Chapter 20

Writings on the 10,000 oral traditions (萬聞書之部)

“10,000” is a superlative, often referring to all (e.g. “10,000 people” can be translated as “everybody”), so the title is referring to the myriad oral traditions that aren't otherwise recorded. It is clear from the text to this point that there were plenty of oral traditions which the author did not, for whatever reason, include in the main text.

The instructions here are for a variety of things, such as how to preserve food, how to make soy sauce, and other miscellaneous pieces of advice for the kitchen. This chapter gives an intriguing look into things that a modern reader might take for granted. It can be useful to read through this chapter for hints as to the recipes in the other chapters.

Other interesting historical notes include the overnight sushi, so named because sushi was typically a preserved food at this time, taking days to pickle and prepare. It wasn't until more modern times that it became the popular raw food known today.

That said, one should be careful. I have translated the original Japanese, but cannot recommend all of the practices herein, such as anything to do with preserving endangered or protected species or potentially harmful practices, such as using bits of copper to keep your yuzu green. This is added for historical completeness, alone.

At the end of the chapter is the author's postscript, describing some of the origins of the work as well as providing the date and location of this publication, though there is some scholarly speculation that this may be a revised edition of an even earlier work.

1. How to prepare overnight sushi 一夜ずしの仕様

Wash ayu, then put rice that’s been seasoned so it is saltier than usual inside the fish, wrap it in grass, kindle a fire in the garden, fry up the wrapped package, and roll all of that in rice 2 or 3 times. Place that on top of the kindled fire and sit a strong weight on top of that. Also, it is good to weave it around a post and twist. It can be finished in only one night. It doesn’t become salted fish.

2. How to preserve whale 鯨の置様

Bring 1 shō of salt and 1 shō of water to boil and let it cool and store the whale in here for three days. After that time, take it out, wrap it up, and store it until whenever. Just like that, there is also a way to pickle and store it in a bucket. It is also good if you pickle it in sake lees, add salt and put it in a jar. Do not keep the lean meat long.

3. How to preserve bamboo shoots 竹の子の置様

If you take bamboo shoots and boil well, and then season amazake with salt to taste—two or three saltings—and put in the bamboo shoots to pickle them, then the bamboo shoots should be able to preserve their color indefinitely. Serve with salt.

4. Bamboo grass shoots こなり

This is the same as preserving bamboo shoots. It will keep them as when they were green until the next year. For this, two days before you use it, place it in salt.

5. How to prepare Rokujō [tōfu] (六でうの仕様)

Cut tōfu into good sized chunks, put it in salted water and simmer, skewer it, and dry it out.

6. Shirakawa amazake 白川甘酒 (Shirakawa style sweet sake)

Grind up 3 shō of white rice, steam it well and let it cool, put 5 shō of kōji in 5 shō of water, then crumble and strain through a filter bag, and throw away the strained lees. Make it with that water and adjust it over time. For summer, three days, and for winter, five days, should be good.

7. How to prepare yubeshi 柚べしの仕様 (Citron mochi)

Cut open a mouth like for yuzu-miso and throw away the seeds. Grind well things such as miso, ginger, and koshō. Put in such things as kaya, sesame seeds, and apricot kernels. Mix it together and put the lid on, tie it up, steam it well and let it dry, then dangle it from the ceiling.

8. How to preserve tō no imo stalk 唐の芋のくきの置様

Peel off the skin and tear into thin strips, tie up the thin pieces, then dry it in the southern shade to preserve.

9. Freeze dried kon’nyaku 氷こんにゃく

Boil kon’nyaku well and cool it in the snow. Make it the same way as frozen tōfu.

10. How to prepare kokera-zushi こけらずしの仕様 (Pressed sushi)

Cut up salmon, and make it into big, flat pieces. Salt cooked rice and mix it together. Then sit a weight on it, as is.

11. How to salt nashimono なしものゝ塩かげん

In summer put 5 of salt, in winter put 3 of salt, in 1 shō of fish. However, there are oral traditions near and far.

