Cycle 5 – Item 216
9 (Sat) August 2014
Lobster Two Ways
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
Home Visit 6: To Celebrate Father + FIL’s 70th Birthdays (Day 1)
In modern Korean culture, the 70th birthday is a big deal. It used to be the 60th, back when attaining such a ripe old age was a milestone worth celebrating. But now that the average life expectancy is about 82, the emphasis has shifted to the 70th, maybe even to the 80th. I suspect, however, that everyone’s implicitly agreed to keep it at 70 because, let’s be honest, nobody’s going to have much fun at a party where the guest of honor is 80. Traditionally, the event is a huge feast with extended family and surviving friends in attendance, sometimes with tributes and musical performances and group photos, etc., kinda like a wedding. These days, the celebrations tend to quieter affairs, just an intimate dinner in a nice restaurant with close family.
My father and father-in-law were both born in 1945, so we had to arrange for two 70th birthdays this year. By real counting, this would make them 69 in 2014, but by fake Korean reckoning, which adds a year to everyone’s age, they turn 70. Due to various logistical issues, the only time that we could celebrate both, reasonably within the actual days, was this weekend, back-to-back.
For FIL’s lunch today, the venue was Yongsusan, where we’d also celebrated Mo’s 1st birthday.
FIL prefers lunch, particularly for special occasions that involve a lot of food, because he has a general aversion to eating a lot in the evening (just before going to bed), which explains why very few posts on the blog feature the in-laws.
The food was good as ever.
Happy birthday, FIL!
Later that evening, while grocery shopping at E-Mart, we encountered a liquidation sale on lobsters, just 10,800 won each, each weighing around 1.5 kg, so we bought 6, even though seafood on clearance is rarely a good idea.
Piled high in the tanks, the catch was that the lobsters were on their last legs, some not even moving, possibly dead, so that the lady had to go through and toss out several (she said that they’d be steamed on the premises and sold at a further reduction) before finding 6 that I was willing to take.
No idea what to do, I started by steaming them.
Once cooked, I chopped the tails into pieces and served them with clarified butter.
With the claws and body meat, I made spaghetti.
The lobsters were edible, though I found the experience somewhat disappointing overall. I was quite tired after all the prep. Nevertheless, I enjoyed cooking an impromptu meal for the family. Made me feel at home.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)