Crunchyroll #87: Sakura’s Bento from “Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card Arc”

If you’ve been watching Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Arc or even the original series for any amount of time, you’ll recognize that Sakura and Syaoran are the IT couple of anime in 2018. They were able to confess their love to one another in the first series, but in the new arc we are finally able to see them come together and go through a romantic relationship together. It’s like everyone’s CCS fanfiction dreams come true, except better because it’s all 100% canon.

Sadly, Sakura is always busy capturing Clear Cards, and Syaoran seems to always be dealing with the stress of living alone and sorting out his own magical abilities. They hardly have time to be together and be a couple! So when they got to visit the aquarium together again, I, as a humble viewer, was very excited for what was basically their first date since Syaoran moved back. Finally, we could have a moment to ooh and awww over their adorable middle-school love.

And THEN a Clear Card showed up and there went all their lovely plans to look at various fish together. Even worse, Sakura had made a delightful bento for them to share.

If you’re unfamiliar, bento boxes are essentially Japanese lunch boxes so “making a bento” typically means making a packed lunch. In Japan, bentos can get quite creative- and competative. When I was living in Japan, my host mom used to compete with other mothers to see who could make the more adorable bentos for their children. I received a Doraemon, a Totoro, and a very cute penguin in a few different bentos. I felt very lucky to have such a creative host mother.

Sakura’s bento, by all appearances, was going to be very delicious. According to her, she’d been practicing tamagoyaki and chicken karaage, both of which feature in this bento. They are accompanied by some fried sausages, rice, and what looks to be a medly of cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls (even though the later ingredient isn’t exactly common in Japan. I really wasn’t sure what else it could be.). If it’s one thing I’ve come to learn through anime, it’s that Japanese schoolgirls tend to want to impress their crushes with their fantastic home cooking, so this bento box fromo Sakura is truly a triumph.

Or, was a triumph.

The bento got ruined by a Clear Card, so they weren’t able to eat it. I found this to be a particular kind of food tragedy, so decided to recreate it for you here, so that we could realize Sakura’s dream even if she couldn’t eat it herself.

It was a good opportunity to try these easy bento foods out. The challenge here is really taking the time to make it all. You can definitely make some of this food in advance, because putting it all together the day of would be quite a challenge. The tamagoyaki does require some special equiptment, but was surprisingly easy to get the hang of. The egg roll I make below is actually my first try. The only thing I would change would be to use a light soy sauce for the eggs, as the dark soy sauce I used altered the flavor a bit. Chicken karaage is also easy, as long as you’re not afraid of deep frying things. The oil can be intimidating, but once you get the hang of it goes along pretty easily. Overall, I was surprised at how simple each individual component was! Here is a template for the little flags in the food if you want to make it totally authentic.

A final note- this makes a lot of food, so definitely gather some friends together to try this out- consider taking it for a picnic in the park, especially as the weather is beginning to change (at least in California)! I really hope you can try this out! Watch the video below to get more pointers on how exactly to make this bento!

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Crunchyroll #83: Angel Food Cake from “Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Arc”

When was the last time you went to a tea party? I mean, for real, does anyone do those things anymore? Actually, hard truth comin’ at you- I’m a party junkie. By that, I mean that I love throwing unique parties. Examples? Murder mystery party, handcrafted and NOT from a kit- check. Done that. A literary party where I made my friends collect pieces of literature that spoke to them and we sat in a circle and recited said literature. Check. It was a great party! How about this? A tea party with three kinds of sandwiches, scones with all the fixings, over 5 kinds of tea, AND VEGAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES? Check. It was FANTASTIC, I highly recommend it.

So when I ask who has tea parties anymore, the honest answer is me. I do. I have tea parties. But I’ve never had a tea party with such a delicate and superb treat as angel food cake complete with whipped cream and strawberries. Now, if you’ve been with me long, you’ll know I almost universally hate sponge cake. However, angel food cake is the rare exception. It’s incredibly fluffy, moist, and pairs well with my favorite combination ever- strawberries and whipped cream. So, when I saw Sakura eating this at her friend Akiho’s house, I knew I had to try it.

Ya know, Sakura knows what’s up- go over to your rich friend’s house, take advantage of their butler’s astounding cooking skills, and then go ‘splorin to find a new Clear Card. This cake is a great accompaniment- it’s light enough to please, but is also surprisingly sweet and filling, supplying the consumer with copious amounts of energy for any magical doings yet to come. Better yet, if you can get past the semi-terrifying cake pan, it’s a really easy cake to make. This was the first time I ever made it, and let me just brag a little here when I say: it came out PERFECTLY.

This cake is called an angel food cake because it’s lightened and leavened with egg whites, making it pillowy soft and incredibly fluffy. As a result, the final flavor is driven strongly by the kind of extract you put in, as well as the sugar. It results in a sweet, airy treat which pretty much perfectly describes every single Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card episode. The only time I got worried while making this cake was when it came to actually removing the fluffy treat from the pan. Before that, as long as you can hold a hand mixer for about five minutes straight, you’re pretty much in the clear. Another trip to make the perfect cake- cool this sucker upside down. Either on a rack, on the little stands that accompany some pans, or over a wine bottle (be careful it doesn’t come crashing down around you, though). This will prevent the cake from falling and will ensure its fluffiness is maintained while it cools down.

With Spring on the way, you can’t miss with this cake. Like Sakura and Tomoyo, you can enjoy it too! Maybe even hire a butler to make it for you- spice up your life a little bit. Or just do it yourself- make some for your friends, invite them over to your very own tea party, and enjoy with copious amounts of whipped cream and berries. You won’t regret it!

I really hope you can try this out! Watch the video below to get more pointers on how exactly to make this dish!

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Pancakes from Card Captor Sakura

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Card Captor Sakura, the manga of my youth. I used to spend all my allowance money on the manga from this series. In fact, it’s the only collection of manga I own that is complete. Clocking in at twelve volumes total, it’s not as big as some manga series, but as a kid, it was my absolute favorite. I loved it! Sakura always looked so cute, and was so cool as she recaptured the Clow cards. CLAMP is amazing in general and Sakura + Syaoran? My original OTP, let’s be real.

Funnily enough, pancakes, one of Sakura’s favorite food, are well loved in Japan in general. There are whole restaurants dedicated to the food (not unlike America, if we’re being honest…), and it’s seen as more of a snack food than a breakfast food. I was always amazed when I was little that Sakura could just make pancakes at home to snack on, because here in America it’s not really common to eat them besides at breakfast.

But, my life has been difficult lately, so I needed some breakfast for dinner, which is exactly what I made this pancakes for. They were delicious, easy to throw together on a weeknight, and very….not perfectly browned. It turns out I’m not a great pancake maker. I either burn them, or cook them at such a low temperature that they don’t really brown up at all. I couldn’t find a happy medium! So mine don’t look as amazing as they do in CCS, but man, I tried. At the very least, you can follow the recipe and give it a shot yourself- hopefully if you can make them nice and brown looking, you can share your secret with me so I can improve my pancake game. Let’s get to the recipe!

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