Welcome back to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Today we’re covering Sakaomi Yuzaki’s She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat: a gorgeous, sweet yuri manga about true love as an adult (staying home and cooking heaping portions of delicious food together).
Jenny: office babe nomoto loves to cook but can never eat all the food she wants to make because she is just one person; delivery hunk kasuga eats like an absolute champ and is also so wise and so kind and i love her
Jenny: kasuga is truly an incredible, one-in-a-million gal
and bless nomoto for seeing it so clearly right away
Ashley: this book is for everyone whose family called them “a good eater”
CC: relate to being she who loves to cook; also relate to being she who loves to eat; truly a great book for yelling “LET”S GOOOO” on every page
also kasuga IS amazing and i am not just saying this as a fellow “zontory” appreciator
Jenny: in terms of plot though, there’s not a whole lot there, exactly. it’s broken down mostly as the times when our two protagonists interact, so it’s p episodic, though they do get closer as the book goes on; it’s a v getting-to-know-you.mp3 from the king and i kind of book
there are recurring themes, for sure — like men being assholes and nomoto’s mom being kind of also an asshole
but most of the action is like, they go grocery shopping, they make this new dish together, kasuga takes care of nomoto when she’s on her period
Rachel: i love slide of life normally and but i REALLY like this slice of life!!
Jenny: def def def
it just feels really good
CC: I like so much about this book but the 2 things I appreciated the most are
CC: justifiably pissed off and in general i found it refreshing in this type of title LOL. especially in the scene where nonomiya’s male coworker is going on about how her cooking skills mean she’d be a good wife and mother and she’s seething…not something you see as much in a title like this imo? and i appreciated it
Ashley: Possibly the most #relatable book we’ve had in a while !!!
CC: I saw this page on twitter and it is what made me want to pick up this book!
Rachel: one thing i thought was interesting from a drawing perspective is that the men never have eyes
they are Not Important
you’re totally right!!
Ashley: oh SHIT Rachel genius observation
Jenny: brain so big!
CC: men that are making a lot of assumptions but not really seeing these women
Rachel: artistically, i loved this book!!
it’s so beautifully drawn
both the people and the food
and the pacing/paneling is great
Rachel: i find it really challenging to draw food in black and white, but this artist nailed it!!
my #2 fave thing about this book
is the food art but especially
the texture of the food
i have never seen such beautiful beef marbling in a b&w comic before
Ashley: yessssss ugh the attention to detail
very satisfying for anyone who considers food as near equivalent to love itself
i do think the role of food in this book is actually pretty complex – especially compared to our last book with a similar theme
CC: i want to eat every food that appeared in this book so badly L O L
but to get back to something you were talking about jenny – this book really takes its time
really lets things
i liked it
CC: but also that’s interesting ashley! I don’t think I picked up on that, how do you figure?
Ashley: GLAD YOU ASKED lol
nomoto and kasuga are both * ahem * starved for intimacy at the start of this book
and food becomes this language of intimacy, and the currency in this negotiation of the giving and receiving of affection
CC: 😭 OMG
Ashley: I think it’s really beautiful and fascinating! each of their relationships to food mirrors their different experiences of loneliness / alienation in a world that doesn’t get them
CC: yeah – makes me think of the scene with kasuga ordering the chicken karaage and getting a half portion of rice
Rachel: (the trembling fist!!)
CC: the restraint she is showing by not decking this man
Rachel: a star
she shines so we all shine
Jenny: so brave
i love her
i feel like kasuga really goes the extra step — like, we see nomoto seethe about that asshole in her office, but she doesn’t really confront him; kasuga stands up for herself but also she stands up for/to nomoto later on to make sure nomoto takes herself seriously (swoon)
CC: yeah, I think this is a good contrast for when they are enjoying food together
to your point ashley, about sharing a meal acting as intimacy instead of alienation
Rachel: i think also, kasuga shows nomoto that she’s valuable, that her time and work are valuable
Ashley: take me nowwwwwwww kasuga lol
but ugh, nomoto’s reaction to having her food visibly enjoyed… to know that the Love you offer is treasured…. :sob:
how much more powerful can a relationship get??? seeing the true value in someone and refusing to exploit it??? we can have nice things??????!!!!????!!?!?
Jenny: kasuga is The Best!!
she sees nomoto’s value and she also hleps nomoto to see that value in herself!
