Sunday, July 12, 2009

War Pickle

I'm too young to have thought about this, but a large number of men in the U.S. associate kimchi with their time in the military.

The heads of napa cabbage are lovely right now (there was one torso sized one I should have photographed but didn't). So I've been making a lot of kimchi. I love spicy food, and the people who come to wintergreens seem to really crave spice and sour and layers of flavor—it fits. When I mentioned to my father that I'd made a batch, he remembered his time in Korea, and the kimchi being fermented in holes in the ground. Interesting, noted. Because M*A*S*H was my favorite tv program as a kid and there was one kimchi-pot-mistaken-for-landmine plot line, I should have connected the U.S. military to kimchi in the American mind.

Then at the market yesterday three or four men mentioned having not tasted or smelled kimchi in decades, and having such fond memories of it from being stationed in Korea. It's interesting how war and colonization affect our relationships to food—of course they have dramatic effect.

I can be small brained, I guess, but I'm glad to be expanded a bit by interactions over this particular food and its expansive flavor.

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