Hana no Zubora Meshi: Japanese Dump-Dump Cooking Sitcom!

Hana no Zubora Meshi (Hana’s Sloppy Meals) is a popular josei (women’s) manga about a housewife who loves food, hates housework, and lets appearances slide while her husband’s away. (To be fair, his work keeping him away makes her a bit depressed and lonely, too, which isn’t a great motivator.) So she reads piles of romance comics and sleeps a lot, periodically emerging to do battle with the apartment or buy food.

Anyway, the point of the manga (besides being funny) is to showcase food that isn’t stereotypically Japanese-pretty and delicate, but rather is good, quick home cooking when you don’t need to impress anybody — and thus to encourage women who live alone to do more than just heat up TV dinners, fast food, and convenience-store riceballs.

(My mother calls this kind of thing “dump-dump” cooking, because you just dump, dump, dump ingredients into a pan and then cook them together.)

There’s now a live-action adaptation, which makes full use of the Japanese fashion with modern rebels/failures of household clutter, as contrasted against traditional Japanese neatness. What’s fascinating is that they essentially let the actress do a monologue show, although they break it up with various fantasy skits taking place in her head that feature other actors and actresses.

In the first episode, Hana makes a tuna salad sandwich — except that what she has around the house is salmon bits, so it’s a salmon salad sandwich. Open-face and toasted. Yum! She also makes an open-face pizza sandwich (it helps to know that Japanese pizza makes a lot of use of cabbage).
Then after the credits, there’s a full-fledged sloppy-cooking segment. In the first ep, they make an okonomiyaki flavored open-face sandwich, with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise on top.

Btw, “itadakimasu” is what a polite Japanese person says before eating — it’s sort of like saying grace for us. Same thing with saying “Goutisousama” after a meal. You get increasingly bizarre and informal translations for this in many anime (like “let’s chow down” paired with “that was good food!”). But it really is more tinged with religion and formality than not, even if individuals may say it informally.

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