Jenny: kasuga takes herself seriously and she takes nomoto seriously!
teaches nomoto to take herself seriously
kasuga is genuinely just really great to have around
Jenny: like, a delight
she’s so funny
i love her
Ashley: me tooooo. jenny I’m gonna fight u for her
Rachel: the deadpan delivery!!! i feel like that’s so hard to communicate in comics
CC: I really like how subtle her moods are
Feels like it will be rewarding to finally see her smile hehehe
So far the closest she’s gotten is this right?
CC: Literally on the last panel of the last page of v1
Jenny: i think there’s a moment when she sort of almost laughs
but she’s facing away
Ashley: as someone who is extremely susceptible to the idea of being the One who can make a very serious person laugh………. melt
this artist has my number. MEMORIZED.
Rachel: the artist also does something that so few people do
they have two very different looking women as the main characters in their book
they are so unique!!
no same-face syndrome here
no just relying on unique hair styles
Ashley: AHHH YES
they don’t fall into your standard “anime tooth with pink hair demon girl” / “dark haired responsible one” yuri trope either and I also really appreciated that too LOL
We are ADULTs here we are flirting like adults we are socializing as adults [having sleepovers where we cook snacks]
Jenny: well outside of this one panel maybe
Jenny: the closest nomoto gets to demon girl
(really just an aside to say that there are some great gags)
CC: See and she’s wracked with self doubt about it!!!
Rachel: the gags are good!!
Rachel: exploring nomoto’s relationship to social media is also really interesting
CC: LMAO FOR REAL w that screenshot tho
(Who wouldn’t love a bigger kitchen?)
Ashley: yet another example of Men
which neither we nor this book have patience for
CC: Rachel to your point: I would love to see (more) of nomoto’s blog LOL
Rachel: i’m excited for her to hopefully burn her insta down and emerge from its ashes as the oversized food blogger of her dreams
Jenny: for sure!!
i will say one of the things we haven’t really touched on, and what could maybe be seen as a volume arc, is nomoto’s dawning understanding that she has a crush…
Ashley: i feel like that would be a super successful niche????
Jenny: i would love to see it
CC: Agreed and also I loved to see the slow dawning crush realization as well
And also how she just rolls with it from that point on haha
she doesn’t really have a crisis about it — she’s just like, huh yeah ok
Jenny: yes!!! AREN’T there any other ladies out there who’re hoping to make a good impression on other ladies????
CC: Getting ready for their farmer’s market date (what else could it be but a date extremely a date)
Jenny: they go for a little drive along the coast!! they eat ice cream!!
it’s a date!!
Rachel: it’s 1000% a date
Jenny: can’t wait for vol2 where we get the Classic “what do you mean you didn’t know we were dating? we’ve been dating for MONTHS”
Jenny: yes yes yes yes
well, with that, y’all wanna do final thoughts?
CC: Yeah I am down!
I have one ready if y’all are ok w that!
Jenny: go for it!
CC: How do grown ups hang out
CC: Incredible gag, incredible and also honestly true romance
If that’s not love I don’t know what is
Jenny: i am swooning
my final thought is similarly just these two are perfect for each other
Jenny: the fact that this is what makes nomoto swoon?? they were meant to be
CC: Already has the rice cooker going
That’s love babyyyyyy
Jenny: that’s LOVE!!!
Rachel: honestly few things are more attractive than someone who has thought ahead on something
ok, my final thought
this is the single moment when we cross into adulthood
Rachel: we see a good plate, and we recognize it for what it is
Jenny: yes yes this is what it means to be a grown up
maybe that’s how grown ups hang out — plate shopping
Rachel: that sounds amazing actually
Ashley: I mean …. no arguments here
CC: Bucket pudding and plate shopping
Jenny: little sur la table action
CC: Chaser is a trip to the container store
Jenny: the perfect date
Ashley: that’s how you know she’s a keeper
okay, my final thought is a question. which is the dish that will finally get them to kiss????
CC: THAT IS A GOOD QUESTION idk if I could guess
Ashley: ooooo lol yes
CC: Cackling out loud
CC: is your crone texting about gay manga
Ashley: another day’s work for the pome coven
Join us next time for even more love story shouting in our next Romance Roundtable! In the meantime, Monthly Ko-Fi members: head on over to Ko-Fi for just a few bonus goofs that didn’t make it into today’s roundtable, as a treat.