Did You Eat?

One of the Korean things I learned was to ask my boyfriend if he’d eaten lunch.

lunch-e1536589782531.jpg

Bon apetit ca 1972

When I lived in Seoul during the early 2000’s, I dated some and learned the endearing custom of asking your significant one if they’d eaten lunch.  It’s a kissing cousin to the American “Did you eat yet?”

My boyfriend is good at making lunch so when I’m home I know I will eat lunch.  At work?  Not so much.   It’s a comfort and joy to have someone concerned about your eating habits.  There are so many people who aren’t as lucky.

“Did you eat yet?”

 

Thirst is angry at water.  Hunger, bitter

with bread.  The cave wants nothing to do

with the sun.  This is dumb, the self-

defeating way we’ve been.

––excerpted from “The Self We Share” by Rumi

 

 

 

Advertisements

Where Did We Go?

I don’t remember a lot of trips taken as a kid.  But I know we went to Niagara Falls.

1977Niagra.jpg

Niagara Falls, 1977

We drove up in a car and when we got there I puked in a paper bag.  I remember that it was from eating a whole lot of cheese doodles.

I had a feeling when I was young that we didn’t do things that other families did.  My friends who were white seemed to be always going on “vacation”.  It seemed like only white people could go on vacation.   They had the time and the money.

And when I got older, I made it a point to be going somewhere, it was a case of ABV––Always Be Vacationing.   But sometimes you end up in places that make no sense.

 

SUBTERFUGE & DNA

by Jiwon Choi

The whitest girl I ever knew

came from Concord, New Hampshire

she played violin, kept her hair boy short

and wore ear plugs to bed

––the one time my boyfriend came to visit

she really needed them

I went home with her one weekend

and met her family

over baked chicken and green beans I fielded questions

about my parents—what kind of work were they in?

I didn’t answer that their profession was dysfunction

I told my stories instead:

(as my parents’ only child I am good at subterfuge)

they’re in “sales” (not hyper-depressed immigrants moaning

in a dark room)

we vacation in Niagara Falls (one time when I was seven

and I threw up a whole bag of Cheese Doodles when we got there)

and our dishes aren’t all busted up (the Laura Ashley bowls were

the first to go––smashed against the wall)

Before bed while brushing my teeth, I find the diaphragm

on the bathroom sink and the ear plugs make sense.

 

 

 

 

Tradition

Find order in the universe.

IMG_0624

What to order?

I was an expat in Korea for some three years.  I was there to visit my parents who’d gone back in 1997.  When I got back to New York in 2005, one of my first stops was the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal.

IMG_1706

My Own Private Idaho

I realized right quick that I needed to establish some traditons for myself: Oyster Bar & Noodletown.

IMG_1711

The oyster of the world

The thing about being a displaced person is that you are caught up in a lot of other people’s stories with yours being put on the back burner.  Living in Korea for the years that I lived there was both a challenge and a gift, but I knew I couldn’t stay forever.

IMG_1738

Tradition: Singapore Mai Fun

I am sad about that.  I often wonder what would have happened if I had stayed, married a Korean guy, and set up house.

duck

Duck 2013

I’d probably be up in my ass with babies and laundry.

eating1

Bon appetit

But then I wouldn’t have met this guy.

I never told the buried gold

Upon the hill – that lies –

I saw the sun – his plunder done

Crouch low to guard his prize.

––Emily Dickinson, “11”

Duh, Sit At The Bar

There’s a reason why I sit at the bar.

admiral's inn

Admiral’s Inn Bar, Antigua

The last dinner we had at a neighborhood spot was not choice.  Though I like this restaurant a lot, we made the mistake of sitting at a table.  It’s because there was a 45 minute wait for the bar and I let myself be lured to a ready table for two.  I’m glad they were busy on a Thursday night (and they admitted their surprise) as it means their business is not in danger of shuttering, but I know we got caught in the crosshairs: The waiter’s handwriting was in the weeds so I got a “dirty” martini when all I wanted was a dry one.

jiwon & zelma

Jiwon & Zelma

Also, when you sit at the bar you get to be oblivious to most of the slow-poke awkward waitstaff situations as your transactions take place with the bartender, who usually has her shit together.   And you are poised to be in a position to get some inside scoops!  Like the time Zelma, bartender extraordinaire of the old Admiral’s Inn Bar, revealed the ingredients for her sublime Planter’s Punch.

Yeah, I know there are children starving in Africa and the Syrians are under constant bombardment by their government, and the Chinese under threat of prison for speaking their mind: First world problems are nothing compared to the turmoil and suffering of the rest of the world.  So best not to unleash any more problems into the universe and just sit at the bar.

Zelma’s Planter’s Punch

(Zelma never revealed the quantity of ingredients so the Boyfriend had to figure them out)

The ingredients *

dark rum

light rum

orange juice

pineapple juice

lime juice (freshly squeezed, please!)

sweet vermouth

creme de cacao

grand marnier

angostura bitters

grenadine

myers rum

nutmeg, freshly grated

fruit garnish, cantalopue wedge

* ingredient amounts in descending order

The steps

1. Mix all your ingredients.  Chill.  You could also freeze a huge chunk of ice, put it in your punch bowl and pour the punch over it.

2. Finish off each glass with a dash of myers rum (that’s what makes it planters according to Zelma) and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cantaloupe wedge.

To freeze a huge hunk of ice:  Pour water half way (or more depending on your punch bowl capacity) in a medium-sized stainless steel bowl and freeze.