Makuwauri No Bakemono (真桑瓜の化物 or まくわうりのばけもの)

Translation: oriental melon monster

Appearance: Makuwauri no bakemono is a bizarre and mysterious yokai found in the Buson yōkai emaki. It looks like an oriental melon (Cucumis melo) with the body of a samurai sprouting from it.

Origin: Buson yōkai emaki is a famous yōkai picture scroll painted by Yosa Buson, a poet and artist who lived from 1716 to 1784. He is considered one of the greatest poets of the Edo Period. In the 1750’s, while studying painting at Kenshōji in Miyazu, Kyōto, Buson painted a scroll containing eight graffiti-like doodles of bizarre yōkai. His doodles are presented as pictures with names and no stories, so the true origin of these yōkai remains a mystery. They are believed to be based upon local legends that Buson picked during on his travels.

The illustration of this yōkai in Buson’s painting notes that it comes from the river ferry in what is today Yamashiro village in Kizugawa City, Kyōto. Whatever specific connection this yōkai had with the area is unfortunately lost. The region was historically famous for it’s melons, so it is only natural that it may have had melon yōkai as well.

Guidelines For Stock Preparation

Guidelines for Stock Preparation 

  • Use the highest quality ingredients.
  • Trim excess fat from meat and bones.
  • Always blanch Beef and Veal bones when making White stocks.
  • Never blanch fish bones when making a fumet, wash only.
  • Begin cooking process with cold water.
  • The higher the ratio of solids to liquids, more intense the flavor.
  • Simmer stocks slowly and uncovered.
  • Never allow a stock to boil, it will become cloudy.
  • Do not stir from the bottom, it will become cloudy.
  • Skim and degrease frequently, always use a clean ladel
  • Taste throughout the cooking process.
  • Stop the cooking process when the ingredients have released their maximum flavor.
  • Stocks should be poured out carefully through a chinois.
  • Stocks should be cooled quickly in an ice bath.
  • A properly prepared stock will be bright and clear.

Stocks and Sauces Terminology

Bouquet Garni: Fresh thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf, a few peppercorns tied together in leek greens.

Deglaze ( Déglacer): To loosen sucs from the bottom of a roasting pan using liquid: water, stock, vinegar, wine or juice.

Dégorger: To soak bones to remove blood to help produce a clearer, cleaner stock.

Degrease (Dégraisser): To remove grease from the top of a stock or sauce with a ladle or metal spoon.

Mirepoix: Equal parts of onions and carrots uniformly Cut, or 50% onions, 25% carrots, 25% celery or equal parts onions, carrots and celery.

Moisten (Mouiller): To Add water to bones and aromatics to produce a stock.

Mother Sauce (Sauce Mères): Group Of basic sauces of the Classical French repertoire.

Mount, to (Monter): Swirl in butter or other emulsifying agent to enrich the flavor and texture, gives a glossy finish.

Pass (Passer): To strain or pass a stock through a chinois.

Plug (Tamponner): To dot the top of a sauce with butter to prevent the formation of a film.

Reduce (Réduir): To boil a stock or sauce until the volume is reduced.

Remoisten (Remouillage): To Add water to cooked bones to extract their maximum flavor.

Roast (Rôtir): To cook in direct, radiant heat in the dry atmosphere of a preheated oven.

Simmer (Frémir): To cook gently so bubbles just break the surface.

Skim (écumer): To remove coagulated blood and impurities from a stock through skimming them off the top with a ladle or skimmer.

Sucs: Caramelized proteins that form on the bottom of a pan as ingredients are browned.

Sweat (Suer): To cook vegetables in a small amount of fat so that the ingredients cook in their own juices without taking on any color.

Winnow (Vanner): To stir a stock or sauce, either while it is cooking or in an ice bath, to facilitate cooking or cooling.

Vegetable Cooking: Dans un Blanc

Definition: Cooking in a water, flour, oil, lemon, salt solution for ingredients that easily discolor such as artichokes, salsify, offal and Veal.

  • 2 Quarts, 4 ounces (2 liters)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce (21 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 ounce (10 grams) coarse salt

In this example we are cooking four artichokes or 2 pounds of salsify, offal or Veal.

