Otaku Picks You Should Read: She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat Volume 1
Back when I was more wary of BL/GL series, a friend once mentioned how he squared this particular circle:
While BL might be somewhat fetishistic, it allows more people to tell a wider range of queer stories than what would regularly be available. The popularity of the genre is what allows series that you and I consider more authentic a place.
That has stuck with me ever since, and its something that’s helped me move towards a greater acceptance of the format. In Japan the rise of stories featuring queer couples has also led to a resurgence of popularity in yuri as well. One standout work is She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat written by mangaka Sakaomi Yuzaki.
Fundamentally, She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat is the story of two women with complimentary hobbies: Nomoto, your regular OL who loves to cook, and Kasuga, her neighbor who loves to eat. Unlike your average action-packed fast-moving dramatic series, this particular manga relishes in the slow burn.
Each chapter centers around food while also developing what the world they live in is like. Elements explored just in the first volume alone include the compulsory heteronormativity of Nomoto’s workplace; the unsolicited yet constant messages of body shaming that get directed in Kasuga’s way and the unrelenting pressure to settle down and find a man for both of them.
On a personal level, the small details Sakaomi uses to convey the relationship between the two feel deeply authentic. In The Bell Jar Plath writes that it is tenderness that drives women towards each other; it certainly seems like Sakaomi agrees (as do I). Things like dessert being the central focus of the pair’s first date or oden preparing the stage for Nomoto to courageously take the next step in their relationship are small touches that reflect just how detail oriented the narrative is.
Ultimately if you love to read about food and slice of life works, I cannot recommend this series enough.
She Loves to Cook, and She Loves to Eat, Vol. 1 is currently being published by Yen Press in the United States.