Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strangers and Elders

So, in one month, my sister Sang Hyun will be visiting NY/and the US for the first time....for a whole month. As promised, I will be posting a regular Korean primer for her imminent arrival.

There are no difficult tonal or glottal sounds to worry about in the Korean language. If you see a as the second letter (as in Hyun), it is pronounced like the y in you not like the vowels i or e. So Hyun is pronounced like "yun" with the "h" sound prefacing it. 

As you may already know from various ethnic (and offensive!) jokes, there is no r or l in Korean, but rather a letter somewhere in between. The tongue is not quite as curled back as for an r, but not on the tongue either, like for an l. It can sometimes sound like "d."

Okay anyway, so here are some words. 

Small chat.
An-yang-ha-seh-yo hello (ha-say-yo is the formal ending used
for strangers and elders)

Peg-oh-pah-yo? Are you hungry? Pretty much the first 
question Koreans ask when you enter their 
home/meet you. Always appropriate to ask.

Peg-oh-pah-yo. I am hungry. (Changing the intonation 
makes a question a statement—like English).

Mah-shi-ssuh-yo?/. Is it delicious?/It is delicious.

____jju-seh-yo. Give me___ (polite way for request.)
Mek-chu jju-seh-yo.  Give me a beer (polite).

____iss-suh-yo?/. Do you have___?/I (we) have___.
Kimchee iss-suh-yo?/. Do you have kimchee?/We have kimchee.

Cho-ah-yo. I like it.

cho-gum a little
Cho-gum peg-oh-pah-yo. I am a little hungry.

mah-nee a lot/many/very
Mah-nee peg-oh-pah-yo. I am very hungry.

Koreans always ask how old you are. It will probably be the second thing they ask you after "are you hungry." Oh yeah, since the language is very hierarchy-based, this kinda makes sense. In which case, most of you, my friends, will only really need to count to 30ish.

Also, Koreans use Korean and Chinese numbers. Korean for hours and ages, Chinese for minutes, months, money. I don't know why.

Noh-nun, myuh-sal-ee-nun?  How old are you? (Literally: You, how many years have?) 
Na-nun ___sal im-ni-da. I am ____years old (polite).

1 hana
2 tul (like "tool" but shorter vowel)
set (soft "t," like "seh")
4 net (soft "t," like "neh")
6 yoh-sol
7 il-gohp
8 yoh-dohl
9 a-hope
10 yol
11 yol-hana
20 suh-mul (like mool, but shorter)
30 soh-run
33 soh-run set
39 soh-run a-hope
40  ma-hun
50 swin
60 yeh-sun
70 ee-run
80 yo-dun
90 a-hun
100 bek

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da!  Thank you!

And if anyone knows how to create columns in this thing, let me know!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What Is Wrong With Kids Today?

Fire on Newel. Bright spot on left is the truck on fire. Fire truck lights to the right. You can see plume of smoke in top photo.

First the warning, don't walk down there, there's a fire. Just barely visible, I hadn't even noticed right away. The warner's phone was failing her, and her apartment was right there, so I made the call to 911. Fire on Newel, between Nassau and Norman. It's visible, believe me you don't need an address. Ohmigod....(As something explodes, and the fire engulfs the truck.)

My dog was with me. So left him tied to a railing. Ran up for closer inspection. A red truck, and underneath, a mattress on fire. Quickly gaining. In another second, and internal explosions could be heard, grey smoke plumed like a factory smokestack.

I ran up to one building, rang the bells, pounded on doors. Eventually I remembered I had a voice and timidly at first, yelling fire, I woke the slumbering neighbors, now in their barest sleeping clothes. That's what you do, you yell fire. But I'd almost forgotten.

I wanted to watch and see, would anything else happen. But I had the dog, and his safety was a concern, but only because someone else and their dog thought of it first. I hurried home with smoke in my lungs and clinging to my hair. All along wondering, The fuck is wrong with kids today?

This is Kate Bryant, reporting live from Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Take-Out City

I'm not sure what the actual figures are for the take-out waste the city produces, but there are approximately 10 million people living in New York. Let's say just a quarter of those people have full time jobs that require them to work off site (not from home). And from my experience working in offices, usually 75 to 98 percent of my coworkers bought their lunch daily. But for our purposes, let's say 50 percent of those 250,000 get take out. That means we'd generate waste upwards of 125,000 take-out containers, forks, spoons, chopsticks, and plastic and/or paper bags in a single day. And how many of those folks also get a coffee and roll in the morning? A midday iced coffee?

Sure you can reuse your containers, but considering recent reports of toxicity levels in plastics, who really wants to do that? So the only real solution would be to not use those take-out containers in the first place.

I've often wondered if there was some way to create reusable universal containers that every restaurant would use. Universal sushi bento boxes, universal noodle bowls, universal pizza boxes—you get the picture—with the idea that you could return said container to any participating restaurant. Alternately, they would come pick it up the next time you got a delivery.

I remember getting chajangmyun delivered in Korea several years ago. The delivery guy would pull up on his bicycle or moped with a very utilitarian metal case strapped to the back. From within, he would haul out our noodles and sauces and panchan all wrapped in plastic or metal bowls. A generous couple hours later, he would return to collect the dishes. Like room service, but on a much bigger, better, cheaper scale.