12. Furiko ふりこ (A type of sea cucumber)

Put salt and ash in the furiko, and if you knead it around in a mortar. It will quickly turn white.

13. Masaki shōyu 正木醤油 (Masaki style soy sauce)

Polish 1 to of barley until it is white and grind it up. Simmer 1 to of soybeans like miso. Polish 3 shō of wheat and grind it up. Simmer the soybeans, mix with the wheat and barley flour, sprinkling the flour on top. Then put it on a board, cover it with niwatoko leaves like a lid, and let it rest idle. When it has been left to rest for a good time, add 8 shō of salt and 2 to of water to make it. The same thing, number two: add 4 shō of salt, 1 to of water, and 4 shō of kōji, then put it aside for 30 days.

14. Sengoku-ryū 仙石流 (Sengoku style)

Mix together 1 to of soybeans, 1 to of barley, 1 to and 1 shō of water, 4 shō of salt, and 3 shō of kōji at any time, then mix in flour. Pour it on top, let it rest idle, and put in the water above to prepare.

15. Oral tradition for tanuki jiru 狸汁の口伝 (Raccoon dog broth)

Prepare the meat, add in pine needles, garlic, and yuzu, and braise in aged sake. After that, wash up with water, sprinkle on sakeshio, and then add it to the broth. River otter may be prepared in this same way.

16. Moyashi もやし (Bean sprouts)

For moyashi, prepare soybeans, azuki beans, sasage, and bundō in water, put dirt in an oshiki, sow the beans, and before long they will sprout. Use them when they are about 1 sun and 4~5 bu.

17. Sendai hoshi’i 仙台干飯 (Sendai style dried rice)

Polish glutinous rice to a high quality, wash it with water during the middle of winter, put it in a tub, and change the water every day, soaking for 14~15 days. Then steam it well, dry it in the shade, and divide it up. Shake it well three times. Get rid of the flour.

18. How to prepare green soy bean flour (青大豆の粉仕様)

When you don’t have green soybeans, boil daikon leaves a bit and take out the veins. Wring them out and put it on the stove, and when it is grated it should turn white and green. Put in a little yuzu leaf for aroma only.

19. How to salt Hino udon 日野うどんの塩かげん (Hino-style wheat noodles)

Put 1 shō and 5 of salt into 5 shō of water. This is something that is difficult to simmer properly. The seasonal flavors are oral traditions.

20. Kneading sugar 沙糖をねり申

When you knead sugar, crack in one egg, and pound the sugar dust in the egg, and take it out. Also in honey.

21. Hamana nattō 浜名納豆 (Hamana-style fermented soybeans)

Cook up 1 to of soybeans as though making miso, put in 1 to of udon flour, blend it well, and let it rest. Cover with a straw mat and put it away for 3 days. Then, take off the cover and chill slightly, then turn it upside down, return it, and let it rest some more. When it has rested well, scrape it together, and add a mixture of 6 parts water and 3 parts salt. Pour in half the water and blend it over time. You should leave it for 30 days. If you make it in the middle of summer you should put it away until the 9th day of the 9th month. What to do when it is left to rest is an oral tradition. Put it on a door, piling it up to the height of the door frame. It is not good to make it too thick. Leave it for 30 days, and when it has just about finished, put in such things as karakawa, ginger, and press it to prepare it [for use].

22. Masaki hishio 正木ひしほ (Masaki style hishio soy sauce)

Prepare 1 shō of white barley in water overnight, gently simmer and steam in a bamboo basket. Sort out those that have been eaten by bugs, et cetera, from 8 of soybeans. Wash them in water and then dry. Roast them, grind them into small pieces, and discard the skins. Mix the barley and soybeans and steam them softly. Spread out evenly to a thickness of less than 5 fun. Sprinkle 2 5 shaku of wheat flour up and down and let it rest. After pulverizing flowers, briefly crumble them, and dry them a bit in the shade. Without scattering them, put the flowers in a paper bag. Five days before preparing something (10~15 days in the winter), add 4 of kōji, 2 5 shaku of salt, to 1 shō of water, bring it to a boil and then let it cool. Put it away in a tub or jar. Put it out in the sun, and mix it five or six times in a day. Leave it outside until it reaches the right color. However, when making 5 shō, it is good to add 3 of salt.