Combine water, oil, lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and salt.  Add ingredient to be cooked.  Over high heat bring to a boil. Lower heat slightly. Cook at low boil for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Allow item to stand in liquid one hour.

Glacer: Glazing Vegetables

Similar to A l’etuve, but a small amount of sugar is added.

  • Glacer à blanc: lightly glazed with butter
  • Glacer à Brun: sugar allowed to caramelize.


  • Cook one vegetable at a time.
  • Place vegetables in a saucepan in a single layer.  Add water as for A l’etuve, Butter, salt and a pinch of sugar.
  • Cut parchment paper to fit pan with a center hole.
  • Over high heat bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
  • Simmer until all liquid has evaporated.
  • If vegetables are almost tender remove parchment to allow evaporation.
  • For Glacer à Brun allow sugar to cook until it caramelizes on vegetables, turning then a golden brown.

Thich Nhat Hanh: Update October 5th, 2020

From friends from Plum Village:

“Dear beloved friends – Please receive this with a calm and open awareness. …Our teacher Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) has stopped eating. Please send your spiritual merit and loving kindness to venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, whose body will turn 94 on October 11th.”

Some students are flying to Vietnam to say their final thank-you’s to him. Thank you, Thay, from all those who you have touched from every spiritual background and belief. You have shown us that we have more similarities than differences. And that love will light the way. ❤️


The monks and nuns of Plum Village report:

We are happy to confirm that Thay’s health currently remains stable, thanks to the love and care of his medical team and monastic attendants. There is no immediate cause for concern. The elder brothers who are traveling from Thay’s international centers to see Thay have arrived safely in Vietnam and are now in quarantine, and are looking forward to seeing Thay soon.

Vegetable Cooking: A l’etuvé

Definition: Slowly cooks raw vegetables in a covered pan with their own juices, just a touch of fat and salt. Just enough liquid, water or Stock is added to allow the vegetable to exude their own moisture.

  • Place cleaned and cut vegetables in a pan large enough to hold in a single layer.
  • Add the required liquid to come halfway up the vegetable, this may be as little as a couple of tablespoons.
  • Add the desired fat and salt.
  • Fold a piece of parchment paper into a cone by making four folds inward. Cut off the tip. Cut cone to fit size of pan.
  • Over high heat bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat to a simmer.
  • If water evaporates too quickly, lower temperature.
  • Cook until vegetables are tender.
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  • Serve.

Vegetable Cooking: A l’anglaise

Definition: Allows vegetable to be cooked prior to use, then reheated at time of service in a restaurant.

  • Fill large pot with water.
  • Salt to taste of seawater.
  • Over high heat bring to a rolling boil. Do not cover.
  • Add vegetable and cook until barely tender.
  • Drain well.
  • Shock in ice water. This stops the cooking and sets the color.
  • Drain well.
  • Pat dry.
  • Place in a container and cover with plastic film. Refrigerate.
  • To serve: reheat required amount in a small pan with butter and seasonings.
  • Serve immediately.

Knife Skills: Tournage

Tourner: “to turn.”  Cut vegetables into traditional faceted oval shapes.


  • Cut vegetables into pieces of equal length (troncons).
  • Cut each piece into approximate finished shape.
  • Holding with fingertips of one hand, slice off one side in a slightly curved stroke.
  • Continue to work around entire piece, slightly turning until the whole piece has been molded into an even sided barrel shape.

Different Sizes

  • Bouquetiere: 3 cm (1 3/16 inches) long
  • Cocotte: 5 cm (2 inches) long
  • Vapeur: 6 cm (2 3/8 inches) long
  • Chateau: 7.5 cm (3 inches) long
  • Fondants: 8-9 cm (3 1/8 – 3 1/2 inches) long

Koto Furunushi (琴古主 or ことふるぬし)

Translation: old koto master

Appearance: The Koto furunushi looks like a koto—a long, harp-like instrument that is the national instrument of Japan—transformed into a wild beast.

Behavior: A koto which was once played frequently but later forgotten about and stored away can transform into the koto furunushi. These yōkai may look like wild beasts, but they remember every song that was ever played on them. Koto furunushi play when no one is around, causing everyone to wonder where the music is coming from. They prefer to play old, forgotten tunes that have fallen out of style and vanished from people’s memory.