Writer-Director Hayao Miyazaki is renowned for the gorgeousness of his feature length animations, and storylines that combine indigenous Japanese elements with supernatural whimsy. In a world of Disney princesses, let us give thanks for family entertainment in which an eccentric castle roams the countryside on chicken legs, a stink spirit wreaks havoc in a bathhouse, and a fur-lined cat bus transports passengers at top speed.
The first generation of American children to have grown up on Miyazki films – My Neighbor Totoro was released in the States in 1993 – has entered their college years. A portion of them will have eagerly sought out his latest offering, a semi-autobiographical tale directed by his son, Goro. Some will have felt themselves too mature for such fare. Being college students, both groups are likely to be horking down a fair amount of cheap packaged ramen noodles.
As evidenced above, Miyazaki has some pretty specific ideas on what to do with those. Preparing a late night workplace dinner for his Spirited Away team, the great director rivals Good Fellas‘ sliced garlic maven Paul Sorvino for culinary sang-froid. Stuffing ten blocks of the stuff into a single pot might get an ordinary mortal voted off of Top Chef, but aside from that Miyazaki’s staff meal is an excellent, instant tutorial for those interested in souping up low budget, collegiate cuisine.
Like everything else he does, the end product looks good. Even those who’ve managed to elude the dreaded Freshmen Fifteen may feel themselves in danger of reenacting one of Spirited Away’s most notorious scenes. Oink oink!