The two of them moved quickly and, after a short while, the box was oiled until the lard had properly and evenly soaked into the wood. When Su Tang saw that, she nodded with satisfaction. Just then, the water in the pot started to boil and Baohe hurriedly came and told Su Tang about it. Su Tang quickly instructed them to put the already prepared bucket into the boiling hot water, so that the contents of the bucket would be heated indirectly.
“Pour in the lard!” With Su Tang’s words, Zhang Cuilan quickly poured the previously prepared lard into the bucket.
However, in a place where Zhang Cuilan and her daughter could not see, the poured lard was instantly replaced with peanut oil from the space’s oil press by the orange cat.
“Now the peanut oil!” After confirming that the lard had been exchanged, Su Tang instructed the to and the rest of the oils one by one in turn.
Soon the bucket was filled with a golden mixture of oils, and Su Tang instructed Zhang Cuilan and Baohe to slowly stir the contents of the bucket with a clean bamboo pole.
Su Tang looked like she was supervising the two people’s work, but actually, she was staring at the orange cat, ‘Tell me when the temperature right!’
The orange cat swung its tail and sniffed. ‘I feel like I need to remind you that I am a Divine Beast and the Guardian of your space, not a thermometer or a scale.’
‘You should be glad that you can be a thermometer and scale and not just a Divine Beast and Guardian, otherwise, would you really dare to call yourself a Divine Beast?’ Su Tang retorted mercilessly. She was never polite when it came to the orange cat.
When he saw what Su Tang said, the orange cat’s tail stood up on end and he hissed out an angry ‘Meow…’ at her.
Su Tang said, ‘A cat is just a cat. Why pretend to be a tiger? A clever four-legged beast would be able to learn a bit from us two-legged beasts and not come out to embarrass themselves.’
The orange cat was so angry that it didn’t even want to look at Su Tang, so it turned around and left only a fluffy butt for her to see. Su Tang was amused by the sight and eventually compromised, ‘Alright, if you do this for me then I’ll make you some grilled fish tonight!’
‘That’s more like it!’ The Majestic Divine Beast quickly deigned to forgive Su Tang once food was mentioned.
This arrogant brat, Su Tang smiled and narrowed her eyes. He was so fond of fish but still wanted to claim that he wasn’t a cat.
Because there was a lot of oil in the bucket it took a long time for the hot water to heat it up to the needed temperature. It took more than half an hour before the orange cat said that the temperature was high enough.
“When stirring, make sure you do it like this, alright?” Su Tang heard that the temperature was about right so she walked over and taught Zhang Cuilan how to stir it properly.
“Understood.” Zhang Cuilan already had beads of sweat running down her nose and face from the work until now, but she was still very solemn and respectful as she nodded to show that she understood.
This was hundreds of copper coins worth of oil, ah, if something went wrong they wouldn’t be able to compensate for it even if they sold themselves again. Because of that thought, not only Zhang Cuilan, even Baohe was taking this work very seriously.
On the contrary, Su Tang was calm and composed. She casually walked over with over a smaller bucket that had a clear water-like substance inside.
‘Tell me when it’s enough and I need to stop.’ Su Tang readied herself to pour from her bucket, and at the same time communicated with the orange.
The orange cat nodded, so Su Tang began to slowly pour out the lye she had pre-mixed beforehand into the bucket. After a moment, there was a loud: ‘Meow!’
When she heard the orange cat’s prompt, Su Tang immediately stopped pouring the lye and ducked aside while saying, “Keep stirring!”
Although this wasn’t the first time Su Tang had made soap, it was the first time she had made it while using so many materials in an effort to make a lot at once. So she was being very careful, afraid that something might go wrong midway.
Zhang Cuilan didn’t understand what Su Tang was trying to do. She didn’t know why she had asked them to mix so much oil together and then added water because, as far as Zhang Cuilan knew, water and oil shouldn’t be mixed. But, despite her doubts, her hands never stopped moving.
The repetitive stirring quickly made Zhang Cuilan’s arms feel more and more tired. Eventually, Su Tang noticed her tiredness and asked Baohe to take over for a while so that the stirring never stopped.
At first, neither Zhang Cuilan nor Baohe understood what Su Tang was trying to accomplish but, after half an hour, they were surprised to see that the previously golden and translucent oil in the bucket had slowly become a pale muddy color.
tl note: I did a bit of research and soap can really be made like this. Lye can be made by boiling ashes (burnt wood) and if you add lye to warm oil or lard and stir it makes soap.