「たけのこグラタン」 (Takenoko Gratin)
“Bamboo Shoot Gratin”
In this month’s installment of Emiya’s culinary journey, it’s Sakura’s turn to shine. We see her meticulously try to find the best ingredients for her specialty Gratin. However, as she gathered her ingredients, she found that what she was making wasn’t breaking new ground. Enter Emiya and his large pile of bamboo shoots he came across as a reward from the Ryuudou temple for making the sandwiches from the last episode. Although we’ve seen small bits of Sakura and Rider in the past, it’s nice to see them play a larger role this time around as they mull over newer ways to push the envelope with her gratin recipe.
This was also the first time we see Shinji, though I hope that this iteration of him hasn’t done the same egregious acts that his Stay Night counterpart has. It’s something that hasn’t come up as much since we’ve gotten to see some of the more mellower characters from the VN show up, but it didn’t even take the Holy Grail War for Shinji to regularly mistreat and abuse Sakura, so it does beg to question how much these characters have retained of their old selves? Once we start seeing similarly appalling characters, will they still be happily enjoying comfort food all the while reflecting on their past misdeeds? The best course of action would be to hope that everyone’s encountering each other with a blank slate as characters who have just been acquainted a short time ago, and that we’re not watching Shinji before he brings the pain. Or that he retains his slightly sympathetic version of himself from the recent Fate/Extra anime. It is a testament to how much impact the original series has though to have Shinji and Sakura present and have the first thing that comes to mind being the fear that memories of evil wakame or crest worms will ruin the happiness.
One thing that’s nice about this episode is that they’re starting to show more of the school. With Issei in tow already, the prospect of seeing some of the other students at Emiya’s school like Kaede, Kane, and Yukika. If Issei’s gift has anything to go by, it also opens up the door for others to chime in on what Emiya should make next. Because of his gift, it offers us the chance to learn how to cook with bamboo shoots, preferably with Emiya’s take on Bamboo Shoot Gratin:
Steps (From Emiya’s instructions; Ingredients are bolded):
1. Soak your bamboo shoots and boil them until you can peel off the skin so you only have the fleshy part of the shoot.
2. Slice the bamboo shoots about the same size as the macaroni you’re using. Slice onions thinly. Chop up chicken breast into bite-sized chunks.
3. Peel away the hard root part of the asparagus, and boil them in salted hot water until they are al dente. Place them in ice water and chop into slices.
2. Boil macaroni in hot water.
3. Fry chicken breast, onions, and bamboo shoots in that order. Rule of thumb is to always start with the slowest items to cook so that they don’t burn while the other additions are cooking.
4. Add boiled macaroni, water, and milk to the pan, and as it boils, add in Stew Mix. Adjust for flavor if you’re familiar with stew mix.
5. Place in a heat resistant dish and top with asparagus and cheese. Top with bread crumbs to finish it off.
6. Pop it in your oven until it crisps to a golden brown on the top (Emiya’s oven has it on 240 degrees celcius for 12 minutes).
7. Serve with soup or salad if you wish.