Friday, December 09, 2022


I told my boss that today's noodle soup wasn't traditional by any means: I was using up leftover chicken stock, veggie stock, and chicken gravy. It all combined really well, and it wasn't awkward at all to add beef to the chicken stock. Once I added the noodles, however, the broth thickened up radically because the store-bought kalguksu was covered with a thin layer of flour. The moment the flour hit the water, the starch gelatinized, and voilà: thicker soup.

But no one complained. In fact, despite my having made an entire bokgeum-paen's worth of soup, it was almost all gone by the time I looked at the pan again. (I also served a bit of kimchi on the side.) There was barely one serving left, so I scooped that into my bowl and polished it off after a stint in the microwave. I was amazed that the crew had eaten almost the whole thing. My Korean coworker said it was really good (despite it not being traditionally Korean); hilariously, he said the combination of thick soup with beef brisket reminded him of a meat pie he'd eaten in Australia. I wasn't prepared for a reaction like that, so he startled a laugh out of me. My American coworker gave me a big thumbs-up and rubbed his stomach dramatically to indicate deep satisfaction. My boss said nothing until I asked him how the meal had been, then he looked at me and jokingly said in an overly stern voice, "Did I say it tasted bad?" I smiled, as I usually do when I hear a dad joke.

So the boeuf bourguignon and the Kevguksu, as my boss dubbed it, were two hits this week. This makes up, at least a little, for recent fuck-ups like the quiche with the overcooked bottom. I'll be making an apple galette and those often-mentioned cheese-and-crab-sauce ravioli for next week. I'm really hoping those rock and roll. An apple galette is, in principle, a simple thing, and the ravioli, if I do it right, ought to appear fancy but be easy to prepare. We'll see. I haven't made proper pasta in a while, but I'll brute-force my way through this and, I hope, come out with something edible.

More pics over the weekend and next week. Brace for impact.

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