For the most part, Link and the residents of Hyrule seem very good at maintaining a healthy calcium intake in the Zelda series. It’s no wonder everyone in this universe loves to drink milk: Chateau Romani has an inebriating effect in Majora’s Mask, and Ordon Goat Milk in Twilight Princess produced the cheese necessary to upgrade Yeto’s soup to “Superb” status.
Then there’s Lon Lon Milk, with its power to restore health instantaneously and the potential to save Link’s life in the middle of a deadly battle. According to a great find from The Cutting Room Floor, it also seemed to have an interesting practicality in The Minish Cap at some point during development.
A value found in The Minish Cap’s code reveals that, at one stage, Link was able to turn Lon Lon Milk into butter. Some unused text reads, “Your Lon Lon Milk turned into butter! It’s very fresh and delicious!”
Initially, butter may not seem like the most exciting item out of all the removed features from Zelda games. But ironically, it’s the apparent inconsequentiality of it that fascinates me. After all, if it was programmed into the game, there had to be a reason. That reason may have included a character, place or sidequest which may also have been cut out of the game.
The conditions required to turn the Lon Lon Milk into butter aren’t made clear. Churning milk into butter is a slightly lengthy and complex process, though, and not one that I think our hero would have the time or expertise to adhere to. My guess would be that Link would have taken the Lon Lon Milk to a particular character, likely one with notable culinary skills, in order to turn it into Lon Lon Butter. If that’s the case, is this a character that exists in the final game, or were they removed too?
There is also no indication of what the butter would have been used for, though I do suspect that it was intended as a quest item rather than a consumable. Link is no stranger to gulping down all manner of strangely colored potions, but I have a hard time believing he’s crude enough to knock back a whole jar of butter — and if he did, I’d struggle to see the benefits, even in the fictional world of Zelda. Don’t do it, kids.
There is a Minish in the Minish Village that produces Picolyte for Link, a substance that increases the rate of finding certain items when consumed. In order to produce the many different colors of Picolyte and make them available for purchase, Link must bring the correct ingredients to the Minish. In order to make Yellow Picolyte, the Minish requires Lon Lon Milk from Link. Perhaps butter was once intended as the required ingredient instead? After all, Lon Lon Milk is much easier to acquire than the other ingredients that the Minish requests (such as Mt Crenel Mineral Water and Red Potion), so adding an additional step of turning the milk into butter in this quest would make sense.
After seeing the staggering amount of delicious recipes that involved Goat Butter in Breath of the Wild, it’s certainly a shame that the Link of The Minish Cap had to miss out on a world of classy cuisine by being denied the spreadable stuff — especially with that magical ability of his that allows him to shrink. Think about it: a small slice of Nutcake becomes a tower of deliciousness when you’re Minish-sized.