13 (Tue) October 2020
Kaori’s Crustless Ham, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (8) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)
While reading the 99 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922 – leading up to the 100th winner to be announced next year – I will also attempt to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book. Food plays a strong role in many of the stories; not surprising as the characters in most of the books are faced with adversity of some sort, including poverty, so they’re often very hungry and thus grateful whenever they get a bite to eat – as we all should be at every meal, give us this day our daily bread. The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.
Hello, Universe (2018) by Erin Entrada Kelly. The book is about Virgil, Valencia, and Kaori and Gen, who develop a close bond through a series of fated/fateful events that occur in their neighborhood.
I loved this book. So outright fun in its plot. So quietly thoughtful in its exploration of character. So subtle yet strong in presenting the modern realities of American diversity, portraying different ethnic backgrounds – Filipino, Spanish(?), Japanese – without ever making an overt point about it. This is what Newbery is all about (or should be).
Lee Jong is a bakery. Specializes in European-style baked goods.
I appreciate that it’s independent, as yet (i.e., not a chain). I appreciate that it’s branded with a Korean name, which projects confidence that the Korean baking industry has a legitimate stake in the field, despite the non-Korean origins. I appreciate that it’s excellent.
Whereas Hello, Universe was written by a Filipina-American and includes a Filipino-American character (Virgil), as well as his grandmother (lola) from the Philippines, I was really hoping for a Pinoy dish, like adobo, but no; several references to mangoes, but no actual prepared food.
[paraphrased in part]
Kaori pulls out a loaf of bread and some cold cuts to make sandwiches. I make a ham sandwich with mustard and nothing else. Gen makes bologna with about five pounds of mayo. Kaori has ham, lettuce, and tomato and cuts off all the crusts.
The sandwich embodies the book’s underlying theme of inclusiveness. Among self-made kid snacks of any ethnicity, the sandwich is the ultimate equalizer, whether PB&J or smoked salmon, whether white or wheat, whether crusts or none. Even 40 years ago, when I was growing up in the States, we made ourselves sandwiches after school every day; unless I was home alone making myself ramyeon (see 8.138 Neoguri Ramyeon), too intense to share with my suburban white friends, though perhaps not for suburban white kids these days.
Last year, while we were still in Manila, I came down one afternoon to see DJ eating Korean ramyeon with his best friend at the time, a Filipino kid. When I asked if it weren’t too spicy for him, he assured me that spicy Korean ramyeon was his favorite thing; his mother later asked us where we buy our Korean groceries.
(See also FOODS.)
(See also PLACES.)