12.360 Roasted Mutton Ribs

Cycle 12 – Item 360

31 (Fri) December 2021

Roasted Mutton Ribs

3.5

by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family, LHS

Newbery 100 Medals, 100 Meals (71) (see 100 NEWBERY M&Ms)

While reading the 100 books that have been awarded the annual Newbery Medal since 1922, I am attempting to create one dish for every book, a dish that is directly referenced in or indirectly inspired by the events of the book.  The dishes will be featured as posts on Give Me This Day.

Waterless Mountain (1932) by Laura Adams Armer.  The book is about Younger Brother, a Navaho boy who wishes to become a medicine man.

I didn’t like it.  Frankly, I didn’t really read it, just kinda skimmed the pages.  Every chapter was yet another hokey ceremony that takes the boy a step closer to his goal, or another corny encounter that imparts a life lesson upon him, but I never sensed a cohesive narrative or a compelling character arc.  I stuck through it to the end in hopes of finding a food reference to inspire GMTD’s first post on American Indian food, but nothing.

The only direct mention of food is found on page one, paragraph two.

Younger Brother was hungry.  Already he could smell the coffee and the roasted mutton ribs that mother was preparing inside the round mud house called the hogan.

Yet another Newbery Medal winner about brown people written by a white author.  The book cover describes Armer as “an authority on Native American life and lore.”  According to Wikipedia, Laura Adams Armer was a photographer who spent some time in the Southwest documenting Navaho people.  Waterless Mountain would thus seem to be a fictionalization of various cultural elements that the author had observed.  In fairness, the characterizations in the book aren’t overtly offensive, although the white characters are portrayed as saviors.  Funny (or not so funny), the Wikipedia page shows her restoring what appears to be an ancient Egyptian wall painting, and features a photograph that she took of a Chinese guy – so apparently she made a career of appropriating brown people as artistic subjects.

Breakthrough: I sprinkled a tiny bit of sugar on the meat, which seared quicker and darker – alas, I might never make use of this trick again.

LHS dropped by again (see most recently 12.340 Köttbullar in Truffle Gravy), neither of us going out to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Though I don’t eat meat these days, LHS loves lamb, so I took advantage of the opportunity to cross Waterless Mountain off the Newbery M&M project.  I was reminded of that time (10 years ago!) LHS was filmed eating my lamb chops for a TV segment on camping culture – so funny (see 2.087 Grilled Lamb Chops).

As per my lamb SOP, I paired the ribs with curry sauce – Indian, get it? – plus sour cream and cilantro.

I’m getting really good at this.

In the 7 years that GMTD has been hosted on WordPress, I hadn’t once looked at the stats, but a recent comment by reader GK prompted me to take look.  I found a few interesting numbers.

  • In 2015, when GMTD moved to this platform (my second year of living in the Philippines): 16,452 views by 1,994 visitors (8.25 views per visitor).  Top five countries (by views): USA (7,098), Korea (4,131), Philippines (1,922), Canada (1,631), Australia (755).  42 countries/areas total.
  • In 2018, when GMTD was on unofficial hiatus: 2,540 views by 1,233 visitors (2.06 views per visitor).  Top five countries (by views): Philippines (663), USA (553), Canada (488), Korea (207), Malaysia (66).  62 countries/areas total.
  • In 2019, when GMTD rebooted: 16,092 views by 3,269 visitors (4.92 views per visitor).  Top five countries (by views: Philippines (5,770), Canada (5,144), USA (2,036), Korea (1,461), India (440).  72 countries/areas total.
  • In 2021, when GMTD achieved full unification of all cycles (1-12) (back in Korea since June 2020): 21,212 views by 10,113 visitors (2.10 views per visitor).  Top five countries (by views): Philippines (4,695), Canada (3,536), Sweden (2,691), USA (2,626), Korea (2,303).  Top ninth and tenth countries: India (437), China (260).  101 countries/areas total.
  • From 2015-2021, top five countries (by views): USA (23,310), Philippines (20,882), Canada (18,152), Korea (12,472), Sweden (2,782).

First, I am astounded by the record number of views this year, breaking the 2015 mark by almost 5,000.  Also visitors, more than 5 times the number in 2015.  From the lack of reader comments, except GK, I had assumed nobody was reading, but perhaps I was wrong.   However, I am cautious not to assume too much, as many of the “likes” are registered by user IDs that sound suspiciously like bots.  

While obvious, the dip in 2018 followed by the surge in 2019 shows that views are driven by active posting.  Even with thousands of back posts, they won’t get read unless updates are given in the present.

I don’t know how to interpret the declining views per visitor, 8.25 in 2015 vs 2.10 in 2021.  It would seem to suggest that readers in the past were more engaged to stay and explore, while readers nowadays get in and out quick – which would seem to be a bad thing.  The content, structure, and tone of GMTD has always remained pretty consistent, as far as I can tell, so I can’t see why the level of engagement would change.

I am happy to see that the Philippines remains my highest demographic, even though we moved back to Korea a year and a half ago.

I wonder how many of a given country’s views in a given year can typically be attributed to a given individual (e.g., how many of Canada’s 3,536 views in 2021 were by reader NH)?

I am assuming that most of the views from Sweden (2,691) in 2021 are attributable to GK, which would mean that he read GMTD more than my entire audiences from USA (2,626) or Korea (2,303).

Funny, though, that Sweden has a total of 2,782 views across 7 years, which means that GK (or some other Swede) checked in only 91 times prior to 2021.

I am disappointed by the poor showing from India and China, a combined population of 2.8 billion people, but just 697 combined views.

Curiously, India had 440 views in 2019 and a very similar 437 views in 2021 – coincidence or the same person(s)?

Whereas has always been written from a Korean-American perspective (because that’s my personal background), I am glad to see that USA ranks 1st in all-time views.

But I’m kinda sad that Korea ranks only 4th in all-time views, given that GMTD was launched in Korea, and mostly takes place in Korea (even though 6.5 of 12 cycles were based in the Philippines), and a lot of the posts are about Korean food.

I am very gratified that the total number of countries/areas continues to increase, now topping 100.  European Union is one of them (how would a hit register as coming from the EU rather than a specific country therein?).  I would love to get Vatican City.  And North Korea.

(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)

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