C171: Under the Maple Tree

I’m at the mountain dungeon with the elves today.

Well, to be more precise, we’re at the orchard within the mountain dungeon.

Elves are people of the forests by nature.
They make handy tools in the workshop every day, but I also want them to take a break and refresh themselves now and then in their spiritual home, a lush forest.

I asked them to walk around the dungeon orchard instead of the surrounding forest to get their opinion on something while they forest bathe.
Elves, being forest-dwellers, have the wisdom to make use of the forest’s bounty that they have accumulated over generations.

The pottery, leather goods, and glasswork they make in their workshops are the result of this, so they know a lot about forests, including things I don’t know.

I thought that if I let them wander around the dungeon orchard, they might develop some innovative ideas.

“…Hm?”

It seems Aileron caught on to something really quick.

“This tree looks good…” she says, her attention seemingly caught by a tree trunk.

As I observe, wondering what’s special about it, Aileron suddenly takes out a knife and…

Stab!
She stabs it into the tree trunk, its blade plunged in deep.

What is she doing?

“Just watch.”

She pulls out the knife and stares at the slit for a while…

Through the slit, a clear, viscous liquid comes out…

“Some liquid is coming out of the tree!”
“It’s sap.”

Sap?

“The amount of sap that comes out depends on the type of tree. I thought this one seemed to produce a lot; I was right on the money.”

Aileron scoops up some of the leaking sap with her finger and holds it in front of me.

…Is she telling me to lick it?
Something about this doesn’t feel right… Nonetheless, I take Aileron’s sap-coated finger into my mouth.

“…It’s sweet.”
“Right? It’s a way to get precious sugar in the forest as well as to quench your thirst.”

I didn’t know there was a way to intake water in the forest like this.
Their wisdom never ceases to amaze me.

…I feel like I’ve tasted this sweetness before, though, but from where?

“Lord Saint, what kind of tree is this? I must take note of it since it produces sap easily.”
“Oh, this tree is…”

I look up and suddenly recall that I planted this maple tree not for its fruits or lumber but for admiring its beautiful red leaves in autumn.
I didn’t realize it would also have a practical use, such as producing sap…

And the liquid that comes from maple trees is…

“Maple syrup!”

So, the maple syrup treated like counterfeit honey uses this sap as its ingredient?!

“What’s the matter, Lord Saint?”
“Aileron! I need your help! There’s something I want to try!”


Aileron and I collected sap from the surrounding maple trees and brought it back to the mansion after filling up one leather bag.
I then transferred it to a pot and let it boil over the fire for a while…

The water evaporated, leaving most of the sweet taste, thus increasing its concentration.
It became the viscous, amber-colored liquid I remember.

I dip my finger in it and lick the syrup.

“It’s sooooooooooooooooooo sweet!”

It’s much denser and sweeter than the raw sap after concentration!
A 100% syrup!

We have brought maple syrup to this world!

“I didn’t expect to make something this good by chance!”

The elves’ forest wisdom really is a boon to us.
I’m sure I’ll be relying on them more and more after this.

But for now, I’ll stick to making use of the maple syrup I have just acquired.
How can I make this maple syrup truly shine?

“…Pancakes.”

When you say maple syrup, it just has to be pancakes.

What better way to get the most out of the sap’s sweetness than by eating piping hot pancakes drizzled with maple syrup?

“All right! We’ll try making pancakes next!”

First, we must prepare the pancake mix!
But then, it hit me.

“Uh… What goes in a pancake mix again?”


How to make pancakes: add milk and eggs into the pancake mix and cook.

“How the hell do you make pancake mix?!”

I used to buy pancake mix at stores back in my world, so the question never crossed my mind—What’s the difference between pancake mix and wheat flour?

I don’t know how to make pancake mix, so I’ll just have to use wheat flour as a substitute!

Eggs, in!
Milk, in!
Wheat flour, in!
I don’t think that’s enough, so… I’ll add some sugar too!

I’ll cook using these ingredients for now.
I pour the well-mixed batter onto the heated pan.

I’m using the mana metal pan that doesn’t burn, rust, and easily removes grease. Even scrubbing it with a scourer doesn’t leave a single scratch!

Once the surface started to bubble, I turned the pancakes over with a spatula.

“It’sh dhooooooooooooone!!!”

Bam!
After checking how well it’s been cooked, I transferred it onto a plate…

“Order up!”

They may not be fluffy enough, but the otherworldly pancakes are done!
I’m going to dash maple syrup on them while they’re still hot.

Butter is almost a must for pancakes, so I placed a lump of butter on top. As it melted slowly and soaked into the pancakes…

“Butter!!!”

The earth spirits appeared.
They sure are sharp when it comes to butter.

“I can smell the butter! Did you make another butter dish?”
“Master’s butter dishes are sooo goody! I wanna taste it!”
“Butteteteteteteteter!!!”

The earth spirits and I had an intense staring contest, but in the end…

“All right, you can have some.”

I did expect things would turn out like this.

“Yay! Yay!!!”
“I love you, Master!”
“Butteeeeeewgh!!!”

The earth spirits happily take a bite off the pancake.

“Yummy, yum, yum!”
“Utterly, buttery delicious!!!”
“The sweetness of home!!!”

I’m glad they like it.

I’d say making otherworldy pancakes right after making otherworldy maple syrup is a huge success.
Nevertheless, one question still lingers in my mind…

“What’s the difference between pancake mix and wheat flour?”

It seems this mystery won’t be solved any time soon.

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4 thoughts on “C171: Under the Maple Tree

  1. jorgelotr

    The difference is mainly chemical leavener (+extra additives that depend on the brand/regulations).
    Also, if you speak about pancakes as a concept (including crêpes and other variations), each one has its own spin.

    1. lecora alzuras

      That’s correct that I can remember from my cooking/baking. The leavener (or baking soda) helps give some rise to your baked goods.

      Without it, the pancakes become less fluffier that I remember.

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