Saturday, September 16, 2006

Don't worry. I am well fed.

Some things don't change.

Like mother figures feeding young man figures.
Take the custodial/kitchen staff at our school for example. We call her Ajuma, which is the title given to an older (not elderly) married woman. Literally it works out to "Auntie" I think.
Being a lousy cripple I am unable to dish out my own food at lunch time. Ajuma is all too happy to do this for me, and typically my tray will be fully thrice the size of the other teachers and students. I had been eating it all too, and not thinking anything of it. Ajuma is the one wearing a yellow apron dolling out Kim Chi.

I took a picture of one of my trays to post here, you know, so you could see what Korean cafeteria food looks like. When Amber saw the picture her jaw just about fell through the floor. Apparently it is "a lot of food". I thought nothing of it.

This is a pretty typical meal at Little Brown (except for the gigantic portions). Rice. Some kind of soup, which in this case is significantly thicker than it usually is. Most of the time the soup is merely a broth or miso base with a few bits of sea weed or leafy things swimming in it. On this day it was a slightly spicy broth with shredded tofu in it. The top right bowl always has some sort of Kim Chi, which is a vegetable fermented in a red spicy mix and served cold. The top middle has seaweed and a rice/seaweed patty thing going on. So you can have rice or seaweed or rice AND seaweed together at last. The last bowl has a breaded and deep fried meat. In this case pork. I like it. Amber... not so much.

Koreans eat with metal chopsticks, which is what you see on the far left. I could devote a whole blog entry to these difficult little utensils. Sufficed to say metal is more difficult to use than wooden chopsticks. I'm getting better but it is still embarrassingly messy sometimes. Last night for instance when our boss took us out and I dropped several pieces of meat and garlic (I think it was garlic) down the barbecue.


kristybruce said...

Seeing your food brought on horrific flashbacks of the Japanese School Lunches.

Everyday, a huge plateful of rice, usually served cold. Some kind of nasty soup, 90% of the time made with a fish base. Then a small dish of over cooked vegetables. Rounding out the tray of death would be a carton of milk. Whole milk.

Never have I been so happy to have sandwiches for lunch at school as I have been this year.

JediEmpress said...

Honestly I think the food looks good. Rice is awesome stuff. That's nice of them to give you bigger portions!
If you practice eating with chopsticks at home all the time, you'll get the hang of it.

boldfont said...

I don't know if Ajuma is being nice so much as being overbearing and motherly. "Here Eat eat..." Pretty much what Ajumas all over the world do. And I eat it (naturally) - one of the reasons I'm so popular with them.

ambearo said...

Let me say, this was one of the better lunches *but*, people, cafeteria food is nasty ANYWHERE in the world. Sometimes it's all I can do to swallow and they do not have drinks with their meals so I can't even wash things down. Ugh. This is the worst part of Korea so far- nasty ass school lunches.