Cycle 13 – Item 357
28 (Wed) December 2022
at Chin Chin
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with W and IZ
I turned 50 today. Half century. Right smack at the mid-point of middle age. Doesn’t mean that much to me, either way – as dinner would suggest, I wasn’t in much of a celebratory mood, but neither am I bummed by the big 5-0. Frankly, it’s something of a relief, being officially old.
Summarizing each of the first five decades of my life, with food memories culled from prior posts on GMTD:
(i) 1st Decade (0-9 yrs) (1973-1982): the childhood years, in suburban Northern California – food memories include eating Salisbury Steak in the school cafeteria for lunch (see 9.196 Salisbury Steak), making ramyeon for myself after school (see 8.138 Neoguri), feeling ashamed at seeing my grandmother harvesting acorns from the ground (see 2.299 Dotori Muk Muchim), discovering that eating galchi was no longer worth the effort once my mother stopped deboning the fish for me (see 12.036 Galchi Gui).
(ii) 2nd Decade (10-19 yrs) (1983-1992): the Bildungsroman years, coming of age during the final stage of the “Miracle on the Han River” – food memories include eating an unpeeled apple for lunch on my first day at Korea school (see 1.165 Grilled Milk Chicken), enduring Wendy’s for lunch every day throughout high school at SIS (see 9.347 Dave’s Single), waiting in line for a Big Mac when McDonald’s first opened in Seoul (see 4.178 1988 Burger), learning to use salad dressing as a condiment for sandwiches (see 4.039 Toasted Wheat Bread Sandwich with Turkey & Gruyere in Italian Dressing), consuming gold flakes at the Pakistan Embassy Residence in Seoul (see 3.103 Broast Masala Chicken), taking a girl to dinner for the first time (see 7.175 Chicken Curry), ordering cannelloni to impress that girl (see 13.317 Shrimp Cannelloni), experiencing for the first time the wonders of pairing food and drink at a rock club in NYC (see 8.350 Calamari di Fritti).
(iii) 3rd Decade (20-29 yrs) (1993-2002): the existential years, with lots of studying (not really), lots of partying (really), all over the places – food memories include making lumpia with the (Filipina) mother of my best friend from Columbia University (see 4.340 Pork & Vegetable Lumpia), eating fried chicken after all-night benders at the pool hall in Washington DC (see 13.083 The Meal), learning to appreciate gourmet sandwiches in Berkeley (see 3.043 Sourdough Sandwich à l’Intermezzo), getting held up at gunpoint at a Korean restaurant in Oakland (see 8.144 Pan-Fried Flounder), drinking too much whisky at a work dinner in San Francisco and throwing up on the train home (see 12.362 Lobster, Crassly), hanging out until the wee hours with friends from my favorite bar in Seoul (see 6.250 Guksi).
(iv) 4th Decade (30-39 yrs) (2003-2012): the years of becoming an actual grown-up, getting married and raising a family in Korea – food memories include witnessing A-list actress Kim Hee Sun trying to order raw oysters in April (see 1.110 Toasted BLT), watching my father get my future FIL crazy drunk over the first meeting of the soon-to-be in-laws (see 3.089 Braised Lobster with Chili Sauce), discovering poonim phat phong kari on our honeymoon in Thailand (see 2.340 Poonim Phat Phong Kari), being deprived of Italian food during a trip to Firenze (Florence) because W was pregnant with DJ and she only wanted to eat rice so we kept going to a crappy Chinese restaurant (see 2.107 Steamed Yellow Corvina in Soy-Ginger Sauce), sitting down to yumcha while on a research trip to Boston when receiving word from W in Seoul that her water had broken and DJ was coming out 2 weeks premature (see 3.271 Larb Gai), missing out on bouillabaisse while in Marseilles because W insisted on visiting the Chagall museum (see 1.068 Bouillabaisse), threatening to strangle W over a plate of mandu if she wouldn’t stop bemoaning the news that IZ would be a boy (see 2.294 Deep-Fried Mandu), eating dinner following the birth of IZ at the same restaurant where I’d eaten dinner following the birth of DJ (see 3.092 Udong).
(v) Decade 5 (40-49 yrs) (2013-2022): the career years, working my ass off, in particular at WHO – food memories include everything on the pages of GMTD.
(See also HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)
(See also HANSIK)