Culinary Chronicles of the Court Flower, Vol. 3

By Miri Mikawa and Kasumi Nagi. Released in Japan as “Ikka Kōkyū Ryōrichō” by Kadokawa Beans Bunko. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by afm.

If there’s one thing that’s really going to separate Culinary Chronicles of the Court Flower from Apothecary diaries it’s the romance. There *is* romance in Apothecary Diaries, but Maomao’s complete avoidance/disinterest helps to keep it about the 5th or 6th most important thing. That’s not the case here, as a good chunk of this book is taken up with both Rimi and Shusei being in love with each other, but knowing that they can’t actually do anything about it. This is not particularly helped by the fact that the Emperor is also deeply in love with her. Indeed, while I would not quite call Rimi a manic pixie dream girl, her presence and way of thinking seem to have gone a good ways towards making the Emperor mature, as for once we get a “I am going to force myself on you” shoujo romance trope where the guy takes the right message from it. This is one big ol’ love triangle, but one side of it can’t really happen. Or… can it?

Most of this volume is dedicated to trying to negotiate a trade agreement with Saisakoku, a nation further to the West known for its herbs and spices. Unfortunately, Saisakoku does not particularly seem all that interested in negotiating, and the envoy they send doesn’t really care if the emperor is annoyed at this. Fortunately, they also have Rimi, who is interesting enough to attract the attention of the Envoy, who apparently likes to gather strays to his side to serve him (which makes him very similar to many otome game villainesses). Rimi really wants to find out about the Saisakokuan style of cooking, particularly as she alone is now serving the Emperor’s meals – Shusei has been delegated to essentially calm the Emperor down while the delegation is here. Can Rimi do something to break the deadlock?

I’ve talked about the romance, which is important, but that doesn’t mean that this story has forgotten about its roots – or its title. Food is very much a major character, as we continue to see shusei find things that are very good for the Emperor but taste awful, and Rimi continues to try to find ways to make it palatable. The sheer joy she shows over learning new ways of cooking wins over not only the head chef at the palace, but also the Saisakokuan chef who is there to serve the delegate spicy food, as he finds Konkokuan cuisine boring. The solution to this issue turns out to also be the solution to the trade talks, though things are also helped by the Emperor really leveling up and learning when it’s OK to ask for help. I also enjoyed seeing the four consorts now getting along swimmingly, even if I sometimes have trouble telling them apart.

There’s a cliffhanger that promises that the political intrigue that’s also a part of the series is only going to get worse, and I suspect that Rimi and Shusei will have a long and hard road ahead – this is only Book 3 of 11. Still, if you like shoujo romance, food, or happy go lucky heroines, this remains an excellent choice.

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  1. hi, do you plan to review “min-maxing my trpg build in another world”? it’s also much better than its generic title. thanks and sorry for off topic comment

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