At at-work, on-the-desk oden maker is exactly the office morale booster we need

Actually, we think we need one at home too.

When you feel a chill in the air and a rumble in your stomach, one of the best ways to solve both problems is with some oden. A wintertime favorite in Japan, oden consists of various meats, vegetables, and other foods, like tofu and fish cake, stewed in a savory broth of soy and dashi soup stock.

But unfortunately for our oden-loving reporter Ikuna Kamezawa, oden is kind of hard to find this winter. Usually convenience stores offer it with self-serve pots that you pick the pieces you want out of, but many chains have suspended this service during the pandemic, and health concerns also mean fewer street-side oden stalls, where customers usually have to eat shoulder-to-shoulder, this year. However, Ikuna now has a new favorite place to get oden: right at her work desk!

On a recent shopping trip to Tokyo’s Akihabara electrics district, Ikuna stumbled across manufacture Hac’s Oden Maker (it’s also available here through Amazon for 2,970 yen [US$29]). The plug-in cooking appliance is compact enough to fit on a small table or desk, yet spacious enough to allow you to cook multiple types of oden simultaneously.

▼ There’s a removable divider to keep things organized, and you can also use the Oden Maker as a hot plate.

To test the machine out, Ikuna also picked up a pack of oden ingredients containing the necessary broth plus sliced friend tofu, thick-cut daikon radish, chikuwa fish sausage, and eggs (though technically you can make anything into oden as long as you …continue reading