Noawadays an English language comic about Japanese recipes might seem like a common idea, but back in 2007 it was rare to see cooking comics outside of Japan. The Manga Cookbook makes recipes accessible with easy to follow illustrations and substitutions for things you might not be able to get outside an asian grocery store. This dream project brought together so many things I care about and was one of the first published books I worked on. The book has been written about in Gourmet Magazine and The San Francisco Chronicle, and it was named a top 10 "Popular Paperback" for 2011 by the American Library Association Young Adult Service’s division.
I worked with Japanese nutritionist Yoko Ishihara and publisher and home chef Mari Oyama to translate common homestyle dishes into simple recipes, then coordinated with artist Chihiro Hattori to turn each one into step by step comic panels with the occasional break to make fun of a mascot character.
After we had all the recipes I added a ¾ cup of layout, and simmered it with some typography, but it wasn’t served until editor and creator Glenn Kardy trimmed the fat and fixed the seasoning.
This was an ambitious project for Manga University so we promoted it with a custom website, and I also sewed the outfit of the main character Miyuki (with a lot of help from cosplayer Brie Andrews) so that I could promote the book at conventions with cooking demonstrations. If you saw someone step on a bag of noodle dough at Anime Expo, it was probably me.
The Manga Cookbook is available directly from Manga University (with a free pair of chopsticks!) or fine booksellers everywhere.