Thrilling Steamed Meat, My Grandmother’s Galbi Jjim

28 Sep

The book Gourmet Club written by Tanizaki, describes in detail the texture and seductive tastes of magical food. He concentrates on Chinese dishes and excludes Japanese foods. Tanizaki engages all his senses when tasting various Chinese dishes; when he comes across a dish he considers immensely exquisite he becomes incredibly thrilled and excited.

My personal magical food involves the admiration of galbi jjim, a Korean dish similar to steamed short ribs in America, which is my grandmother’s recipe. When I was eleven years old, I was very sick due to a heavy cold caught during the fall season. My grandmother worried about me and thought I needed protein as well as food that were both warm and nutritious. While I was taking a nap, some smell made my nostrils flared and caused me to wake up. I tiptoed to the kitchen to observe what my grandmother was cooking. When I first glanced at the galbi jjim, it was a variety of dark-brown colors and looked similar to meat soup.

Usually meat is very hard to chew and can become stuck in one’s teeth; yet, when I tasted this meat for the first time, it was extremely soft and instantaneously dissolved magically in my mouth and the flavors of the meat broth circulated around my nose, mouth and even throat, which thrilled and aroused my whole my body’s senses.

The magic ingredient in my grandmother’s recipe is kiwi. She said if one puts meat and kiwi together, kiwi causes the protein in the meat to soften, which in turn causes the texture of the meat to soften. The steamed short-ribs should be eaten with rice and Kimchi, which is a Korean dish which consists of a variety of vegetables combined with spicy red peppers; a perfectly magical combination. Korea’s staple food of steamed rice is combined with the sweet and sour taste of Kimchi also plays a role enhancing the smooth texture of the meat. Whenever I visit my grandparents, I love to see how my grandmother cooks galbi jjim so that I learn how to imitate her specialized recipes. Just like my grandmother thrilled my senses due to this meal, in the future I hope to be a grandmother who thrills her grandchildren with this magical food.

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