
“En, If this was sold in China then it would probably be very welcoming.” Jiang Hai agreed.
This type of fish is very delicate. Since this is a cold water fish thus it has a subtle sweet flavour with no random bones throughout it’s body. After just one bite, Jiang Hai is already in love with the taste. Thinking about his abilities, the resulting beef and fish from his farm will definitely be better than the average ones on market, so it will definitely take less than 10 years to get returns on his investments.
“Haha, that’s your problem now boss. We don’t have these connections, so we generally always sell it to the livestock cooperations.” Robins laughed at Jiang Hai’s remark.
In America, when selling livestock, they don’t go looking around for outlets, but directly sell to government at their predefined prices. Of course there are some private buyers, but these prices will never be more the set prices and there is also no guarantee on how low it might drop to. Thus most products are all sold directly to the government, where they then distribute it all over the country at a set price. Products like corn, wheat, beef, lamb, fish and other livestocks are all like this. There are fluctuations in prices everywhere but it is never too much.
Since there is no way to transport vegetables over long distances while keeping them fresh, thus the price of a good lettuce can be comparable to standard cuts of beef. A lot of people probably won’t understand the underlying meaning here, but selling vegetables is definitely a great way to make money. For example, the vegetables currently on the table is from Robins’ gardens. He doesn’t have the extra income to buy these vegetables.
The two continued chatting as they ate, and without knowing, they had already finished everything. Seeing the invigorated Jiang Hai, Robins can’t help but ask, “So, Mr. Jiang, what do you plan to do now with the estate?”
Hearing Robins’ question, Jiang Hai thought a bit before replying, “Probably return it back to what it was. Ranching cattle and lamb, farming fishes on the fishery. Brewing some wine is also a possibility.”
“You decision is very sensible. The ranch is great and very suitable for raising cattles. There is also a modernized shed for the cows left behind by the previous owner. Just some small fixes and it’s good for usage. Other stuff like the ride-on lawn mower is all there. On the dock side, there is already a 150 meter long wharf in place. So docking thousand tonnage ships is not a problem. At the very least there is no need to fix or upgrade it for the next decade or so….” Robins ranted on about how to develop the estate. At the end he carefully asked, “then to develop, you’ll need manpower. So can I continue working here?” (6)
“You?” Jiang Hai answered in disbelief. So this is Robins’ main purpose tonight.
“Mr. Jiang, I am a veteran cowboy. Here in the Boston region, my skills can speak for themselves. I’ve previously won awards in Massachusetts, Maine as well as Texas. I’ve been in this field for more than 20 years, so I can be a real help here.” Robins bragged. They all say Americans are all unsophisticated and straightforward, guess that’s all lies. Cause there’s a scheming one here (7).
Hearing all of this, Jiang Hai can’t help it but laugh. But he still agrees with everything Robins said. He really need workers. It doesn’t matter if it’s cowboys, fishermen, or even brewers. He need them all (8). If he was to go look for them himself, he’ll probably get cheated, but if he bring Robins then everything is solved. At the very least Robins was trusted to take care of this place by Philips, so he definitely can be trusted. Strength can be developed later on, but a person’s personality is the most important.
“That’s not a problem, but what’s your current wages?”
1. Salt, pepper and garlic. What else do you need?
2. marbling: the fat to meat ratio of the beef
3. Omg, my supermarket charges me at least $5 for a kilo, such rip off! D;
4. Holy sh*t, we’re getting ripped off by supermarkets. Damn capitalism >.>
5. The markets in this world are all scammers!! Also a catty = 500 grams
6. Holy sh*t that was a really big loop. -.-
7. Kai: and then there’s trump
8. Gotta catch, *cough* hire *cough*, dem all!