Before I git into the stuff that tickles my short attention span, I’ve been getting a lotta random hollers on our Twitter feed, something akin to: “Why no more Hawthorne??”, “No more Whittier?”, and “You used to roll to El Segundo!! WHY DON’T YOU LOVE US ANYMORE???”
And the answer is that we love ALL OF YOU. Some, more equally than others, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. ^___^
But the truth of the matter is, if we roll up and y’all stop coming out, we’re going to travel elsewhere to feed some other peoples who’ve been asking us to stop by for a while. That’s all. Daddy’s not mad at you. Mommy still loves you. You just stopped coming to the dinner table is all — WHICH IS TOTALLY COOL. I love-love-LOVE my In-N-Out burger as much as the next person, but I won’t touch the stuff when it’s below 60 degrees outside. Just like I love-love-LOVE a hot, steaming, crusty bread bowl of clam chowder — but I’m not in the mood when it’s a hair above 65.
We get it. We still love you. And we’ll come back. IF YOU GIVE US A HOLLER. And preferably in the comments section of this blog. TO KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED and to keep track of which hood’s the most passionate this time of year. We’ll COME BACK — as long as we haven’t been threatened more than 3 times by the police or city officials.
In other news, IT’S FRIGGIN COLD!!! And I say this as the sun is blazing outside my window. Now my brain’s like… it’s… cold? No, no, but in general, it’s MUCH colder than usual. MUCH. The fact that I was shivering in my apartment while wearing 3 sweaters and 2 pairs of socks is testament enough. Last night? 2 comforters and 1 fleece blanket. For the city of Los Angeles and myself, that is COLD, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s times like these that make me wish I had invested in a Snuggie. It would make typing and the concomitant shivering so much easier. At this point, I’m taking minor breaks to stick my icy fingers underneath my thickly sweater-ed armpits, namely the fingers on my right hand. Do y’all notice that one hand tends to get colder than the other when typing or operating heavy machinery? <– sorry, that was almost Twitter/inane-status-update-worthy.
Anyway, it’s times like these that my guts start craving simple, warm comfort foods. Like THESE.
Milky, bone-white soups made from valiant cows who had not died in vain. Ddeok and mandoo gook. Gook. YEAH, I said it.
Irony is, I detested Korean food growing up. It was just, ya know, whatever. Peasant food before Asian peasant food was chic. But I guess as we grow older, that cultural DNA that informs our childhood also informs all the foods we holler back to, crawling back on our hands and knees like the prodigal children we are, begging to be taken into the fold.
Whatever Korean food I do know how to cook, my mom didn’t really teach me. 99.9% of all I know hath cometh from the interwebs. The one thing she did kinda/sorta teach me over the phone, is what’s simmering away at the stove right now.
OXTAIL SOUP. Ggorigomtang. THE KING OF ALL TANGS. (pronounced ‘tahng’)
A lot of non-Koreans and some KAs think that Korean beef-bone-based soups are BLAND, but I don’t think that’s true.
For something to taste bland, it has to taste invisible to the tongue, the throat, the mouth.
To me, beef-bone-based soups (the Korean kind) taste amazingly rich with collagen, marrow and the more subtle side of beef. And it’s a skill to get it opaque and white, or at least cream-colored. As it stands, my oxtail soups turn into a creamy brown for the most part. My ma tells me I need to let the bones sit overnight in water so that all the blood bleeds out, which is what’s turning everything brown, brown, BROWN.
I listen to my ma, I even rinsed the tails twice, but it’s already turning…well, less brown, but still brown.
In any case, if you know what it is that you’re tasting for, any of the beef-based tangs (sullungtang, gomtang, galbitang, etc.), will supremely HIT THE SPOT on a cold, Los Angeles day. And by cold, I mean below 70 degrees. (I am SO glad I don’t live in NYC no more!) And if you’re trying it for the first time in a Korean restaurant — REMEMBER TO ADD SALT! It usually comes to the table unsalted or under-salted.
But it’s NOT BLAND. If I wanted bland, I would’ve made cornstarch soup and chased it down with a glass of tepid water.
Y’all can add a crap-ton of green onion slices (like me!), but normally it doesn’t come with much else other than salt and pepper. Maybe minced garlic. And accompanied by kimchi. But not too much. Not if you really want to enjoy the creaminess of the collagen and melted cartilage, the true taste of beef’s soul, what’s stored deep down inside every bone to the marrow.
I think that sometimes our taste buds are so inundated with bold, intense, colorful flavors (^__^ that would be Kogi! And Chego!) that our tongues forget or misplace how to enjoy simple foods made with very little fanfare and a lot of soul.
Think of your tongue as an triathlete. Speed and agility are great. Coupled with strength and stamina, they’re even greater.
RANDOM: I once considered dropping the use of metaphors after a few people complained that they just wanted simple information. But then I came across a few articles and studies that indicated that idiots, psychopaths/serial killers and pathological maniacs have difficulty or the inability to comprehend metaphors. END RANDOM THOUGHT.
ENJOY BONE SOUPS!!
Non sequiturs aside, if any of y’all have any advice in how to get up out of bed these days when it’s warm and snuggly on the inside of your covers and unforgivingly cold and shivery outside, let me know. And suggestions of getting a portable space heater is cheating!
ALSO — let me know if you want us to revisit your hood. Just scream hysterically — a la a Justin Bieber fan — “COME BACK TO GARDENA. WHOOO! I LOVE YOU PAPI CHULO! ::sob:: I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. You just don’t understand. ::sob:: LET ME MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND. ::whispers:: We could be so happy…” — and we’ll make sure to include it on our scheduled roster. Unless we aren’t legally allowed to do so anymore. :)
Love, tacos and bone soups,
P.P.S. HA. HA. The doggies must be so embarrassed! I WOULD BE.