Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I wasn't impressed at first. It was 1990. My friend Jake slurped a bowl of what looked like bloody weeds. Or the gunk that lines the bottom of the sink when the garbage disposal backs up. It smelled like of garlic and cabbage fields.
"It's Kim chee," he explained. "I think it's Korean."
Jake was the guy who had to order the weirdest thing on the menu. Stuff like duck feet , blood pudding, escargot. I think he wanted to look sophisticated. An "I'm so worldly that I think this stuff is regular food, unlike you uncultured slobs" kind of thing. Ever the show off, he also drank Bacardi 151 straight up, but not after making sure everyone in the room knew it was flammable.
I never cared for duck feet , blood pudding or 151 (I never tried the snails), but I did grow to love kimchee.
Mmmmm Kimchee. Spicy, salty garlicky goodness freckled with red pepper. I like the crunch of the white chunks and the dark stringy leaves dripping with the brine.
There's always a jar or two in my fridge.
It probably feels so common, sitting next to the peanut butter, ketchup and the mustard. Yellow mustard, I might add. I never much cared for Grey Poupon.
p.s. I'm aware that "regular food" is a relative thing.
photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/arifm/sets/72157594443903111/