Okay, now you're going to say something about the gas consumed for the two round trips? Well, then, I guess you could always go pick it up, then drop it back off later. Of course, I doubt they still deliver the old-fashioned way now anyway.

Houdini Strikes!

the dog who ate everything
Gazooks! Someone broke into the kitchen. How did he did do it?? Secret surveillance camera shall be hooked up tonight.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


beef, blueberries, grated squash, brown rice, cooked Swiss chard

Monday, July 7, 2008

A CSA Journal Entry

Saturday was the second pick-up from my CSA farm share and my first (and only) volunteer shift. (I split a half share with a friend which we collect every other week—although next year, I'm thinking it wouldn't be so bad to split a full share.)

This week's vegetable selection included two kinds of beets, summer squash, zucchini, kohlrabi, swiss chard (basically a top-heavy beet turns out!), mescaline mix, and arugula. Fruit included a quart of cherries, and a pint of plump little blueberries.

I also get an egg share (dozen every other week) and a flower share. I chose a bouquet of snapdragons and Sweet Williams. During the shift, I also picked up some knowledge on some other flowers I hadn't known the names of before. There were alyssum and the aforementioned Sweet Williams, as well as names I'd forgotten: cosmos, Queen Anne's lace, thistle, zinnia and black-eyed susans. Also cornflower, mums and wild grasses.

The challenge with a regular order of produce, of course, is to use it all before it spoils—which I didn't do as good a job last pick-up and ended with a quart of rotten strawberries and a sad, wilted rhubarb. So naturally I was determined to do some serious prep work at the beginning of this week.

Saturday afternoon, I trimmed, rinsed and packed all the greens. The berries looked like they would last as they were, so I just rinsed them to eat raw through the week. And I shopped and prepped around the ingredients I had. Over the past couple of days I picked up some sweet potatoes, pecans, sour cream, mint, a whole organic chicken, a hormone-free, vegetarian feed steak (the only option at the Greenpoint Met); and also cooked up a half bag of Rancho Gordo heirloom beans (which yielded maybe 3 or 4 cups).

Saturday was dinner at Wendy's. I made bean pâté with about a 1.5 cups of the beans. I fried up half an onion, chopped finely, half a pepper (which I inadvertently ended up macing myself with :( ), minced garlic, some salt, paprika, and black pepper. Then threw everything in a food processor. I used some of the reserve bean liquid to thin the paste, but it ended up being too watery, so threw in some chopped almonds Wendy had left over from making crumble topping. Came out pretty awesome and was even better on day two, with avocado.

Sunday, I separated the chicken parts, a leg, wing and breast meat for my dog Arlo. And made teriyaki chicken with the remaining limbs. I browned the chicken on medium high heat. Reduced temp to medium for glaze: equal parts tamari, mirin (I used half honey, half water), a spoonful of brown sugar, a couple drops of whiskey and waited for it get briskly bubbly. I returned the chicken to the pan and at the end also threw in some kale I had lying around. (And removed the livers and froze the leftover chicken carcass.) Served it with brown rice, beans, sweet potato. (Arlo had pretty much the same meal, less the teriyaki and oil). With luckily enough left over for lunch today.

Today, I started the brown rice as soon as I got home so it could cook while I walked Arlo. Then upon return, I scrubbed some sweet potatoes (lately the basis of Arlo's meals) and the beets (already trimmed the greens Saturday, remember?). I also started some garlic and onions cooking in a stockpot to make chicken stock from the chicken carcass. With the roots in the oven, and the chicken now browning, I sautéed some more onions in a separate pan for the chicken livers. Once the stock meat started browning, I added water, a few whole allspice, peppercorns, bay leaf, and maybe a quarter cup salt. After half an hour or so, I added all the leafy CSA cooking greens (Swiss chard and beet greens) which would add flavor to the stock as they cooked. And squash right at the end.

By this time, the livers were done, so I tossed them along with the garlic and onions in the food processor with a little sour cream. Didn't yield a ton from just a couple of livers, but enough for a quick snack tomorrow.

I also flash-broiled some of the beef for Arlo's dinner, and cut off a piece to marinate for tomorrow in some tamari, red wine vinegar (lacking rice wine), molasses, onions, garlic, miso and whiskey. Not sure how it'll taste, but I'll keep you posted!

Once the stock finished, I picked off the last bits of chicken—enough for a supermodel-sized taco, and will eventually strain and fill up a couple ice trays with it once it cools.

Total cooking time: 2.5 hours. Not bad for preparing two meals (four if you count Arlo's) and prepping for several more. Dinner was rice, greens, bean pâté, arugula. Arlo had half the beef, rice, whole beans, sweet potato, avocado and actually a few of the greens too.
(Total writing time, however, 45 minutes—not nearly as efficient.)

Tomorrow's lunch is greens, beets (to which I'll add sour cream and mint), sweet potatoes with butter and pecans, and rice.

Arlo has breakfast and dinner for tomorrow, and my steak will be ready to go tomorrow night—with a side of mescaline green, cherry tomato and arugula in a lemon-miso dressing (lemon, miso, honey, tamari).

Shew, ready for bed now.