A lot has changed since the beginning of Food Wars! While many great friendships have been introduced, one central relationship has been left on the back burner to develop a perfect flavor. The ultimate recipe, so to speak- that of the relationship between Yukihira Soma and Nakiri Erina. Viewers each week wait with anticipation for every new a morsel of interaction between the characters that might further cement the connection growing between them. But did you know that there’s an ingredient- one that seems so unassuming as to be irrelevant- that can actually help us predict the fate of their relationship?
The humble egg.
Eggs are symbolic of many things: rebirth, new life, healthy livestock, and beginnings. As an ingredient in cooking, they represent a versatile and tasty option. Useful in many ways for binding ingredients together, acting as a neutral component to be a vehicle for flavor in a tasty dish, or being the stand out star, eggs are a no-brainer in any well-stocked kitchen. As it turns out, the same qualities eggs are useful for in food can also be applied to relationships, or at least Erina’s and Soma’s relationship in particular. Every time eggs pop up as a featured ingredient in this series, Erina and Soma are not far apart, and crucial relationship developments seem to occur whenever eggs are present.
If eggs are symbolic of new beginnings, perhaps the most important beginning of all is that of their first meeting, in the Yukihira Diner. At this meeting, Soma is trying to persuade Erina to allow him to join Totsuki Academy. She is scornful of his ability to cook, and demands that he make her a recipe before she will consider him as a potential student. She specifically says eggs must be used. What does he choose to make her? Transforming Furikake Gohan, a dish that heavily relies on eggs to act as a vehicle for the major flavor component the transforming furikake brings.
The eggs are used here to be a vehicle for flavor, helping to meld with the rich chicken stock from the transforming furikake. Upon sampling the dish, Erina speaks scornfully of his selection, though actions are a bit louder than words… She rejects the egg-heavy dish as being too basic for her refined tastes, but the groundwork had already been... laid. This recipe was Soma’s first connection with Erina, even if she would have dearly liked to forget it. This meeting over his dish established a few things. First, that Soma wants to impress Erina…or maybe knock her down a few pegs. Second, that Erina likes Soma’s cooking….even if she won’t admit it. In a world where cooking and eating is basically synonymous with carnal desires (hello, clothes ripping imagery in almost every single episode), this is a big first step for them. All because of the humble egg!
The next egg dish is found at the Totsuki Training Camp for First Year students. During the breakfast buffet challenge, we see Soma competing against Erina for the first time (at least, competing indirectly). Until this point, their relationship hasn’t grown much. Erina is still under the impression that Soma is a second-rate cook, and Soma thinks she’s a bit stuck up. However, both cook egg centric dishes for this challenge and, wouldn’t you know it, it is at this challenge that impressions begin to change.
Erina chooses Eggs Benedict, a classical, regal, and delicious egg dish comprised of a English muffin, bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce (with a special touch of mullet roe, a la Erina). Soma takes a risk with an experimental soufflé omelette, garnished with a freshly made tomato sauce. The eggs here are the star of both dishes and highlighted the differences between them.
At the start of the competition, Soma is impressed by everyone’s dishes, including Erina’s, and he’s excited to get the chance to work next to her station. Undaunted by her less than glowing review of the first dish he made for her, he never sees himself as less than an equal match to Erina’s own prowess. However, as things quickly go South for him, he is forced to concentrate on his own work. Erina, thinking her assumptions of him as a second-rate cook are correct, is sharply made aware of his cooking skill when he turns his operation around and begins to steal her customers.
Toward the end of the competition, when both have successfully passed, Erina is surprised that he’d be happy to fail, since he was able to learn from it. This is evidenced when he is able to serve over 100 people in only thirty minutes after his initial procedure for the competition flopped. Erina isn’t necessarily impressed- but she is intrigued. Impressions have begun to change, marking the next step in their relationship- one of moderate respect for the other’s skill.
The next time we see a significant change in their regard for each other is during the Autumn Election, when Soma makes his Curry Risotto Omelette Rice. Erina, already being part of the Elite 10, has no need to compete. However, she starts to recognize that Soma has something special- that his failures, and what he can learn from them make him into a chef worth noting.
His dish combines two of his recent failures- the soufflé omelette and the apple risotto he made to compete against his father- and turns them into something new and innovative and wildly successful. Though he doesn’t ultimately win, his success at revamping his failed dishes is noteworthy to a person like Erina, who has never understood failure to be a good thing.
At this point, his egg dish provides another turning point for them- one where his cooking starts to be regarded by Erina as a thing of much trial, error, and experimentation, rather than the random stabs in the dark of an uneducated line cook. Finally, Erina is starting to see him in a light that is even marginally comparable to her own cooking skill.
This growing awareness culminates in the most recent episode 13 of The Third Plate, when Soma makes the Egg Tempura Bowl for Erina to try to bump her out of the haze she is feeling. Soma crafts for her a dish he has spent much time and effort into perfecting, and he wants to hear from her how delicious it is, as a sort of revenge for the first time she told him his Transforming Furikake Bowl was disgusting.
And when Erina eats it, she is blown away by the taste.
This egg again serves as the star of the show, bringing a new flavor and technique to a dish which previously seemed impossible. Erina realizes that all of Soma’s failures are only proof of the fact that he is constantly trying to create something new and amazing, and that some failure is required before absolute perfection can be achieved. Through Soma’s dish, she finally comes to the conclusion that her father’s dogma is wrong. She won’t admit Soma’s dish has moved her so, she instead takes a different tactic.
It cannot be denied that the egg has played an important role in their relationship thus far in the anime. The character growth that Erina has seen just by looking at her reactions to these dishes is startling, as each dish highlights a new development. As the focus of their first face-off, Soma’s quest to impress Erina has made the egg a necessity for each new attemp to please her palate.
No other ingredient has served as a catalyst for relationship development in the way that the egg has, proving time an again that whenever it pops up in the show, it is worth taking note of, as surely some aspect of Erina’s and Soma’s relationship is bound to grow. More importantly, the way the egg is cooked, or the techniques used to enhance the flavor can act as a great indicator of changing hearts. Hopefully soon we'll see Erina adopt some of Soma's techniques into her own cooking, as it's clear she's already started to adopt his attitude.
The egg has served as a star in Soma’s and Erina’s dishes, and as a vehicle for flavor, but eggs are also commonly used to bind more interesting ingredients together to create something new. Could the eggs here symbolize an eventual binding of Soma and Erina, two unique chefs in their own right, into something amazing? Only time can tell. Until then, whenever an egg pops up in the show, take note, as surely some aspect of Erina’s and Soma’s relationship is bound to grow.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Check in next week for another recipe. To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a Twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My Tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Find me on Youtube for more video tutorials! Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! :D