Friday, June 27, 2014

the supplement

Koreans can't eat Western pasta without some sort of sweet/sour, salty, pickled accompaniment. One of the most bizarre experiences, for a Westerner new to Korea, is to realize that every "Italian" restaurant in Korea will serve spaghetti bolognese or carbonara or Alfredo with a side of pickles. Western pickles are a kimchi analogue; they're crunchy, cool, and a soothing contrast (for the Korean palate) to the main dish. For Koreans, pickles complete the dish; Americans, meanwhile, grow up thinking that an Italian-American pasta dish is self-complete (although some might say the meal isn't complete without a slice or two of garlic bread).

Out of deference to my kids tomorrow, I've made a batch of oi-kimchi—cucumber kimchi. Below are three photos of the kimchi-making process, which is relatively simple compared to the complex, nearly ritualistic preparations that are de rigueur when making baechu-kimchi, i.e., cabbage kimchi:

I thought the batch came out a little salty, and I told my group this via KakaoTalk. "I like salty!" replied one student. I'll see what they think of my oi-kimchi come lunchtime. For now, though, it's time for bed.


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