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[Yukihira Pot]

The aluminum "yukihira pot" comes to mind when thinking of one-handled pots. It can be used for boiling water, miso soup, simmered dishes, instant ramen, and all-around cooking, so many people probably use it as a standard practical pot.

The yukihira pot is said to be named after the legend that Yukihira, the elder brother of the well-known Heian-period poet and courtier Ariwara no Narihira, had his sisters ama (women divers) draw seawater to bake salt when he was exiled from Kyoto to Suma (Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture). The legendary story of the two sisters, Matsukaze and Murasame, who were ama (women divers), is also featured in the famous Noh play "Matsukaze," in memory of their noble lover, Yukihira, who had left them. In the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (One Hundred Poems of Ogura), there is a waka poem that Yukihira wrote to the sisters.

"立ち別れ いなばの山の 峰に生ふる まつとし聞かば 今帰り来む"

It means, "This is goodbye, but if you say, 'I will wait for you here forever,' like the pine trees that grow on the mountains of Inaba, I will come back immediately." The reason why the "pine" tree is mentioned in the poem is because in Japanese, "pine" and "wait" are pronounced the same. This poem is still known as a cat-returning spell to call back a missing pet cat.

Yukihira pot (行平鍋) is also written as "雪平鍋" or "ゆきひら鍋." There are two versions: "行平鍋," named after Yukihira's name, and "雪平鍋," named after the word "雪 (snow)" and Yukihira's own name, because the salt in the pot looked like snow when he had his sisters, ama (women divers), make salt. Another theory is that the hammered pattern of the pot looks like snow.

Yukihira pot was originally used to cook porridge in an earthenware pot. It was a deep ceramic pot with a handle, lid, and spout. Cooking rice and porridge in earthenware pots allows amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into saccharides, to work more effectively and brings out the sweetness and umami of the rice because of the low thermal conductivity and slow temperature rise. The rice can also be eaten warm because it retains its temperature well. The widely distributed, lightweight, inexpensive aluminum version became popular in the mid-1950s.

Today, yukihira pots are available in a variety of materials, including aluminum, copper, and stainless steel. Pots made of aluminum are ideal for quickly boiling water because of its high thermal conductivity. There were no lids so that the pots could be easily stacked and stored without taking up too much space for commercial use. The hammered pattern on the bottom and sides of yukihira pots is intended to increase the pot's strength and heat conductivity. Copper is more expensive, but it also offers higher thermal conductivity, sterilization, and corrosion resistance, as well as the ability to change color over time as it is used more and more. Please try using yukihira pots and pans, each of which has its own unique characteristics.

Matsuyama Tokojo's Atatamenabe and Yukihira Pot
https://www.shokunin.com/en/matsuyama/
Nakamura Douki's Copper-Made Yukihira Pot
https://www.shokunin.com/en/nakamuradouki/yukihira.html

References
https://kotobank.jp/word/行平鍋-651647
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/在原行平