We walk in the forest to initiate Eri.
「 I think this should do 」
I stopped in front of a plant.
「 What’s this? Shiso1? 」
Eri pointed out at the green leaf.
「 Nope. You’re wrong 」
「 It looks like one 」
「 They look similar, yes, but this is Egoma2 」
「 Egoma? That thing you use to make oil? 」
「 Yes, it’s this one. This has a lot of uses you know 」
「 Really? 」
「 You can eat the seeds, and you can also use the extracted oil as lamp oil. Instead of using it as food, most of its use is with the oil it makes 」
I pinched and pulled one leaf.
「 Also, you can eat the leaf by itself 」
「 Wow. It sure is amazing 」
「 That’s not the end of it. There’s also another use apart from lamp and cooking oil. This will be useful later 」
「 Are you not telling me now? 」
「 I’ll keep it for now 」
I harvested some egoma with Eri’s help.
I tossed it on the bamboo basket I’m carrying and we moved to the next spot.
「 That’s the next one. Do you know what that is? 」
I pointed at a nut from a tree.
「 I wonder. Is it a rare fruit? It looks like something I got before 」
「 It’s not like cherimoya. That’s walnut 」
「 Huh? That green thing is a walnut? 」
「 Yes 」
The walnuts on trees are in fact yellow-green in color.
「 Walnuts contain a lot of oil and so when you extract it, you can turn it into flavorful cooking oil. It’s called walnut oil. It’s used for beauty treatment in Japan, but it’s completely edible in this world. We can use this to fry some freshwater crabs 」
「 Ooh! Wow! Wait, Hokage, your trump card is plant knowledge? 」
「 The main one is different but it’s linked to the plant knowledge. Your comfort level and quality of life changes depending on whether you’re familiar with vegetation or not. Eri’s good at cooking right? That’s why I thought of giving you a quick rundown of what plants you can use to cook 」
Eri smiled happily.
「 There are still some plants nearby that looks good so I’ll go ahead and teach you about it too 」
With that said, I taught her about chestnuts and buckwheat too.
Chestnuts are part of the standard so there’s no need to explain the minor details.
I just mentioned that it’s competent as preserved food when you dry it.
Buckwheat is the raw ingredient of the Japanese loved soba.
You grind the seeds and turn them into flour, and once you make the preparations, it’s complete as soba.
The husks can be used as pillow materials.
「 By the way, soba noodles became mainstream during the Edo period. Until then, soba’s commonly eaten as dumplings, they say 」
「 Really?! Hokage-kun sure knows a lot 」
「 It’s just some knowledge I found over the internet 」
「 Even so, that’s enough for me and it’s cool 」
I unconsciously showed an embarrassed grin.
Oops, I can’t get carried away.
「 Also, there’s also this that grows over there. I think even you know what this is, right? 」
「 It’s a gourd, right? 」
「 Correct! 」
I harvested three pieces of gourd.
「 We can dry this gourd and then hollow it to make it a water bottle. We’re passing around a bottle of purified water now, aren’t we? If we purify the water in that bottle and fill the gourd with it, we won’t have to pass it around every time we use it 」
「 I see, you’re right 」
「 It’s a convenient plant but let’s leave it at this much for today. Let’s continue the lesson since we have the chance to do it 」
「 Yeah, thanks. I feel like I’m growing 」
「 If you increase your knowledge about plants right now, you’ll be able to move better than anyone in this field 」
「 That’s amazing, but it feels overwhelming to me 」
Eri’s expression remains lackluster.
I get the reason.
It’s because she wants something immediate.
Not something that will be useful someday but something that she can use now.
Because of that, Eri’s knowledge of plants is weak.
「 Don’t worry, Eri. I’m showing the ace in my sleeve now 」
「 I’ve been waiting for this! ー♪ 」
Eri’s voice bounced up and she clapped exaggeratedly.
As someone who’s a profession is a sugar-daddy dater, she knows how to catch men.
「 That ace is this tree 」
I pointed at a thin and tall tree.
「 Do you know what this is? 」
I take out my knife while asking Eri.
「 Hmmm, I wonder? 」
「 If you don’t know the name then think about what’s the use of this instead 」
Eri took three steps back from me and checked the tree from top to bottom.
「 It doesn’t have any delicious-looking fruits, I don’t know 」
I laughed proudly and gave her the right answer.
「 This is a lacquer tree 」
「 Lacquer? 」
「 Yes. The main thing about this is the sap 」
I use the survival knife to give the tree a cut.
I gave it a horizontal straight slice.
Then, it’s sap begins to drip from the wound.
「 This sap is the ace in the sleeve 」
「 Lacquer sap? What do you use it for? 」
「 Do you know about lacquer work? 」
「 I’ve heard about it but I don’t get those 」
「 It’s a fine piece of art painted on wood. In Japan, it’s used for disposable chopsticks and teacups 」
「 Ah! 」
Eri found it out.
「 The ace in the sleeve is the method of making lacquerwares. I think that I’m the only one who knows how to make those in the group. Karin’s the type who doesn’t know about the minor details, so even if she knows that you can make lacquerwares from this sap, she probably doesn’t know how 」
「 And if I can make lacquerwares, I’ll be useful to everyone too! 」
「 Obviously you are. Chopsticks are something we use when eating our meals. You won’t have to scream that the grilled freshwater prawn is too hot 」
Up until now, we have been eating with our hands.
Cooking is basically grilling on an open-air fire.
Also, eating fresh cherimoya.
Adding tablewares will change the scene of our dinner a lot.
「 Imagine this. A scene of eating handmade soba noodles with chopsticks and bowls made of lacquerware. Doesn’t that make you inspired? 」
Eri closed her eyes and imagined.
Then, saliva drooled from the corner of her mouth.
Noticing that, she hurriedly flaps her mouth, returning the drool back.
Then, she looked at me and blushed.
「 That sure seems delicious. I think everyone would be happy 」
「 They definitely will 」
After explaining about the lacquer tree, we returned to the hideout.
Then, we began making lacquerware.