Quote: Mikage travels from Izu and delivers a katsudon to Yuichi, telling him, “You see, Yuichi, how much I don’t want to lose you” (101).
Quote: As Eriko’s wife is dying, she urges Eriko to “take the pineapple home”, though he purchased it for her to keep in the hospital room (80).
Quote: Satsuki thanks Urara for gifting her with a new thermos and a variety of tea packets, saying, “You’ve made me as happy as a lover” (129).
Explication: In Kitchen, the gift of food is a symbol of love from one character to another. After Eriko’s death, Mikage plans and prepares a grand professional dinner of all of Yuichi’s favorite foods to comfort him (54). The cooking atmosphere builds a “warm, safe place” for “just the two of [them]” (62). Yoshimoto illustrates the healing quality of food to console an aching character during times of difficulty and grief. The gift of food acts to mend a broken heart in a demonstration of love, conveying the theme of affection taking many forms.
Motif 2: Company of the Kitchen
Quote: Mikage finds herself thunderstruck at the death of her last remaining blood-relative and seeks comfort from “the hum of the refrigerator[, which] kept [her] from thinking of [her] loneliness” (5).
Quote: Mikage and Yuichi awake to realize they have shared the same dream and decide to make ramen and juice, and “it didn’t seem so out of the ordinary” (41).
Quote: As Mikage is moving the last of her possessions, she looks at “the now-empty