Tuesday, November 4, 2008
#53 Force Feeding
One of the many unique talents a Korean mom possesses is force feeding; feeding you until you are nearly hospitalized, distended stomach and all. Although you may think this is true about moms across cultures, Korean moms stand alone in how they go about using this particular talent. They are the queens of mixed messages. In fact, they invented the mixed message. It is a form of torture taught to all Korean moms as the mantle of 'ahjumah' is passed down to them. They learn the art of mixed messages in conjunction to purchasing their very first frizzy perm, and as they put on their very first pair of socks with sandals. Korean moms live to confuse you, and force feeding is their weapon of choice. They tear you down, only to build you up soon after...don't be frontin' kids...you know you like it. They will feed you only when they have done their best to lower your self esteem a few notches. It does not matter how fat your Korean mom thinks you are, when it is meal time, she will feed you until rice comes out of your nose. She may be disgusted by the sheer sight of your double chin, buy you herbs and acupuncture sessions to help you lose weight, but she will never let you starve. She will tell you to go on a diet, grab your love handles like she is about to rip them off, give you the stank eye, then proceed to stuff you with sahm-gyup-sahl/bacon, dipped in fatty sesame oil and salt. This is their self created window of opportunity. When your self esteem is lying on the floor in need of CPR. It is only then, at that moment, that their cooking becomes the highlight of your life. Korean moms understand the secret of life...food tastes best when it is the only thing left to live for. If you have the good fortune not to be 'fat' in the eyes of your Korean Mom, rest assured that she will still mess with you then ambush you with food. Punishment (see #52) usually proceeds a force feeding. It is their way of apologizing for whacking you with the rice paddle and asking you why you are crying. Have you ever eaten a great steaming bowl of jjigae/stew with tears streaming down your face? Or had some really awesome galbi/short ribs while making that really sad choking sound where you can't breathe because you're holding back a sob? This is the moment Korean moms live for. The moment when she knows that you may be pissed, offended beyond belief, on the verge of running away, or calling social services, but you will not do so until you finish your meal...because her food is Just. That. Good.