Vol 1: Japanese Cuisine, illustrated by Akira Hanasaki
Tōzai News has decided to commission a special news story - The Ultimate Menu. Yamaoka and Yūko are seeking some of the best of Japanese cuisine. Yamaoka is estranged from his father, who runs a Gourmet Club and especially loves Japanese cuisine, and the two often bump into each other to disastrous effect. In their pursuits, Yamaoka and Yūko delve into many parts of Japanese cuisine: how to use Dashi correctly and subtlety, knife skills and how it changes the flavor of food, how chefs cannot smoke because the tobacco transfers onto the flesh of fish, Japanese tea ceremonies, the artistry of sashimi, and so much more.
Laios' entire party is wiped out by a dragon, but his little sister manages to cast a teleportation spell on everyone except herself. The three remaining members are transported outside of the dungeon, but without any of their provisions or other supplies, including their money. Laios is determined to go back in and revive his sister before she's fully digested by the dragon, but without food or money to buy more, he turns to a more unsavory (or maybe it is savory?) option - eating the monsters and plants foraged from inside the dungeon. Along the way, they meet a dwarf who has made a lot of progress in figuring out which monsters and plants are edible, but not so much headway in conquering the dungeon. Together, they eat their way through the dungeon, one floor - and monster - at a time.
Yasmina is an aspiring young chef who fills her dad’s lunchbox with delicious and fresh foods. He works at a French fry eatery, but she insists on fresh ingredients that she often obtains from a neighborhood garden. That is, until a big conglomerate comes in, buys the land, and razes the gardens to plant potato fields. Yasmina resorts to stealing veggies and herbs from a neighbor’s garden on the roof of her building, but she’s eventually caught and made to stop. She tries to spend her meager savings on some fresh foods from the market, but she instead finds all the fresh ingredients have been replaced by potato crisps in bags, and her fellow townspeople are going nuts for them! Yasmina and her friends from the garden must get to the bottom of the mystery of these potato crisps and why they’re turning the townspeople into crazy animals, and her upstairs neighbor may have something to do with it all.
Katie is the successful head chef of a restaurant named Seconds. Everyone loves the food. But Katie is unsatisfied with her life. All her friends who were with her when she opened Seconds have moved on with their lives, and Katie is surrounded by young-ins she barely knows. She’s working on a new restaurant in a beautiful old building that’s in a not so great part of town, hoping a fresh start on her own will help with her mood. One night, Katie is visited by a strange girl who offers Katie a way to undo some of her past mistakes, but this becomes a slippery slope with major consequences.
Somo helps at his family restaurant. When his dad decides to go cook overseas, he sends Somo to the elite Totsuki Culinary Institute. Somo goes for the transfer exam where he meets Erina, the heiress to the Institute and the owner of the Divine Palette. While the rest of the transfer students high-tailed out of the exam at the intimidating sight of her, Somo rose to the challenge and cooked a dish featuring eggs. Erina secretly loved it but failed Somo out of pride. So, imagine her surprise when he showed up at the entrance ceremony later, having secured a passing grade after all.
The storyline is really interesting, with "action" like sequences for when Somo is cooking, and some really interesting characters and an already-present rivalry with Erina. The inclusion of actual recipes for what Somo is cooking is a really nice touch, and provides a way for fans to connect on another level to the reading. The artwork is also really beautiful and detailed; the illustrated food looks delicious.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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