It’s time to c-c-c-c-cook! By the way, we’re still cooing over apron dude’s Spanish mackerel and spring cabbage dish. Soma’s particularly impressed by how well the cabbage-based puree seems to go with the fish. Apparently, it really tastes of spring. Now, to the skeptical, that might sound a little bizarre. Like seriously, what does spring even taste like?
Fresh? Bright? Refreshing?
It’s just the puree that throws me off a bit. My gut reaction is that purees feel kinda like “my first day learning a technique at culinary school, so lemme just drizzle pureed shit all over everything.” And considering how everyone keeps referring to Soma’s cooking as pedestrian, maybe there truly is something to this. Maybe purees are considered the height of gastronomic magnificence.
It’s becomes lazy, however, when there’s purees underneath everything now. It’s like we’ve got the protein as the main star, then okay, let’s get some baby food in here.
Plus, how do you get a non-starchy vegetable into a smooth puree without cream or butter? After all, the cream and butter would clash with the spring theme of the episode. Rich and heavy… not really bright and refreshing you know? So you gotta use xanthan gum. Otherwise, that shit will probably separate. Now we’re talking food scienc–… but there is no mention of xanthan gum in the episode. That’s too bad. Perhaps there’s another way to achieve that truly smooth puree that Soma is gushing about, but since the show typically favors ridiculous food reactions over the true intricacies of food preparation — and not “Ho ho, I made a burger patty outta mackerel!” — we can only imagine. I mean, did he use a tamis or what? Whatever. Let’s move on.
Anyway, it’s our hero’s turn to show off what he can do, and it’s apparently some mackerel riceball in a sea of tea. As you can see, we’re still stuck on that pedestrian nonsense.
Yep, we’re doing this again. I wonder how long the narrative’s going to play up Soma’s rustic roots. Y’know, as if apron dude’s fish fillet and pureed cabbage is Michelin-quality dining.
But of course, Soma’s dish tastes super good. In fact, it’s got amazing mouthfeel. Ah, a foodie buzzword I didn’t expect to see in this anime. It just sounds so off-putting. Mouthfeel. Ugh. There’s gotta be a better way to describe it. Anyway, Soma’s mackerel basically has a really crispy skin.
Here’s what I don’t get. They’re making it out as if he’s using some fancy technique. But if you’re pan-frying a protein — be it a steak or a fillet of fish — who the fuck doesn’t baste it in the fat that the protein is cooking in?
So why are we trotting out this poele nonsense? I always pan-fry my steaks in butter, then pour that same hot butter onto the steak over and over. It’s just what you do. I wouldn’t say that I’m “poele-ing” the steak. But the problem here is that poele does refer to sauteing or pan-frying, so apron dude’s not technically wrong. It just feels like we’re trying too hard to make it seem like the hero is doing something fancy (inadvertently, of course) when, well, almost everyone pan-fries protein this way. So I guess we’re all “poele-ing!”
And it clashes with the other definition of poele, a.k.a the actual technique of butter roasting. It’s like… somewhere between braising and roasting. So you put a chicken on some veggies, then you constantly baste it in butter and cook it in a covered container. The covered part is key. That’s also poele. But again, whatever. Let’s just get to the silly reactions.
Just roll with it. In the end, this little impromptu competition ends in a draw… but it’s the fifth episode, so no one’s bringing out the big guns. Plus, Soma’s just doing shit he had done at his dad’s restaurant over and over. Sure, there are little twists here and there, but a lot about cooking is expanding your horizons and not just adding little twists here and there. There’s nothing wrong with rustic Japanese food, but c’mon, we’re not here just to learn about poele. Let’s actually have the shounen hero do some training already.
The next day, we see these new characters wake up in their bed. This girl’s room probably stinks to high heaven.
Everyone tries to get some food, but Soma is all primed to do battle with apron dude.
Naturally, there are rules and regulations for this sort of thing! C’mon, an anime school doesn’t have a ridiculously sized stadium for no reason! You gotta do battle in the proper venue!
Elsewhere, Erina is doing just that…
…against some sumo wrestler? Shrug.
But Christ, for a show with this much fanservice, those breasts look fucking horrible. Like fucking vacuum-sealed, “ready to be sous vide’d” coconuts glued to her chest. Yo, boobs are supposed to be soft. SOFT! If you’re going to do fanservice, fucking do it right.
Supposedly, you gotta wager something significant in order to challenge the Elite Ten. For instance, Soma would have to drop out of school if he lost to apron dude, and since apron dude likes Soma, he won’t accept such a challenge.
But despite anime’s obsession with rules, rules are so goddamn boring (see: Fate), so I’m just going to move on.
Sumo guy predictably loses to Erina. Why?
Because his food tastes like emerging from some clear body of water only to see a train of hippos with soulless eyes? Ha ha ha, that’s so wacky…
On the other hand, Erina made some raviolis of langoustine. Hmmm, that sounds familiar…
Nah, I can’t quite put my finger on it! Plus, for someone so obsessed with perfection on a plate, those leafy garnishes on Erina’s dish seem mighty superfluous to me. And the plate is just swimming in sauce. Like seriously. And those black twigs… of what? Maybe I don’t even want to know.
Nevertheless, her raviolis send the sumo to cotton candy paradise.
After the credits, the anime introduces another character. I’m sure you get the gist of what she can contribute from just the screenshot above.
If you need more help, she’s apparently a master of meat. That’s just screaming for some mouthfeel.