It seems like I am becoming a Korean.
Yesterday I bent over the table at school, arranging papers. My hair hung in my face. I noticed a black hair and brushed my hand at it, figuring it was one of Good Man’s hairs.
It was my hair.
I had a long, long black hair. Growing out of my head.
I’ve never had black hair growing out of my head.
A whiff of fish sauce.
Good Man wanted 깍두기 (daikon kimchi). He asked me if I could make it, and even found a video for me, but he was worried I couldn’t make it.
I’ve cooked Korean food for him before, so I couldn’t figure out what his issue was. Turns out he was worried that I would mind that there’s fish sauce in it. I know there is, and I ate it that way in Korea.
Making the daikon kimchi was fine until nearly the last step.
In Korea, thin plastic kitchen gloves are very common. I never put anything on my hands while I cook.
But when I stuck my hands in the mixture… Well, it felt like something I’d never, ever want to put in my mouth. It felt disgusting, and I told Good Man so in colorful terms.
Good Man said, “In Korea we have a saying, 한국음식의 비결은 손맛에 있어요. It’s the hands that make the food taste good.”
And a few minutes later, when I saw my orange fingers and even oranger fingernails, I realized that I actually needed kitchen gloves.
The kimchi is now in a glass Lock&Lock container on our porch, fermenting or rotting or singing and dancing or whatever it is kimchi does on a porch.