Thursday, May 29, 2008

Num-nums

I try to avoid telling stories about Korean food for two reasons. The first is that because it's an entirely different culture. It's only natural to assume that all the food here is not the same as in the states. "They don't eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches here." "Well, no shit, Kevin." The second reason is that because everything is so different, there has never been one food that really stood out as being the weirdest shit I've ever eaten. I mean, I have octopus about four times a week (chewy!) and drink things like sweet potato lattes (gross!), so it's hard to pick out an amusing anecdote from something I do so often...until now. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the most atrocious, unholy contamination of American food to-date: An egg sandwich with ketchup, strawberry jam and mayonaise. It was a present, made especially for me. I had to turn to one of my friends and ask, "Is this a prank? Is he joking me?" To my horror, they were being completely serious.

From time to time, I get asked questions that I don't really know the answer to. I'm expected to be the voice of all of America, which is tricky, because America is such a big country. For instance, I got asked the other day what we call our fathers, and there's not really an easy answer to that question when you think about it. I had to explain to a classroom of sixth graders that when speaking in the third person, we say "my father". When speaking in the second person, it depends on what region of the country you live in, so it could be "Paw" or "Poppa", or "Dad", or "Pop" or "Pops". It gets even more confusing when you take into account that Illinois is something of a linguistical anomaly, considering that we border and contain just about every dialect in the entire nation, save for a few like, Appalachian, Hawaiin, Bostonian and Pennsylvanian Dutch. English is hard.

Anyway, the point is that from time to time, from now on, I need feedback on certain things about America that one man cannot answer by his lonesome. For instance, I got asked the other day what age Americans get married at. I said that, at best, ages 25-35, with the 25-30 range being slightly better than the 30-35 range, but to be honest, I don't know. So what does everyone else think?

Another one I had was the issue of what time we eat. I haphazardly mentioned to one of my friends that Koreans eat lunch around 12:30 and never earlier, and I thought that was a bit late. He asked me what time we ate, and I said that 11:00 - 12:00 was a good time to start lunch, 6:00 - 7:00 for breakfast, and 5:00 - 6:00 for dinner. I also tried explaining brunch, with very little success. "It's not quite breakfast and it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end." I laughed to myself and everyone just stared at me. They also thought I was out of my mind with the "My hovercraft is full of eels" joke. But anyway, what time does everyone think is a good time to eat?
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