Romance Roundtable #55: She Loves to Cook, She Loves to Eat

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

Nomoto slams her hands against the wall in amazement, thinking "My neighbor two doors down... is an incredible, one-in-a-million gal...!?"

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

Nomoto remembers the "Zontory" branded jacket she normally sees her neighbor wearing.

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

Nomoto: "If only food prices were lower to start with..."
Kasuga: "If only they paid women better to begin with... (I earn less than men for the exact same contract work.)"
Kasuga: "What is it about men like that? What do they get out of bothering people?"
Nomoto: "... free entertainment at our expense ..."

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 !!!

One of Nomoto's male co-workers praises her for her cooking and talks about how he wishes he had a girl friend who would make him lunch. She thinks, "They always take my hobby, which I do out of passion... and frame it as something I could be doing for a man."

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

A random man starts talking to Kasuga while she is eating at a restaurant. "Potstickers with rice? That just ain't how it's done. Oh! This is none o' my business, but... lemme just say my piece — what you want with potstickers is beer, not rice. And are you sure about ordering so much? Might go to waste."

Jenny: ahhh!
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
you know?

Rachel: CC!!!
omg yes

Ashley: 😭

Jenny: oooooooohhhhhh

Rachel: artistically, i loved this book!!
it’s so beautifully drawn
both the people and the food
and the pacing/paneling is great

Nomoto dreams about the kind of food she would want to make, "enough to feed an army!!"

Rachel: i find it really challenging to draw food in black and white, but this artist nailed it!!

Ashley: yes!!!

CC: yeah!!!!
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

A shot of marbled beef beautifully conveyed in black and white screentone.

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

Jenny: 🫠

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

that’s beautiful

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

At a restaurant, the chef tells Kasuga that he went light on the rice for her, and calls her "missy." She clenches her fist.

Rachel: (the trembling fist!!)

CC: the restraint she is showing by not decking this man

Kasuga says to the chef: "Actually. I'd like... the standard portion, thanks." The chef is surprised and confused.

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

Kasuga to Nomoto: "I think giving back the cost of the food is the simplest way to compensate you for the value of your hard work... otherwise, this doesn't seem fair... and I'm not into that."

CC: wahhhhh

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!

Kasuga: "You might want to see a gyno if you're in that much pain."
Nomoto: "The gyno? I dunno... what I'm going through's probably not worth seeing a doctor about..."
Kasuga: "That's a dangerous way of thinking..."
Nomoto: "...I wish I weren't such a frazzled mess. I need to get strong like you, Kasuga-san."
Kasuga: "Sometimes you have to admit when it's too much for you."
Nomoto: "OOF. I know you're right..."
Kasuga: "Sorry. I just mean... it's not good to compare yourself with others when you're suffering."

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

Nomoto and Kasuga plan their bucket pudding.
Nomoto: "Should we do layers of different flavors?"
Kasuga: "You trying to make my dreams come true...?"
Nomoto: "Let's stuff eggs in some of those tofu skins!"
Kasuga, completely deadpan: "Were you born a genius?"

Jenny: like, a delight
she’s so funny
i love her

Ashley: me tooooo. jenny I’m gonna fight u for her

Jenny: 💪

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?

Kasuga to Nomoto, as they plan spending their time off together: "We'll have more than a few days off. Perfect time to tackle that bucket pudding for real."
Nomoto, getting fired up: "Yes! Loving this energy! Hang on... Um, Kasuga-san!? Are you... drunk? (Never seen you flushed like that...)"
Kasuga: "Oh? I guess the drink is hitting me..."

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
stoic queen

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

Nomoto gets a weird vision of herself forcing Kasuga to eat her food: "I'm gonna cram some food in ya, and yer gonna like it."
Nomoto: "Like a scuzzy scumbag who's only into a gal for her body!?"

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!!

Nomoto, checking her social media: "This guy really thinks... I wouldn't love a bigger kitchen? (Those who are quick to judge others earn a blockin'!)"

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…

Nomoto, thinking to herself: "Sure, I"m taking that money from her... but only the exact cost of the ingredients. And we only ever meet... in the same spot — my apartment. It's like... if you... remove cooking from the equation... the two of us might as well be..."

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

Jenny: totally!
she doesn’t really have a crisis about it — she’s just like, huh yeah ok

Nomoto, thinking about her outfit: "This is cute enough, right...?"
Nomoto thinks about how she searched a bunch online for fashion tips. "Aren't there any other ladies out there who're hoping to make a good impression on, well, other ladies...?"

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”

Screenshot of an article where the title is "Tiny Rabbit Is Obsessed With Giant Girlfriend W?ho's 4 Times His Size".

Jenny: yes yes yes yes

Rachel: bless!!
well, with that, y’all wanna do final thoughts?

Jenny: sure!

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

Kasuga: "Nomoto-san. I was putting some thought into a more grown-up way for us to hang out, and..."
Nomoto: "Y-yeah?"
Nomoto, internally: "How do grown-ups hang out...?"
Kasuga: "What do you think about going out for ramen at midnight in our PJs? Or making a bucket pudding?"


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
re: swooning

Nomoto: "Rice! We'd better rice it up in here!"
Kasuga: "No need. I'm way ahead of you." (She prepped the rice cooker and cooked it already.)

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

Flashback to a younger Nomoto, who is looking at a plate at a store, and thinking "Ooh... what a nice plate..."

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

Jenny: spaghetti


Ashley: ooooo lol yes


CC: Cackling out loud

Jenny: COL

Ashley: COL!!!!!!!!

Rachel: colllll

CC: is your crone texting about gay manga
A guide

Jenny: lolololololololol

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.

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Rachel is a designer and artist from Texas. She is pro-feminism, pro-crones, and pro-dogs. She's also Boss Crone at POMEgranate Magazine, and one day hopes to be able to drink her tea without so much milk and sugar.
Ashley Gallagher

Ashley Gallagher

Ashley writes comics and emails from zir burrow in the Pacific Northwest. Ze is a sentient subtropical swamp fern whose favorite food is old words.
CC Calanthe

CC Calanthe

If you prick your finger and write “Cat Fancy” on your mirror during a harvest moon, CC will appear behind you and make you put human clothes on your pets. CC is Head Crone in Charge at POMEgranate Magazine, as well as the co-host of Moon Podcast Power MAKE UP!!
Jenny Mott

Jenny Mott

Jenny is just a Silly Nerd with a lot of Feelings about Comic Books and Friendship and also This Capitalist Yoke We All Share; she enjoys Dogs and Sleeping and Cartoons. Her three favorite words are: Breakfast All Day.
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