This is a story about omelet rice.
The beginning of this year came with a number of firsts for me. The first year I failed to finish the 12 days of anime on time, the first semester since the start of undergrad free from courses, and the first time I got to regularly hang out in person with a close friend of mine. The two of us had just recently found a lot of free time outside work and rather than wasting it all, we decided that we would pick a day once a week to meet up and try to be productive. We were both into writing and studying Japanese, so we both thought that it would be a good chance to keep each other motivated and accountable for when we inevitably got distracted. It was a plan that was doomed to failure as the evenings always ended in unbridled messing around, but it never felt like a waste of time.
As weeks turned to months, our two-person evenings extended to three and four and these “productive hours” turned into weekly group hangouts. We watched anime, played games, studied a bit of Japanese, and while not at first, we also cooked together.
The idea for us to cook was largely born from the collective stinginess of fresh university grads but the inspiration also came from a rather unlikely source – the very series that we had been watching while munching on lukewarm pizza the last couple weeks: Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family.
I’ve experienced four flavors of the Fate anime series this year alone and nothing stands out more than this incredibly delightful slice-of-life show. I’ve come to learn this year that the greatest strength of the Fate series is its flexibility in its characters, both in regard to their real-life counterparts and in the canon of the series itself. People change over their lives and act differently in different contexts and in this one specifically, everyone is happy, livelier, and just really, dang cute. It’s a great formula and it’s all tied together by the central theme of the series: cooking for and sharing food with the people most important to you. With such a focus on food, the series naturally features a lot of it, with all the dishes mouthwatering, beautifully animated, and most important for us, all accompanied by their recipes.
Our early adventures in fried rice, karaage, and hamburg steak went surprisingly well, and this gave us the confidence to move on something that we thought of as only marginally more difficult: omurice. We were, however, extremely off the mark.
As it turns out, the final step of the process – frying the egg just enough to keep it fluffy – was the hardest part and required a little bit of experience and some better hardware than what we had on hand. And so, we ended the day with four plates of scrambled eggs on over top ketchup-y fried rice and handful of shattered dreams. It tasted just fine though which I guess was the most important part and the whole mess was a boatload of fun.
This evening and all the nights we hung out together made up some of my favorite memories this year. The failures and the all-too-often over-spiced meals are things that I’ll probably remember for a long while and its all thanks to this one charming little series. It’s been a little while since our weekly adventures came to an end but with the holidays coming up, I’m very much looking forward to our ‘season two’.
Thanks for reading,
This is post four of twelve that I’ll be writing as part of this year’s 12 Days of Anime. Be sure to check out all other amazing writers that are participating in this year’s event here.