‘’I just murdered five people with my bare hands. In a hasty attempt to diffuse the situation I buried their bodies in my mother’s garden but instantaneously I realised my mistake; this wasn’t the best hiding place, so me being the mastermind I am, I grabbed my pink rubber gloves from the kitchen, squatted very low and dug the bodies up from the ground. With my recently sharpened machete I diced the bodies into small tangible pieces and placed the body parts in derelict areas around the city!’’
I swear this is what Koreans hear when I tell them ‘I don’t eat meat.’ The words echo like a horror tale. . .
‘’You mean to tell me you don’t eat porkkkk? You don’t eat ham? No hamburgers? But you eat beef right?
진짜? – Really?
Well, I kind of sort of eat meat. I follow a Flexitarian diet. What’s that I hear you ask? Well I mostly eat fish and nibble on chicken when I’m feeling weak. But that’s another story. But for Koreans, there is, for the most part, only one story to tell. Meat is the quintessential heart of Korean life and culture. When going out for meals; whether a work dinner, birthday, lunch or anniversary, you can count on seeing meat hanging on the end of someone’s chopsticks accompanied with buoyant and loud cheerful chews. (No one loves meat more than Koreans as far as I’m concerned)
In one of our usual office conversations I asked my colleagues their feelings towards meat. I went in with the kill for the first question, I asked Iris if she wants to take part in my challenge, of giving up meat, for thirty days, for 10,000,00 million won, roughly £7,000 – don’t ask where I’m getting the money from. Anyway, Iris was so confident with her answer and assertively enunciated ‘Yes, I will have a salad for breakfast’. Rest assure Iris’ boldness was so apparent in the office that the music teacher popped her head over the computer to look up at us, sorry, smirk at us. Then, a dramatic wave hit the room as it dawned on Iris what she just uttered. (Pregnant pause)
‘But chicken salad is good, Rachel. No, this is impossible. I can’t do it. Meat is good for stamina.’
I skipped my planned questions and asked her thoughts on Vegans. Now if this was being recorded, my camera guy would zoom directly into Iris’ face, panning slowly over her eyes, melancholy background music coming to a sudden halt when Iris murmurs ‘I feel sorry for them, but they are animal protectors’.
Teacher Park proudly boasted that her mother declared she should ‘’marry a fisherman’’. ‘Fish is everything to me; the thought of giving up meat makes me angry and very sad. Why would I do that?’ No further questions!
‘’Dog meat is delicious. (진짜?). Dog soup taste great. (진짜?). Many years ago it was very cheap and poor people ate it. Now it’s a little expensive. Dog meat is great for my energy and overall stamina. I need it’. Case closed – I mean come on, if anyone needs protein filled vigour it’s our P.E teacher, Sihyung.
Suwnoo, a close Korean friend of mine, who strongly believes ‘dog meat is more delicious than chicken’, said he will join my no meat challenge, I was thrilled. However, Sunwoo sucked all the energy from me when he barked ‘I will give up meat for 10 minutes, maybe 20 minutes’’. – Anyone got a spare chicken wing; I’m feeling weak. . .
What are your views on meat? Since watching What the Health have you added ‘Vegan’ in your IG bio? Are you a Flex-itarian, ‘Pescatarian, or simply a Meat-Lover-tarian? Whatever the case, it’s fair to say, that we all have our staples in our diet that offer us sources of energy. For the majority of Koreans it’s meat and rice, for some plant based eaters it’s fruit. What’s one food that gives you energy that you can’t live without?
(Competition CLOSED – Congratulations to Tristan and Tonya)
Leave a comment with one of your favourite foods and a food or drink you feel your culture can’t live without for a chance to win TWELVE boxes of Peppero sticks, a favourite Korean snack, sent all the way from South Korea. Competition closes December 30th 2017.
Flavours: Almond, Cookie n Cream, Chocolate, Cheese, Coconut and Green Tea