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a brief history of some culinary practices in korea

Apropos of the last post, here is a brief history of korean culinary customs, as understood by Team Sunny Breaks.
Metal chopsticks instead of wood: One day a man came to visit the king to talk to him about insurance. The king invited the man in and ushered him to a seat at the dinner table without asking whether he actually wanted to eat dinner or not.
Half way through the meal the king felt the uncontrolable urge to go wash his hands, which he did. When he was out of the room, the salesman realised this was a good opportunity to switch the king’s chopsticks with some novelty joke-chopsticks that went floppy when warmed by the hand. This he did.

The salesman imagined how this would provide bulk laughs and then the king might buy some dental coverage. Unfortunately, the sticks were made in china and were coated in a rather nasty toxic stuff. The king got poisoned and had a terrible bellyache the next day.
So from that day on he only used metal sticks. His loyal subjects thought this was pretty hip and joined in, despite their finding it much trickier to eat.
For many generations, the food of the loyal subjects would slip from their utensils, which splattered stuff in their eyes, and got little stains on their clothes. It took so long to eat a normal meal that they all became fetchingly slim.

[The universal truth of this part of the story is: even if the culinary custom was to stick a plastic toothpick under the fingernail of the little finger, and another under the nail of the thumb — and eat that way — people would still get good at it, because people like to eat.]

Where did the knife and fork go?: Another time, the king was having dinner with another man; they were having steak and kidney pie. The man was evil because he was probably from japan. His evilness became readily known when he tried to assassinate the king. He took up the knife and fork he was eating with, and leant over the little table and made several stabbing motions at the king with the knife and fork at the same time

They got the king in the forehead and it hurt pretty bad. From that day on, knives and forks were banished from the castle. Again, the people followed suite. Steak and kidney pie also became extremely unpopular. In the castle, whenever someone would moan that they were having trouble cutting their bbqed beef, someone else would whine back, “ah just use your spoon. For fuck’s sake!”. But this wasn’t always practical, and in the royal kitchen the chefs would sometimes sneak the scissors out of the 2nd draw and cut stuff up with them.

* * *

In modern times, pragmatism crept in and people began using the fork for pork-uh cutret, but when they did they always thought of the poor king and how he copped one in the forehead.

YS @ 9:11 am, April 28, 2005

1 Comment

  1. [...] I also had good fortune to witness a wonderful little event – that of a local girl knife n’ forking a piece of pizza with the most [...]

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