Why Do I Withhold Pleasure?

Lately I’ve been hankering comfort foods that I had growing up, namely Korean soups that the Grandmother would make when I was growing up. I finally relented and made kimchi stew. Despite knowing how relatively easy it is to make, I had never made it before. After sautéing the pork belly and wilted sour kimchi, adding the water and green onions with the final voila of the tofu, I sat down to taste it. Armed with a bowl of rice, seaweed paper, seasoned bean sprouts, seasoned perilla leaves, I took that first sip. The spicy sourness mixed with the richness of the pork fat and the warmth of the stew just combined to knock all thoughts out of me. I was in heaven.

The memories came pouring back in of sitting at the table with the Grandmother as she brought out the kimchi stew and I was warmed up by it and it was the most nourishing thing ever I could eat it forever. And that happened again right there. Each sip, each bite just brought so much happiness. It certainly wasn’t the sensuality of Proust’s madeleines, but nonetheless it just made me so…

I also decided to make radish soup with beef, a light soup that has a slight sweetness to it that also reminds me of the Grandmother. After seeing how easy it was to make these, I wondered what took me so fucking long to make them.

I remember folding out the table for dinner, the Grandmother heating up the soup and bringing out the rice and side dishes, sitting down at the table and eating away. If my cousins were over, they would also be sitting and eating along with us. There wasn’t anything really profound said, but there is comfort in there.

But here I am some 25 years after the fact having pure joy ooze through me sip after sip of the soups.