I will now start my usual introduction about the Fate Series. I’ve been getting into it this year, well, actually two years now. There’s a lot. I’ve written about it a bit. Go read some of that. Is that everything out of the way? I think so. So let’s talk about more Fate because I can.
Fate is a big series that spans a lot of universes, parallel worlds, and genres. I mean, we somehow got to magical girls. Why? I don’t know. I didn’t make it. But that’s still not the weirdest Fate spin-off. I can kind of see a magic war between heroes of old turning into a little girl with a wand. I can see it.
What I see slightly less is Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family. We went from magic war to magical girls, to now Fate, food, and family fun times. Really, it’s not that hard to believe since Shirou cooks, but not every series with talented cooks hires a Food Director to help with their spin-off. Yes, that’s an actual thing.
So why is a Food Director a position that exists, and why did Makoto Tadano need to fill that? Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family is about food. That’s basically it. The story takes place in a similar universe to something like Carnaval Phantasm, where the holy grail war is put on hold for all the characters to just have a good time with each other. But add in food.
Each respective chapter of the manga and episode of the anime focuses on a recipe that Shirou or one of the other characters make and ends with some of the characters enjoying said meal. That’s it. It doesn’t get any deeper than that. You see the first recipe, and you get the gist of it.
There’s a lot of good I could say about the anime adaptation. It’s funny. It’s cute. It’s cozy as all hell. Seriously, you lay in bed and watch this on a rainy day, and there’s nothing better. The only problem is that you’ll have to get up to make yourself something to eat or risk chewing on your blanket.
Ufotable animated this adaptation, and if you thought their talent ended at fight scenes, you’d be sorely mistaken. I’ll take their fried chicken over a servant fight any day. But for all the good things I can say about the anime, it’s an example where I actually think you’re doing the series a disservice by only watching it.
There are a lot of series I could recommend you just watch the anime instead, even for Fate. I have the slightly controversial opinion that you don’t really need to start with the Blade Works route in the visual novel. You can just watch Ufotable’s Blade Works and get the same things (and more) in far less time. With Fate and Food, it’s a little different.
While the anime doesn’t do anything wrong, it’s certainly not the definitive choice. This is one time where the source material really is the way to go. See, this is all about cooking, as I’ve said before, but it’s not just the characters cooking whatever. Everyone cooks proper recipes that you could actually follow along with and make yourself.
In fact, I feel that it’s in the spirit of the series to do it. When Shirou’s sitting there discussing all the ingredients you need, how much you need of each, how to prepare them, and personally showing you the process, it feels wrong not to attempt to make something. That’s where the manga becomes vastly superior. The manga is practically a cookbook.
It follows whatever the story is for that particular chapter, which is really just an excuse to make fried rice or salmon. Then you get into the character actually making it, then they eat, and you end with a page dedicated to being an actual recipe. It has a list of ingredients, tips, and steps to preparing them. It has everything you need.
And to make things even more convenient for us, at the end of each volume, we get a list of all dishes and what chapter they appeared in so we can quickly go back and reference whatever we need to know. While I can’t say I went to the grocery store with my first volume of Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family, I did take a picture of the page and use it to buy everything I needed to make the buttery salmon in foil.
And I’m going to make that salmon, damn it! Maybe I already have. I don’t really know when this is coming out. I did make it a long time ago now. Was good. Anyway, I’ll link the tweet if I did it by then…or now, or whenever this qualifies as. No, I won’t. It would take forever to find. Maybe they were right to hire a Food Director. I don’t get out and cook random meals for just anyone.
Fate and Food is ultimately a cute cookbook with recipes you can follow along with, disguised in cute little stories based on the characters of Fate/Stay Night. If that sounds extremely weird and unnecessary, you’d be right. But if it also sounds like something you need in your life right this second, you’d also be correct.
For this being about food, it’s also a good experience for anyone who enjoys the F/SN cast. There are a lot of cute interactions between Sakura and Rin. There’s one chapter dedicated to Shirou and young Taiga cooking for Kiritsugu. That’s great stuff. Hey, there’s even a part where Berserker carries a freaking Christmas tree. Trust me. You need that good stuff.
It’s a wonderfully charming experience for all Fate fans with any amount of love for these characters, and then also a cookbook with some great recipes. And if you also want to incorporate the anime, you can use that as a visual lesson on cooking the recipes because I did find it easier to follow along with Shirou that way.
So you use your manga cookbook as a reference and the anime to see visually how to do everything the right way. If that’s not a cool idea for a spin-off, I don’t know what is. Did we want or ask for it? Hell, no. Am I happy we got it? Well, yeah. I just wrote about it.
Thank you very much for reading
Have you cooked anything on the Emiya family’s menu? Let me know.