What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 20

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 20 cover

Isn’t that a lovely seasonal cover from when this came out last year? Too bad there is no Halloween party in the book — the costumes are terrific for their personalities.

It has taken me so long to tell you why Fumi Yoshinaga’s What Did You Eat Yesterday? volume 20 is terrific because I can’t think of new reasons it’s wonderful. I already, in my review of volume 19, talked about how great it is to see comfortable stories about a middle-aged couple coping with adult concerns, punctuated by tasty recipes and the sharing of food and feelings. So I’ll mention some of the plot points and high points from this particular installment.

Following up from that previous volume, here we see more about Daisaku and Wataru planning their wedding. The two are friends of our core couple, Shiro and Kenji, but much more dramatic about everything (mostly because of Wataru). They’re over a year out, which gives them plenty of time to compare venues and taste menus — but they also have to decide which relatives to tell (a factor more likely to affect a gay couple). Wataru’s worried about slimming down for the wedding, so he cooks at home — and makes a delicious-sounding but not-at-all calorie-conscious dish as his last hurrah.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 20 cover

There are lots of heavy discussions in this volume — putting the boyfriend and parents in touch with each other just in case something happens, as everyone’s getting older; whether or not to get married (and how much it costs!) — but it’s all much more manageable when taking place over delicious home-made meals.

Not everything is a big deal. Sometimes it’s just catching up with old friends or chatting with your partner about work colleagues over a late meal. There’s also a chapter on how to have a romantic Valentine’s Day without spending too much money.

There’s actually a dish in this volume very similar to something I’ve made! Shiro simmers chicken with fall vegetables in a one-pot dish; I made the same combo, but roasted on a sheet pan. I guess American houses are more likely to have full-size ovens. But I finally feel as though I have cooked something Shiro has!

I don’t talk much about the art in this series, but it’s lovely. The food looks delicious, with easy-to-follow steps shown. The characters are emotionally reactive, so it’s very understandable what they’re feeling. I love Yoshinaga’s thin line style and her distinctively attractive people.

The book ends with a digressive chapter, about Shiro’s neighbor, an older woman sharing her place with an adult daughter. The mother gets competitive, inspired by smelling the “old-school supper” dishes Shiro makes. The two women speculate on what little they know, creating a portrait of how unknown our neighbors can be, but also another way that food makes connections, even if of surprising kind.

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