「喰らいあう獣」 (Kuraiau Kemono)
“Beasts Devouring Each Other”
A TIE?! WHAT IS THIS?!
… I can’t believe there can actually be a tie in this competition. Talk about a cop-out answer… I feel so robbed of knowing who is actually better! Why would you do this to me…? >=( No wonder the opening (and promotional material) has Souma vs. Akira vs. Ryou. Unless the winner is going to be Souma, I don’t see why the mangaka has to force the competition to be a 3-way-streak. It makes the whole Autumn Election feel a bit less serious when they allow unprecedented exceptions like these. Oh well, I guess this forces a bigger battle when the finale has three people rather than two. But why delay the inevitable? The finale better not be another tie…
Coming into the episode though, I was completely blind to what was going to happen. I didn’t know who was going to win, I didn’t know what they were going to make and it really did have me at the edge of my seat. This is probably the first episode this season which had me question just who was going to win. Turns out no one did but it was a good match nonetheless. I loved seeing the imagery of the bird vs. tiger and even the card battle between Akira and Ryou was a good homage to Yu-Gi-Oh. I totally caught that one! The differences between Akira and Ryou’s competitive style really stand out when they’re placed side-by-side. While Akira is calm and concentrates solely on his dish, Ryou is almost powered by the fire to compete and win. He cooks with passion (as Alice points out) and it really shows in his plates. Both chefs actually produced dishes that represent themselves and that’s what it means to put your heart and soul on a plate. We’ve seen a lot of Ryou and Akira’s past already, but it doesn’t hurt to see their personal cheerleaders not far behind them this round.
The dishes that Akira and Ryou made this week were definitely Western-inspired but not something that even I’m too familiar with. Akira made canard apicius which is French for duck and Apicius is a collection of Roman recipes from way, way back in the day (and yes, there’s also a man of the same name, although unrelated to the collection). I have no idea how apicius recipes are supposed to taste or even what they consist of other than the recipes replicated online so I’ll take it at face value that Akira made something close to the authentic Roman food. With a combination of spices (that’s too complex for the nose), he produces a duck that’s explosive is both flavor and aroma. The judges didn’t even mention how tough duck can be to cook or how the spices can meld with the fattiness of the duck to bring out its flavors but I can just imagine it in my head (mmm… I love duck). Duck is normally seen as a French dish but seeing it prepared in traditional Roman ways is unique and makes my mouth water.
Ryou takes a completely different approach – although sticking to his forte of seafood. Eel is not an easy animal to tackle and there’s a lot of skill required to debone and fillet it. Ryou makes it look effortless of course, not to mention his skilled approach of putting it back together with caul fat (which is the same type of casing you see used for sausages and is actually the membrane of internal organs of animals). I’m kind of glad they didn’t animate that part because even thinking about stuffing sausages in internal organ membranes makes me uneasy – even when I eat sausages normally. Anyway, eel matelote is a real dish that the French serve and I ended up reading some recipes online because I’ve never personally had eel French-style. Matelote in its simplest form is a fish stew made of red/white wine and normally served with bread or some sort of carb to soak up the soup as you’re eating (hence why there’s mashed potatos and brioche with Ryou’s dish). Eel matelote is just replacing the fish with eel and Ryou inserts plums to bring out a unique sour/savoury flavor. Yum! I’m actually a huge eel fan (more so than duck) and I’ve only ever had it Japanese/Chinese style so I’d love to try an eel matelote one day (especially when its deboned).
That was a large write-up on duck and eel… hmmm… I guess it shows just how vast the universe of food can be and how much more I have yet to try. Now that we’re on to the finale portion of the Autumn Elections, we have Akira vs. Ryou vs. Souma in a 3-way battle and their focus is on another type of seasonal fish – pacific saury (a.k.a. the mackeral pike a.k.a. sanma)! If you haven’t had mackerel pike or pacific saury before, let me tell you one thing, this fish has tiny bones to the extreme! And fun fact, if you read the name of the fish in Chinese/Kanji, it literally translates to “autumn knife fish” so it’s very fitting towards this competition indeed. I’ve also done a previous blog post about sanma while blogging Koufuku Graffiti. It’s fairly common to just grill the fish and top it with some lemon/lime (as all seafood is generally paired with) and some salt and pepper. I don’t doubt that all three competitors will find a more unique way to make it though and I love how Satoshi states that it plays to each of their strengths and specialties (being an aromatic fish and a “commoner” food). Let’s hope that they truly make it an interesting finale next week (or maybe even the week after) because I feel cheated of not having a winner this week!
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: A TIE?! WHAT IS THIS?! Feels like such a cop-out solution >=( Eel matelote? I have actually never heard of this dish before… will have to Google it >_> #shokugeki_anime