Monday, April 11, 2022

Not Love But Delicious Foods

 Not Love But Delicious Foods 

by Yoshinaga Fumi

Yoshinaga Fumi is one of my favorite mangaka. I don't care what the subject matter is, if she wrote it I will buy it. While her range of stories has broadened Yoshinaga started out as a writer of Boys Love (BL) works and that history is folded into this title. The protagonist of Not Love But Delicious Foods makes a living writing BL. Each chapter is her and her assistant going about their daily work and ends with a meal at a restaurant where they discuss the food. The final page is information as to the location of the restaurant. Manga where a real restaurant is part of each story is not unique to this title but this is the first such work to be translated into English. Once Japan starts allowing tourists in again I'll try to check some of these places out.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Untold History of Ramen

 Solt, George

The Untold History of Ramen: How Political Crisis in Japan Spawned a Global Food Craze

Berkeley: University of California Press 2014


Rāmen is one of the most recognized Japanese foods worldwide. However, did you know rāmen has its roots in a Chinese dish served in 19th century restaurants in Yokohama, that the first reman restaurant was established by a former Japanese civil servant in Asakusa Tokyo with a kitchen staff of Chinese cooks, that rāmen was once called Shina soba (even though it has no buckwheat in it) until restaurant owners in Sapporo started calling it rāmen, that it was considered poor person's food until the late 20th century? 


That information and much much more can be found in this excellent history of the humble hand pulled wheat noodle that evolved into something very different. If you like rāmen, are curious about Japanese cuisine in general, or even just interested in the history of post Edo Period Japan, this book will be informative.