Waffles and Mochi

Photograph: courtesy of Netflix
View on streamer site
Rating 6.7
Streamer Netflix
Seasons 1
Episodes 10 x 30 mins

Waffles is a yeti with frozen waffles for ears, Mochi an itty bitty Japanese desert. They’re from the ‘land of frozen foods’ and are after a job stacking shelves in a quaint little NYC grocery store. And who should they bump into other than Michelle Obama? Turns out she owns the supermarket, and she employs the pair to travel around the world on a magic shopping trolley, learning about food. Wonder if we can borrow it to skip the lockdown queues on our next trip to Tesco?

Each episode focuses on one ingredient, such as salt, water, rice and herbs. And the fluffed and stuffed pair head off to countries like Peru, Japan and Italy, meeting famous chefs like Samin Nostrat and José Andrès, with celebs such as Queer Eye’s Tan France and singer Sia popping up along the way. So, in away, it’s a bit like Anthony Bourdain, but with less references to drug use, and a few less drunken nights out with the international tour guides…

After her “Let’s Move!” initiative whilst her other half was still in office, we can see why the former First Lady was on board with this fun and cosy kids show. And “Mrs O” has always been good company, hasn’t she? She’s got that likeable, authoritative thing going on, so when she teaches kids to use salt in moderation, and to be accepting to people who look and speak differently to themselves, you’re pretty sure they’ll listen. And with the cute-as-a-button Mochi and the sweet-as-syrup Waffles, they’re certain to enjoy a few laughs and adventures as they go.

It might just be our boring old adult brains, but the show is definitely a bit all over the shop – pun intended – and jumps around more than Mr O likely did when his presidential replacement was voted out earlier this year. But let’s leave politics out of it, shall we? Because despite the choice of host, that’s what this show does. It’s a positive and informative sweet treat for kids to enjoy, and one most open-minded parents will be unable to resist.

The critics have gobbled up Waffles and Mochi, with pretty great reviews all round. The Guardian’s Adrian Horton calls this “charming”. He acknowledges “there’s fair reason to be cynical about the crossover between politics and entertainment… but it’s hard to fault a program that teaches kids to approach the foods they eat with curiosity, inclusiveness and a dose of background knowledge.” Ed Power in The Telegraph says “there is no doubting Barack and Michelle’s star power,” which here is utilised to “spread peace, love and understanding.” For Vanity Fair’s Sonia Saraiya, though, Michelle was “a slightly stiff host,” lacking the “goofiness” required to host a puppet show. She doesn’t deny though, this show is “wholesomely entertaining.”

First shown March 2021. You can watch the trailer here:

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