Opium Jacuzzi Hack, Food and Budechige

Last few days haven’t been the very best days. The week began as usual but started shedding its true colors as the days went by. As they say, the stars haven’t really lined up right. For no obvious reason, I feel that I am chained to an elephant who just had a green chilly rubbed in his/her gigantic ass.  I know I can be a huge ass and most people who know me well enough will move their head profusely in agreement but I do feel bad when I disappoint the people whom I adore. My apologies.

What better way to change the mood than to write about a topic that has been a consistent, constant activity that has been going on as far as life began, something that we do almost everyday. We cease to do it and we end up among the stars illuminating nothing but fake heavenly light. That’s right folks, it’s the process of “eating”.

Chickens chillin'
But before we go on to discuss “eating”, we should clarify our very own definition of food. It is greatly astonishing that the definition is, in fact, relative. 

Websters dictionary defines:“material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy” 

That’s a bit too much for me. I did do a small research on how people perceive food and as aforementioned, they had a different take on it. Some regarded food to be something you fill your belly with, some cursed it to increase their belly to embarrassing sizes (that includes a certain nepali as well), some defined it as a past time substance, some thought it to be a stress buster, some explained it’s just needed for sustenance, some thought it to be a good discussion topic, a small portion thought it was useful tool to piss people off. I have absolutely no problem with all of the above and I do agree -to some extent- to what my peers thought. Unfortunately that’s not something I have in mind.

Food for me is something that sparks the senses, something that transports me to a totally different place and time….something that brings back sweet old memories. As I take a bite, my taste buds work diligently enough to knock onto the front door of my brain and say, “hey man, I am looking for this flavor that just got registered as Aw293. Would you mind looking back into memory lane and check for this flavor out for me? And don’t forget to take our boss for a ride. Much appreciated.” If you remember that pointy, nosy, irritating food critic Anton Ego from the animation Ratatouille where he gets transported back to his mom’s dinning table, that’s the exact thing I would want to define food to be. here’s the clip.

Which leads us to….eating. Now eating is a simple process of putting the food that’s in front of you inside your mouth and eventually into your digestive tract. It comes as naturally as walking meaning that the brain automatically switches the “autopilot” button when we do so. Of course, it becomes a lot more difficult when the medium through which you put that food in, somehow, abruptly changes. Oh dear.

Using chopsticks for the very first time for my very first meal in Korea was utterly, bitterly painful. A smoked Mackerel was served with lemon and a bowl of sticky rice with a pair of chopsticks. Half an hour on the clock and not a thing swallowed. I look down at the fish, the fish’s dead eyes stares up in disgust as I struggle with the pair of stainless steel sticks. Fortunately though, seeing my fruitless struggle, a newly met friend of mine brought in a fork which eased the tension clearly visible to any naïve outside observer.

I have never quite been a good eater. The moment the foods on the table, i eat the very same way my dog eats his meat. I often hear complaints, mostly from da that the way I eat is just ridiculous. Last time he was teasing me that if he made a ball made of paper and wrote “momo” on it, I would adeptly steal it from his clutches and swallow it without even thinking.*yak* I mean, who likes the flavor of blue ink?

I wasn’t like that before. Fast rewind about two decades earlier and my aunt-Nu-was running around the house trying to spoon feed me while gome dai was busy taking my weight and going around in circles too. It seemed that the only way to feed me was to bring a whole damn circus and park it right front of our house and let the show begin. While an elephant rides a bicycle on a tight rope, I would open my mouth in delight and SHOVEE! The spoon gets to go in. what a pain in the ass. No wonder I have no siblings, one was just.too.much. *read the last three words reeallll slow*

The blog itself has been a place to randomly place my thoughts about anything that would like to write on. It has, like all of us, changed with time. It is nothing like the one I started with, goes way out of topic almost all the time. I like that. I hate constraints, and putting limits to what I have to write is just bollocks.

In this blog post though, there’s nothing but food and eating. That leads us to the topic of Budechige (Army base Soup).

The Korean war that eventually divided the Korean people and their families with one of the most dangerous, militarized political boarders in the world is an event that will surely be a remembered for ages to come. What the south has managed to achieve since then is just simply mind bogging. A technological hub with an impeccable literacy rate, Korea is catching up fast with other global players. Real fast. The pace of development and prosperity is remarkable considering it was poorer than Nepal in the 70’s.

During the war, food was scarce. The usual comfort food was nowhere to be seen and Koreans started to improvise on what they had. Dogs were now a source of meat. Tree barks were now in soups. In this way, a soup was made from the food remains courtesy of garbage bins near American Army troop bases. Later it was called the budechige. 

American troops fighting in the Korean peninsula had little trouble with getting additional food supplies. Sausages to salamis, they had the luxury to throw some away. Koreans took this opportunity to gather what was left, add onions to Korean spinach to whatever was available and cook a broth that would help them get through hunger. More than half a century on and the food still consists of the very same ingredients that their forefathers used. As I take a sip out of my spoon dipped inside the budechige, I get reminded of all the pain and suffering that the people must have gone through, all the harsh days fighting both hunger and foe to keep themselves alive and kicking.

The broth itself tastes much similar to the spicy thai TomYum, although I admit I only had the nepali version of it. The sticky rice placates the senses allowing more to be shoved in. The smell is equally welcoming. With plethora of other side dishes to choose from, the whole meal transcends expectations and does justice to its history.

Got a bit emotional there.  That should do it for now. I am currently looking ways to prevent halal post or delete any further blog post as he somehow got a way through to administer the blog. He did warn me before and I thought he was completely bull-shit-ing until he made his word look real good. He refuses to tell me how he did it so screw him. *Happy Ramadan btw, I will be eating your fav. icecream right in front of you tomorrow. Take that sucker!*

And if you haven’t yet watched the dark knight rises, you should. It’s worth every penny. The twist at the end is just amazing.


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