Korean Food Footnote
In defense of my recent post, I would like to point out the following article I found. Most of it is a rather disturbing celebration of NK’s Juche actually. The author trumpets how great it is under the glorious Kim Jong-il’s leadership insures that all Kimchi in the north is homemade. In fact the tone of the article only makes me wonder if I was reading the Joongang or the KCNA.
Anyway the key to this for me is the last bit:
But in the South, more households buy kimchi than make it at home. Imports from China are increasing. We no longer have a kimchi-making season. A similar fate might be waiting for rice. As American-style fast food and prepared food have standardized our tables, many traditional tastes are disappearing. Perhaps our palates have been imprisoned by MacDonald's.
The poet Kim Ji-ha wrote, "Kimchi is the shortcut to unification/ whether salty or watery/ radish kimchi or fish-juice kimchi/ the basic taste of kimchi is the same/ just as true lives are one and the same." The times have changed; we need "self-reliance in kimchi" more than "unification of kimchi”,
Note this has all the components of my earlier remarks. The article infers that Kimchi is much healthier than foreign foods. The writer also wrings their hands at the thought of loosing self-sufficiency in food. Notice how the writer singled out McDonalds as bad, rather than Lotteria or the generic “fast food”. The Nationalism reaches such a pitch that even Kimchi not produced in Korea is a “foreign food”. You can even follow the logic that I called cartoonish: Foreign food is a clear and present danger to our national survival.
And through it all I would wager that the author would emphatically assert to me that “Korean is changing fast!” when it comes to adapting foreign foods. Forgive me if I roll my eyes every time I hear that.