On January 5, 1941, Hayao Miyazaki was born in born in Bunkyō, Tokyo and while the world did not yet know it, one of the greatest animators of all time began his path toward changing the world of cinema.
Chances are that even if you're not a hardcore anime fan, you've probably enjoyed one of his films or loved a movie heavily influenced by his art style. One of his most iconic works, Spirited Away, was the first anime film to be nominated for (and win) an Academy Award.
Like many of Miyazaki's films, Spirited Away incorporated elements of traditional Japanese folklore into a larger, sprawling story about the adventurous spirit of youth, environmental awareness, and (perhaps most importantly) a deep and abiding love of food.
If you've spent any time on Tumblr or food blogs with a sense of fun, then you've definitely seen the care and detail that Studio Ghibli, the studio that Miyazaki founded with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, took in animating scenes involving food.
In celebration of Mr. Miyazaki's birthday, we've put together this selection of the most delectable dishes Miyazaki and team ever imagined, complete with links to recipes and directions so that you can make them for yourself. Naturally one starts with…
A traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs
As simple a breakfast as bacon and eggs can be, finding the perfect balance between a thick cut bacon, grease, and specially prepared eggs can be surprisingly daunting. Find your guide here.
Aji-furai, deep-fried horse mackerel
Aji-furai might not be a staple snack food in your home, but Miyazaki's depiction of the crispy fish should be more than enough to convince you to give it at least one go. The best part? It's relatively simple to make.
Swiss chard oshitashi
Fried bacon, eggs, and fish are delicious, yes, but a well-balanced day of consuming delicious GIFs should also include a fair amount of vegetables. Chard isn't just mesmerizing to watch as it's chopped, it's also packed with nutrients and surprisingly versatile as a leafy green.
Dou Sha Bao, steamed red bean buns
To be honest, the wide variety of flavors and fillings you can find in these fluffy, steamed buns makes them one of the few Miyazaki-popularized foods that we'd suggest buying pre-made. Sweet, savory, nearly whatever you want can be found at most international grocery stores. If you're truly brave and skilled in the kitchen, though, here's a recipe.
Herring (and pumpkin) pot pie
Perhaps the most iconic example of food that Miyazaki made beautiful is the herring pot pie featured in Kiki's Delivery Service. The dish is exactly what it sounds like: a pie filled with baked fish and a cream sauce, but the real magic is in its design.
It isn't exactly the easiest dish to make and it requires a certain degree of artistic crust-work.
But the end results are as gorgeous as they are delicious. Try it out for yourself.
This may come as a surprise to you, but a lot of people have difficulty cutting up pineapples while avoiding the fibrous core. Thankfully, there're directions for how to get your slices perfect and finally, we end the day with…
You've had cheesecake before, sure, but you've never had a cheesecake as magically light, airy, and delicious as Zeniba's cotton-soft cheesecake. It's simple to make and it'll change your life.