Cycle 12 – Item 166
20 (Sun) June 2021
An Entire Medium-Rare Juicy Delicious Sirloin Steak
-Hannam, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and IZ, Dad
On Friday, my mother had surgery to repair a torn muscle in her shoulder. She’ll be in the hospital until Tuesday. Whenever my mother is incapacitated in some way, the biggest issue on everyone’s mind is who will feed my father.
Tonight, we took him to his favorite Italian restaurant.
When it comes to picking up the tab at a restaurant, the deal with W is that she’ll pay when the establishment is Korean, including Korean-Chinese places and Koreanized Japanese places (i.e., if they serve kimchi or chogochujang or maeun tang), and I’ll pay for anything else. Because this is Korea, and we live in Wirye, where Korean restaurants dominate, and because W prefers Korean food by default, she tends to pay more often – since we returned to Korea in June 2020, I’ve paid for less than 10 dinners, even fewer lunches. I’d proposed the deal not to save money but to incentivize her to eat international food more often.
I have the same deal with my father. But because he prefers international food, and we have lunch together at work every other day, I tend to pay more often.
As a family, we tend to share food, at home and at restaurants.
On this occasion, however, I declared that I would not be sharing with anyone. I also declared that IZ would not be allowed to share. Last time, I had ordered the squid; by the time everyone had their share, I was left with a single piece of squid and a few greens, and I was sad. IZ had ordered a scallop appetizer, which came with 3, but his mother and brother took 1 and split it, and his grandfather and grandmother took 1 and split it – I didn’t take any – so he was only left with 1, and he was sad. We were “traded” other items in exchange, none of which we had wanted in the first place. So this time, my father and I were in the mood for steak. My father said, “2 steaks is a lot, and they’re expensive, so let’s get 1 and share.” I said, “No, because if we get 1, you’re going to want the tenderloin and have it overcooked to well-done. I don’t want half of a well-done dry flavorless tenderloin. I want an entire medium-rare juicy delicious sirloin. The check’s on me, and I am happy to pay for everyone to get exactly and fully and only what they want.” He ended up taking a piece of my squid. IZ got to enjoy all 3 of his scallops.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)