What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 15

I love this series so much. Each new volume of What Did You Eat Yesterday? continues to appeal for the same reasons: small stories about a caring couple having everyday meals together while coping with adult concerns. They’re punctuated by neat food ideas and great art, focused on expression and recipe details.

Volume 15 opens with Shiro visiting his housewife friend and her family to congratulate her grandchild on starting elementary school. He doesn’t know what one gets a child of that age, so he falls back on a gift card, thinking “it’s easy to let the money speak for you.” (A sentiment I share; shopping for kids you don’t spend a lot of time with is difficult.) They eat hand-rolled sushi at the gathering, giving it a party atmosphere — and finally having recipes for something I have eaten! That’s also true of a later Christmas chapter with a “classic Western-style feast”: beef stew with Caesar salad (although topped with bacon and a soft-boiled egg, which still sounds yummy).

Kenji, meanwhile, has become the acting shop manager at the hair salon, taking on more responsibility but struggling with the hours, as he’s going in early and staying late. That means that the two don’t get to eat dinner together, and Kenji can’t eat healthy food when he’s so rushed.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 15

Although Shiro usually does the shopping, as he’s more concerned with the cooking and has an eye for bargains, one story has him asking Kenji to handle the groceries when Shiro’s stuck late at work. Another chapter has Shiro’s parents talk to him about their decision to move into retirement housing. They have a frank discussion about their expectations for each other as they grow older.

It’s so rare to see these kinds of older adult concerns in comics, dealing with job responsibilities and worrying about how what you used to love to eat affects your weight and taking pleasure just in being able to spend time with your long-term partner. I appreciated seeing these types of issues reflected.

The food always looks fun and enjoyable, too, and it’s lovingly illustrated. I especially liked seeing the dumpling-making party, where they have friends over for fried gyoza. Other meals are less familiar to me, but I’ve learned so much about cooking seasonally and incorporating more vegetables into meals from seeing what Shiro makes.

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