Yeah, the food is definitely something to admire. I wish I could send some to you at home. Like with most things in life, it’s best to keep an open mind. Some of the things you see here are absolutely delicious, I’m sure! But I wouldn’t know about the squid. The bloated bodies freaked me out. Other things, though, I think are great – almost all of the fish, no matter how it is prepared, for one. Pastries for another – that’s a no brainer. Most soups, salads, stirfries and rice-based dishes are very good. Though there is a salad here that I can’t stomach. It is made of greens that look like a hearty grass and there are teeny, tiny shrimp, the size of small paperclips in it, shells and all. Guy says it’s good. I will take his word for it, and pass mine, with their little eyes staring up at me, over to him. As I have said, it’s easy to eat healthfully, and light, in Korea. I just had to show you the things offered at this festival. Wowzers!
A long, long time ago (Yes, I read the brochure. No, I didn’t memorize it) the have-nots in Korea would gather together and make fun of the haves. They were able to do this and not get punished because they wore masks during painfully honest depictions of the upper crust and their treatment of the peasants. The masks were as elaborate as could be for the time, created of whatever materials could be found, usually hollowed out squash or gourds, and painted with vivid colors portraying any number of complicated human emotions. Nowadays, for my enjoyment, and the enjoyment of the thousands of others who flocked to the Andong Mask Festival on Saturday, the show goes on! What an awesome gathering! What an incredible experience!
As does any festival with a theme, this one had vibrant displays of…you guessed it! Masks. It was so much fun to peruse the stalls and see the craftsmanship. In the photo above, professional artists show their stuff. In this one on the left, children show their mad skills with floam! Garrett particularly enjoyed masks with the most bizarre expressions on their faces…of course! Luke was happy to walk around and take it all in, go for a ride in a little motorized thing and try a hotdog on a stick with the batter fried and full of french fries as well (I think I mentioned this in a previous blog. Well, Luke try. Luke like.) For her part, Natalie (always the superstar with her blond hair and blue eyes) just stuck close by me while people tried to touch her and talk to her. Kudos for your patience, Nat! In the end, she got a hug from Curious George. A great day, all in all!
It is easy to healthfully over here, I will say that. Every day, at our on-campus cafe, there are numerous fresh fruit and vegetable choices, low-sodium soup, the always present sticky white rice, and something with meat, usually with sauce. Thank goodness I am head over heels for the sidekick kimchi – it is a delicious, fermented vegetable/cabbage dish that reminds me of spicy sauerkraut. I eat it quite a bit. All the kids have tried it, too, and by golly, won’t eat another bite. No worries, there is always peanut butter and jelly or toast with butter to enjoy. The staff here in the kitchen aims to please – they’ll make or find anything you ask for, if they can. Brownie night is a big hit, as you can imagine, but not for me. My sweet tooth has yet to find a treat it deems delectable. This is good for the waistline.
Eating out is another story still. Since we have, as of yet, only been to korean barbeque restaurants, the veggies take a supporting role while the meat – center stage. Cuts of pork or beef, or whatever you order, are brought to you and cooked on a hibachi-type grill right in the center of the table. You can imagine the hit this makes with children. Finally, a gimmick at a restaurant that keeps their attention! The waitstaff we’ve had when we’ve been out is generally nowhere to be seen until we do something truly crazy like try to grill our garlic on this hibachi! This is NOT. OKAY. They will smile while you laugh, but they do not find this funny. I know this because they will take your utensil out of your hand and remove your sizzling garlic completely from your table. And they will not bring you more.
It’s hard to see in this picture, but after they take your order and get you started cooking, they will bring you a sidedish. Or 20. There are marinated onions, sprout salads, green shoot something-or-others, bowls of goo, dipping sauces, soups, more onions – only this time they’re sauteed…I can’t tell you the amount of food that arrives at the table. To date, we have not finished what is brought to us, no matter how many people we bring along.
This night, in these photos, we are with the Jolly family, at a restaurant, near their home, that took us in and treated us like we knew just what we were doing. Well, the Jollys did, actually. They’ve been in Korea for 9 years. I liked it there, because though they, too, poopooed my roasted garlic idea, they didn’t take it away from me. That’s gotta be good for business. At least my business.