I don’t know about you, but quarantine has done crazy things to my appetite. I’ve found myself turning to food or cooking anime more and more to recapture tastes that I probably won’t be able to get until things start opening up again. More than that, food anime has become exactly the sort of meditative fluff that helps me through my day. What follows is just a little ramble about my recent addiction to watching 2D interpretations of stuff I could probably actually eat if I knew what I was doing.
Ever since quarantine started, I’ve developed, like millions of others, a desire to cook or bake just because. I never used to bake for fun, or even really stress bake for that matter, but over the past year I’ve started to enjoy cooking, and the sudden cut off from social gatherings meant that I started baking a lot. It helps me do something productive that isn’t on a screen, and it’s a way to be creative and resourceful. Something about cooking and eating slows me down when my mind is racing from burying my face in film theory all day. I wanted to share some of my favourite food anime with you all just in case you needed some suggestions!
Quotorium’s Select Menu
1. Koizumi-San Loves Ramen Noodles
This show is complete and utter fluff with little to no plot and despite attempts to make relatable character moments, you know that’s not why it exists. Koizumi-san is a high school girl that really loves ramen, and she visits different ramen shops every episode, making her classmates grow curious and follow her to new ramen shops and styles. The animation is so delicious-looking that it rose to the top of my list within only a few episodes.
2. Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family
Somehow, I keep coming back to Today’s Menu. I have an unreasonable amount of love for this show, and it quickly became a staple of mine to return to for some simple cozy fluff when I needed it. Today’s Menu romanticizes grocery shopping (remember when that wasn’t harrowing?) and food preparation unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Most food anime focus on the presentation, serving, and eating of the food, but Today’s Menu really cares about what it takes to make that happen. And the seasonal themes of each episode are definitely up my alley as well!
3. Isekai Izakaya
This show proves that isekai is a parasitic genre —this time a Japanese style restaurant is mysteriously attached to a fantasy world! Adventurers slowly discover the delights of modern Japanese cooking and are treated to mouth-watering tavern food all while wondering how they’re able to get veggies in the winter. One cool feature of Isekai Izakaya is its real world cooking segments at the end of every episode. A chef and commentator walk through a recipe or little known food spots in Japan for a little something extra!
Wakakozake was on every single food anime list I read while I was looking for a little something to sate the cravings. These 1:30 minute episodes follow a salary woman looking for good local food/drink pairings after she finishes up work and is so adorable. The overall runtime of this show is short for all the delicious food it offers, but it’s a nice little break from the chaos of trying to create busywork and I really needed that! Highly recommend this one.
All of these shows are available on Crunchyroll, which definitely adds to their addictive nature, since I can just add them to my queue and autoplay the day away. Each one is pure fluff and has a short run time, making them perfect breaks in your day!
A surprising amount of food anime out there tend to have a lot of stakes (steaks?). In my search for good, reliable food anime, I came across a lot of misleading roadblocks. There were a few shows I intended to enjoy but ended up scrapping because they just had a bit too much plot for my taste. Sometimes, I don’t really care for rivalries or backstories. All that matters to me is the food in that particular moment — the “materialized fluffiness” of how a good meal should look and feel. Watching food anime has become therapeutic for me because of its methodical and stylized depiction of a very basic skill, as well as its focus on the communities that come together to share and enjoy the meal.
As things spiral during COVID-19, enjoying a very basic thing like cooking and eating is such a triumph. Food anime like these remind me of just how much we like to eat, and how much joy and effort we’ve always put into making good food. When was the last time we savoured our food? I’m definitely the type of person to shovel it all down, but I think food anime’s onto something in showing deliberately slow and detailed shots of a dish rendered in a mouth-watering style. If there’s one hopeful thing about quarantine, it’s the possibility to reassign our priorities. So while I wait to be able to go out again, I’m definitely going to continue savouring the food anime that are teaching me that.
-a very hungry quotorium