23. How to pickle crucian carp with sake lees 鮒のかす漬

Pickle carp in sake lees as with an overnight salt press. You should put a strong weight on it. You should do this for five or six days.

24. Kuwai, tokoro, imo くわい ところ いも ([Pickled] spikerush, yam, and taro)

Peel off the skin and put them away to pickle in rice bran. The color doesn’t change from the fifth to seventh day.

25. How to prepare fukume ふくめの仕様

Fry up dried tai, tenderize it slightly on a board, pick out the bones, and then grind it up. Kamasu, shark, salted fish, and kisugo—anything can be done.

26. How to preserve green melons 青瓜の置様

Salt midwinter snow, boil it down, and put it in a jar. Divide the melon in two, cleanly take out the innards and put them away to pickle. Keep it until summer of next year. Also pickle such things as nebuka and sasage.

27. Takenoko no kiriboshi 竹の子のきりぼし (Cut and dried bamboo shoots)

Cut it as you like and boil slightly in hot saltwater. Dry it well and put it away in a jar. The color won’t change until the next year. There are oral traditions. At about 9~10 months’ time, you should take it out and dry it again.

28. Nasubi no kiriboshi 茄子の切ぼし (Cut and dried aubergine)

Dry it out fresh and put it in a jar. You should also dry this 3 or 5 times in the 9th, 10th, or 11th months.

29. Crucian carp broth 鮒の汁

When you are in a hurry, add a little white sugar to vinegar, and immediately simmer. After a little time, the sweet taste of the sugar will remain. The sugar for 10 portions of food is two shell-ladles full, and with half the amount of vinegar.

30. How to reconstitute dried shiitake mushrooms (ほしたる椎茸を生になす事)

Put the white undersides into sugar water to prepare, and they will seem to return to when they were fresh.

31. How to keep yuzu green until next year (柚を来年まであをく置様)

When the yuzu aren’t any bigger than plums, add copper waste to 1 shō of rice bran and 1 shō of salt, and put it aside to pickle. When it comes time to use it, extract the salt the night before.

32. How to mix and season with kinton (橘飩のこねかげん)

When miso shiru is not yet too hot to touch, knead it in. When using the hot water from kuzu sōmen and suiton, you can use this same technique. There are oral traditions. Either way, with kuzu, grind it with a druggist’s mortar, grinding it into fine pieces.

33. Quick irizake 煎酒急候時

When you are in a hurry, put 2 sticks of katsuobushi and 5 of dashi in 1 shō of sake. Taste, add tamari, and serve. You should put 6 or 7 umeboshi in 1 shō of sake. Decoct a good amount of salt and tamari and put it in.

34. Ninuki 煮貫

Put 2 sticks of katsuobushi in 5 of miso and 1 shō 5 of water, boil it down, put it in a bag, and let it drip. Draw off the liquid and return it 3 times .

Regarding the scroll of food above, there are myriad manners, and people make food with their own preparation, indicating that nothing is fixed. However, since from ancient times these things were heard and passed down until today, I have called this work "Ryōri Monogatari". The rare things in famous foods from other countries may be thousands, and before long we will see and hear about it. So let me write a postscript about what we can do. The fish and fowl of the earth are born from nothing to an inexhaustible supply, and there are no limits to the variety born out of the rain and dew, so who could measure it all? Today, there are popular items, but the favorites also remain, and I might be able to write and reveal such excellent things. It is an outline. Whether a view of spring, travels far from home, or overwhelming tedium, the brush cannot capture it all. The author doesn’t know everything, and so one must combine what he does know with oral tradition.

Written in Sayama, Musashi.

Kan’ei 20 Mizunoto-Hitsuji, a lucky day in the 12th month.


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