Not Love but Delicious Foods (Make Me So Happy) by Fumi Yoshinaga

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Baka-Updates tells me that an alternate name for this manga is Even Without Love, We Can Still Eat. I’m a little confused as to why that’s not the official name, because that sentiment perfectly sums up this extremely autobiographical one-shot manga by Fumi Yoshinaga.

SPOILERS

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Dude, this manga is so autobiographical the main character is F-mi Y–naga, a woman who is described as “a thirty-one year old female who makes her living drawing men engaging in anal sex.”

Like What Did You Eat Yesterday? this entire manga is an excuse to write and talk about food. In fact, it’s a legit restaurant guide. The beginning gives us the whole this is a work of fiction spiel, but then ads, “But all the restaurants listed in it are real.” Each chapter ends with a location map, hours, and tips on what to order.

Not sure how I feel about this. I love What Did You Eat Yesterday? but not for the right reasons. I’m supposed to love the recipes and food shopping advice, but I actually tune in for the characters and the slice-of-life vague attempts at plot. (I skim a lot.)

I skimmed a lot of this manga, too, only I wasn’t often rewarded with much character. I found out that Yoshinaga and I probably wouldn’t get along. I’m a little like the guy she tries to date in chapter 7 who is like, “Yeah, food is okay, I guess.” (She dumps the guy instantly).

 I mean, I can appreciate a good meal, but I’m not a foodie. I don’t have the interest or the vocabulary to discuss the relative spiciness of any given meal or discern the various levels of… whatever.  Look, I’m already bored trying to figure out how to talk about how people talk about food.

However, there were, as there always is in Yoshinaga’s work, some gems.  Most notably, chapter 4, in which Yoshinaga discovers someone in her circle is an honest-to-god gay man. Literally everyone else knew. Meanwhile, Yoshinaga is all, “Well, I’ve met gay guys, but this is the first time I’ve learned someone I already knew was gay….”  They go get some foodie thing or other and then have this fascinating little exchange:

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Okay, well… so all my complaining? Turns out, Yoshinaga is well aware that what she’s writing isn’t very true to gay life.  Her friend forgives her saying basically, “Look, if I was offended by misrepresentation, I’d be pissed off 24/7.” Preach it, brother.

Kind of explains my constant state of incandescent rage.  *kidding!*

The back of the volume says that this manga is an “homage to two of the greatest things life has to offer: friendship and food.” And, for sure, it’s about food. Friendship? I guess I’d have been less cliche.  Really, it’s more like that alternate title that implies that even if life is kind of ‘meh,’ good food is a thing.

Very Yoshinaga, actually.

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