by Tetsu Kariya
Format: Softcover, 6 x 8, partial color, $12.99
Reviewed by: Library Journal
Journalist and cynical foodie Yamaoka Shirô is tasked with creating "The Ultimate Menu" for the Tôzai News as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. Yamaoka has amazing culinary skills, but a rival newspaper has in mind a "Supreme Menu" and retains Shirô's arrogant gastronome father to design it. This fictional manga has nonfictional intent: to give cooking buffs and armchair culinary anthropologists both enjoyment and insight re: Japanese food. Each episode features a different dish or facet of preparation embedded in the overall story about the two competing teams. Fantastically popular in Japan with over 100 volumes, Oishinbo ("the gourmet") is being recompiled for Americans into attractive theme-based collections with recipe samples and copious translator's notes. This volume introduces Japanese kitchen basics: rice, sashimi, green tea, and dashi (cooking stock). The otherwise merely serviceable art renders the food exceedingly well, and additional translated volumes are lined up for sake, ramen, raw fish dishes, and vegetables. Entertaining and informative for both public and academic libraries, plus specialty cooking collections. Rated teen and up but probably belongs in adult collections, with topic-specific cataloging.