Today I would like to introduce Cooking Papa (クッキングパパ) , a manga series created by Tochi Ueyama. The main character is Kazumi Araiwa, a senior member of staff at a food business.
At work he manages to strike a balance between getting work done and caring about the well-being of his colleagues, but what really catches his boss Higashiyama’s eye is his delicious homemade bentos! It turns out Kazumi’s wife is busy working as a journalist and is a terrible cook, so Kazumi is responsible for making his own bentos. The story therefore focuses on him going to great lengths to conceal the fact that he makes his own bentos.
Each volume contains a number of real life recipes with hints and tips on how to bring out the best flavours. Onigirazu, which has become a recent bento favourite, was first popularised in Japan after being published in Cooking Papa.
The fun and lighthearted feel of this manga, as well as the relatively straightforward nature of the language (food vocabulary aside) makes for a relatively easy read. Although there are over 130 volumes and counting, each volume is episodic so you do not need to start from volume one.
I think it’s a good manga to read when you may not be in the mood for reading something too difficult, or when you do not have time for a longer reading session. I would probably recommend this to someone about JLPT N3 or intermediate level, especially if they wanted to brush up on their food-related vocabulary. It may also inspire you to up your game when it comes to making lunches for work!