What Did You Eat Yesterday, Vol. 1

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Vol 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga

What Did You Eat Yesterday?
is one of those holy grail manga that I thought would be tough to get here in America in translated form, so you can imagine my delight when Vertical announced that they would be publishing it. No one does slice of life foodie manga like Yoshinaga, so I was looking forward to this series about a gay couple and the food they eat.

Shiro Kekei is a lawyer for his day job, determined to take on boring cases that will allow him to leave work by 6 every day. He doesn’t share much about his personal life at work, seeming very aloof. Shiro’s enthusiasm comes out when he’s shopping for and preparing food for his outgoing boyfriend Kenji who works at a salon. Ordinarily reading someone’s thoughts as they scan the supermarket for bargains and contemplate the nuances of the seasoned rice that they are cooking wouldn’t be all that exciting, but Yoshinaga’s wit and humor makes these every day occurrences fascinating. What Did You Eat Yesterday? is all about food, but Yoshinaga also includes details of character interaction that make you want to spend more time with the people she introduces. Shiro’s mother calls him and browbeats him about not being out at work, yelling over the phone “Proclaim it loud and proud! Being homosexual is nothing to be ashamed of!” Shiro zealously guards his privacy, while Kenji brags about his hot lawyer boyfriend at work while he’s cutting hair.

Shiro has another close friend outside of work, an older housewife who he bonds with over their shared love of cooking, and they meet in an amusing way. Seeing the contrast between Shiro’s job as a lawyer and the hobby that takes up so much of his interior life is interesting, as well as the way the different personalities Shiro and Kenji complement each other. There are a few recipes in the book, and for the dishes that Shiro prepares that aren’t as fully described, it would be easy to track down a recipe online. I did find myself wondering towards the end of the book if I could start using my rice cooker more creatively. This was a pleasure to read, from the opening scenes to the next volume preview that includes a list of all the foods the reader can expect to see in volume 2.

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  1. I had never considered cooking to be anything other than an annoying necessity, but Shiro uses it as a way to unwind. I’d honestly never seen cooking in that light, even though my step-dad comes home to cook quite often. He seems to enjoy it, but I’ve always seen it as inconveniencing him.
    Now, perhaps this is because I’m American, but a lot of the recipes seemed terrible to me because they’re not things I eat. But that strawberry jam, I can see how recipes that interest people in this would make them eager to try them out. Perhaps this should be read right after watching Ratatouille so you have that “anyone can cook” mentality going when you find a recipe you want to make. I should get a rice cooker, there’s things I want to try now…

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