3.185 Baeksuk

Cycle 3 – Item 185

8 (Sun) July 2012



by YYH et al.

at the Cabin

-Changchon, Seowon, Hoengseong, Gangwon, Republic of Korea-

with W and DJ, MtG, AHY + KIT, CJH + KKH, CSW, HWS, LHS + YYH, KJA and family

CBD 2nd Anniversary: Day 2 of 2

To celebrate the 2nd anniversary of our camping group, we elected not to camp out but assembled on the grounds of my family’s new cabin.  Given the ever-growing popularity of camping in Korea these days, and this being the peak of the summer vacation season, the thought of mingling with the teeming masses at a commercial campsite was unbearable.  And backpacking wasn’t an option because the families were involved.  The cabin, offering all the comforts of home plus the tranquility of the countryside, all to ourselves, including an adjacent stream flush with a week’s worth of heavy monsoon rainfall, was an ideal destination.

The menfolk enjoying beers in the shade.

We had a late lunch.

The original plan had been to eat a quick brunch, clean up, maybe splash around in the stream for a few minutes, and go home.  But then, someone noticed the custom-made, wood-fired kettle stove on my uncle’s adjoining property and suggested that we cook up some baeksuk, which is precisely what the stove was put there for.  As soon as I’d given the go-ahead, one team drove off in search of chickens, another team gathered wood and started a fire, while another team took care of prep work in the kitchen – that’s coordination.  The chicken acquisition team encountered difficulties accomplishing their objective: most stores in the countryside are rarely open on Sundays, and even if open they’re unlikely to carry chicken, but they returned in triumph over 2 hours later – that’s dedication.

My uncle’s backyard, as seen from our property above.
Trying to start a fire in the mid-afternoon sun was painful, literally.
The stove is crudely constructed with concrete, the 50-liter kettle found at any restaurant supply store, the wood left-over from the construction of our cabin and stored in huge piles for this very purpose.
The fire provided a constant, intensely roiling boil that cooked the chicken quickly to preserve the moisture in the meat and the integrity of the flesh – or so the theory goes.
Aromatics included salt, whole peppercorns, garlic cloves, ginseng, jujubes, wood chips, which are discarded.
In the remaining broth, rice and buchu were added to make porridge.

After an hour of cooking, we were eating.  First the chicken, awesome.  Then the porridge, awesome.  A lot of beer and soju in between.  It was the best mid-afternoon meal in my life.

Food tastes better in a gazebo, next to a gurgling stream.
Porridge, in a paper cup, why not.



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