For My Friend, Jenny, Who Doesn’t Know What a Kabocha Is

Kabocha melon, Kabocha squash, or Japanese pumpkin
Kabocha melon, Kabocha squash, or Japanese pumpkin; whatever you call it, this gourd makes a great alternative to pie pumpkin, butternut squash, and yes, even potatoes!

Don’t feel bad! I had never heard of kabocha, either, before I moved to California! Pumpkins, yes. Spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, summer squash, crookneck squash, and zucchini? You betcha! But kabocha? No. And if I had heard of either “kabocha” or “kabocha melon”, I certainly wouldn’t have assumed that either name for this Cucurbita referred to a type of squash.

But then I got a little adventurous on a night out at Izakaya Honda-Ya in Fullerton—before it became Poke Express by Honda Ya—and had my first taste of Japanese pumpkin. I still have a preference for smallish, orange, pie pumpkins—with their Halloween looks and “real” pumpkin flavor—but when the stores around Anaheim and Fullerton stop stocking those little balls of autumnal cuteness, and kabocha squash is still available, I flip that preferred pumpkin switch from Jack O’ Lantern to Japanese.

Wikipedia says that kabocha melon is “is similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and sweet potato combined.” I can’t verify that for myself (and I do not like sweet potatoes, so consider that lack of verification a positive), but I will say that texturally, the kabocha I’ve cooked at home have had a mouthfeel that reminded me a bit of baked, white potatoes, and—confusingly—also a bit of beans. There’s a thick, flaky, carby texture to it that always makes me wonder if the nutritional information I’ve found online for kabocha squash might be inaccurate. My eyes take in the 6 net grams of carbohydrate (total carbs minus fiber), but mouthfeel says “Yeah, no. Double that. At least.”

The info I have is the info I have, though, and since I’m not about to start guessing carb content based on the texture of various fruits and vegetables, kabocha melon is still on the menu at my house. And until I notice a significant blood sugar rise (or crash) in response to eating it (or my poor, carb-deprived wife stops loving when I serve kabocha), it’ll stay right there, in all it’s orange-fleshed, weird-textured, buttered-up glory.

Orange you glad for Kyocera?

Orange Kyocera Chef's Knives Set
I kid you not! I won this set of Kyocera knives on Facebook!

I’m so tickled! I entered a giveaway to win a set of orange-handled Kyocera knives through Facebook. I didn’t expect to win. In fact, I was suspicious when I got an email telling me that I had won and asking for my home address. And I was still surprised when UPS delivered the knives, but look! There they are, in all their orange and white glory, on the table on the high veranda!

The set would be a perfect gift for my wife, since she loves Kyocera knives, and orange is her favorite color. Alas, I was brought up with the superstition that giving knives as a gift would cut the relationship between the giver and the recipient.

I love my wife more than I love either gift-giving, knives, or orange, so this set will have to settle for being mine, and for simply being perfect.

Thank you bunches, Kyocera! Both for the knives and for inspiring the awful pun up top!