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Saki nodded while grinning cheerfully.
“Oh, I’m counting on you, Reinhart! I’ll be very happy if this region becomes richer because of this.”
“Leave it to me. Would it be okay if I mentioned that the harvesting method is still under research, but that the manufacturing method involves filtering out its impurities and then boiling it down?”
“Yeah, that’s right. As a sample, please take this pot… no, just take half of this pot’s worth of syrup!”
Saki was so hungry, she probably wanted to eat that maple syrup, as she said that with an ashamed expression while scratching her head. Reinhart nodded as he laughed.
“Haha, roger that. You’ve got quite the sweet tooth, as usual!”
After hearing that, Jin quietly uttered a small question.
“Saki, don’t you have any ingredients left?”
He was wondering if there was even a bit of barley, wheat flour, vegetables or even eggs left.
“Hm? There probably are some things left, but… I’m ashamed to say that I’m quite poor at cooking.”
This was the second coming out for Saki today.
“Alchemy and cooking are two different things!”
Saki had suddenly blurted that out as an excuse, but nobody seems to have heard her.
However, it seemed as if Reinhart was aware of what was happening in Saki’s direction because he expressed a bitter smile.
“… It’s true, Jin. When it comes to Saki’s cooking abilities, you’ve only got the ‘lethal’ variant and the ‘certain death’ variant…”
“R… Reinhart! What do you mean by ‘certain death’? At worst, I’m just extremely useless when it comes to cooking…!”
Her voice grew thin as she scolded Reinhart.
“Who was the one that didn’t check whether it was sugar or salt before using it? Who was the one that dropped an open bottle of spices into the cooking pot? Who was the one that served the dish before tasting it even once? Who was it, huh?
“Uuhhh, that was such a long time ago…”
“A long time ago? Come on! You prepared that dish saying it was my farewell gift as I was leaving on my journey! I was shocked! I almost had to delay my departure because of that!
Reinhart’s voice became unusually stern. Jin secretly sympathized with Saki, as he seemed to have had such hard times in the past.
Jin understands this because of his past experiences in the orphanage. Normally, one should challenge basic recipes after mastering the art of cooking, but how many children end up adding ingredients that are not in the recipe, or without measuring first, all of a sudden, without knowing what they’re doing?
On one occasion, he ended up with a sponge cake so flat that it looked like a piece of cardboard, salty chocolate milk, and to top it off, a mint tea full to the brim with mint oil. He thought it would be ok to add a bit of black tea to it, so he put a whole teaspoon in. After that, Jin wasn’t able to eat anything for two days, and what’s more, his whole body had reeked of mint oil for a week.
There is certainly a special kind of people who have no sense of cooking in this world. They mean no harm but have a hard time dealing with it.
Now, back to the story.
Saki has not eaten anything since last night. And she cannot cook. Moreover, she’s all alone in her house now.
“… Where is the kitchen?”
Since it would take Reinhart some time to go back to his house and make preparations for lunch, Jin wanted to know if there was anything that could be prepared quickly.
To Saki, hearing such a question from Jin was as if some god of salvation had spoken to her.
“Oh! The kitchen! It’s right this way!”
Having said that, she rushed out of the laboratory while dragging Jin along.
Reinhart soon followed them while laughing. It seemed that he was not seriously mad at Saki, after all.
“Hmm, wheat flour and eggs, and this… is this milk?”
There were no vegetables. No barley, either. He later found cooking oil and something that looked like butter.
“For now, let me try to prepare something with these.”
Jin had Reiko fetch both the stove he had made and the maple syrup that they had prepared earlier. Meanwhile, he started to get some dough ready by mixing the flour, eggs, and milk together.
“Here you are, Father.”
Saki stared at Reiko with her eyes wide open as the latter brought back the heavy pot containing the maple syrup easily with one hand.
“I didn’t notice back when I didn’t have these eyeglasses, but this girl, Reiko-chan was it? What a wonderfully made automata!”
It would appear that without the eyeglasses, Reiko must have simply looked like a female-styled golem to Saki.
As Jin continued to work with the dough, Jin told Saki that he would talk about Reiko’s story later.
Heating up a frypan that was covered in oil, he poured down the dough he had prepared earlier. Soon enough, it started to make a crackling sound, and a sweet scent began to drift about.
What Jin was preparing was something similar to hotcakes. Since he had no baking powder or baking soda, there were some of them that did not expand as nicely and ended up looking more like crepes.
He then placed them on a plate and cut them into four servings. Jin and Reinhart would be taking one serving each, while the last two servings were for Saki.
Coating them with the butter-like spread, Jin added the finishing touches by pouring the previously prepared maple syrup on top of them.
“Okay, let’s eat!”
As for those crepe-looking hotcakes, Saki’s reaction when eating was akin to something amazing happening.
“W… What’s this? This is tasty! So tasty!”
While lost in thought about asking Jin to come to cook for her every day from now on, Saki had not only wiped her plate clean but also been staring at both Jin and Reinhart’s own servings with greedy eyes. Seeing this, Jin went ahead and once again prepared some smaller crepe-like hotcakes.