Traveling to Flonyard with Apple Blackberry Flaugnarde

“I want to make this a better world for people to live in.” – Clarifier, Former Ruler of Pastillage

The present Flonyard of Dog Days is a land of mostly peace, where neighboring nations are more like family and “wars” are excuses for friendly battles. The Flonyard of the past, however, was a place of darkness. Demons overran the land and prevented communication between the kingdoms. It was in this time period that Couvert’s ancestor, Clarifier, summoned the Legendary Hero, Adelaide. It was “Fi’s” wish to eradicate the demons and bring peace to Flonyard. She dreamt of a world where everyone could make safe travel and trade. Fi and Adel’s journey started out rocky, but through dedication and with good friends they laid the groundwork for the Flonyard in which Cinque finds himself at the start.

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Koufuku Graffiti and Convenience Store Meals

There’s a different type of joy to be had from peeling away plastic wrappers from ready-to-eat foods and savoring the blend of tastes that have been melding for who know how long. The covering falls away, and what is left is a meal that requires nothing of the eater but the act of eating itself–no cooking, little to no cleaning beforehand, no dishes to wash. The luxury is a refreshing change from daily routines as long as you don’t look too closely at the nutrition labels.

A couple weeks ago, the ever-delicious Koufuku Grafitti sent me on a trip to the local Asian grocery store in search of my preferred to-go meals. It’s not often that I step away from slow cooker dinners and sit down restaurants, but there are times when nothing else beats the convenience and unique taste of prepared foods. And while my favorites don’t evoke specific memories like Ryou’s, I look fondly upon them as treats I never indulged in until I moved to Seattle back in 2013.

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Rice Cooker Takenoko Gohan and Koufuku Graffiti

Koufuku Graffiti is this season’s scrumdiddlyumptious offering for food anime. Our main girl, Machiko Ryou, lives alone with the memories of her grandmother’s meals and their time together. Her lessons learned in the kitchen and love for the company of others compels her to continually cook favorites and experiment with new dishes to eat together with her friends.

Episode three, titled “Jinwari, Bariri,” features takenoko gohan. Requested by Ryou’s cousin, Kirin, the bamboo shoot rice dish has a comforting, yet refreshing, taste and texture reminiscent of spring. Along with their friend, they savor the freshly cooked rice along with a side of clear, hot soup. The result is healthy fullness that leaves the mouth and stomach satisfied.

There are many variations to making takenoko gohan, and I went with one of the easiest methods using my rice cooker. Follow along and let me know how yours turns out!

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Oishi Fun Review – Monthly Japanese Snack Box

I recently received a complimentary snack box from the Japanese online snack service, Oishi Fun. The box arrived about a month after they had first made contact with me, and was packed full of curious treats and candies. I’ve experienced similar services through U.S. companies like NatureBox and JewelMint, but this is my first time trying out an International option.

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Velvet Foam and Latte Art in Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?

I consider myself a bit of a coffee snob. Coupling the facts that I have worked briefly as a barista and that I live in Seattle, the coffee capital of America, coffee has worked itself thoroughly into my bloodstream and way of life. Not a morning passes where I don’t grind and brew a pot of joe; my morning commute to the office always includes my trusty Thermos. When I order an espresso drink–usually a 16 oz. triple shot white mocha with no whip cream, but with a half inch of microfoam instead–I remember which baristas know how to properly texture and which baristas don’t and from whom I order an americano instead.

So when Cocoa watched Rize’s demonstration of latte art and succeeded in her first try, I wanted to cry foul! Call it pride if you will, but I doubt a girl who entered Rabbit Cafe for the rabbits alone instead of the coffee would know how to create her own designs when I wasted many a pitcher in my attempts on the art, despite knowing the theory. Even the simplest of designs, the heart, can be difficult to achieve, and the crux of the ability is in the steaming of the milk.

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How to be a Conscious Consumer, Silver Spoon Style

As the food lover I am, I try to keep my mind open about trying anything and everything.  This of course includes all parts of the food chain, especially meat! Unfortunately, making sure that the foods you obtain and consume are safe and cruelty-free can be difficult, and sometimes even impossible.  Silver Spoon gives us a setting where produce and livestock are very much close to the plate.  You might handle a piglet one day, only to fry it up into bacon four months later. It’s smart to keep your emotions at bay when raising these beasts if the dinner plate is indeed their final destination, but at what point do you draw the line between treating them like pets and bordering on animal cruelty?

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Ginger-marinated, Pan-roasted Dera

There’ve been some mixed opinions on Tamako Market’s unique bird, Dera Mochimazui, but I don’t think anyone would argue that his weight gain makes him roughly equal in size to a small chicken.  Mixed with just the right ingredients, I think we’re well on our way to a dish worthy of any island prince or mochi princess.

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Keema Matar and Addicted to Curry

I recently stumbled across a manga titled Addicted to Curry–a long running series that will soon come to an end, yet still hasn’t been serialized in America.  The manga is true to its name in that the characters really are addicted to experiencing curry in all its forms.  Despite all the various kinds that I read about in the nine volumes I could find of the forty-six, it was the very first chapter that re-energized me.  In it, gifted curry chef Kouenji Makito  makes Sonezaki Yui, the heir to a declining curry restaurant, a well known Indian dish: keema matar.  The ground meat and pea curry revitalizes Yui with its familiar taste and spiciness and helps her realize that she truly loves her restaurant and is not yet ready to give up.  What once seemed impossible suddenly begins to look achievable.  Given my current situation, I couldn’t help but cling to that vision as well.

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Sunny Place House Karaage!

Hidamari Sketch has always given its viewers plenty of examples of Japan’s inventive and colorful snacks, as well as shown us just how conflicted Hiro is with her love for cooking and nervousness about body weight.  This time around, it’s little Nazuna in the spotlight along with her kitchen incompetence and impending visit from the parents.  What makes this particular episode so charming is the homey and family feel that the fried chicken, “karaage”, brings to the residents of Hidamari Apartments, their home away from home.

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The Pastries and Confections of Dog Days': Biscotti, Galette, & Pastillage

When watching the first season, it never occurred to me that there were more food connections to Dog Days than just the well known eclair and biscuit.  Perhaps those with a background in European culture or knowledge of their foods would have been more receptive to the numerous sweets that populate the peoples of Flonyard; but, it wasn’t until the second season that I became curious enough to research some of the names’ origins and see how they might affect their owners’ personalities.  Not surprisingly, the foods after which characters like Eclair and Brioche, as well as the titles of the nations, are named do take significant part in shaping the large variety of identities.

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