Grandma's Kitchen

We took off our shoes and entered the Master's mother's kitchen/dining area. Grandma was preparing dinner. The Master's wife spelled her so she could come receive a bow from me. I had only met her once before--briefly in 1997--but she welcomed me and my awkward bow as if I were her own son. She presented with me with a small gift that I still have: I presented her with a box of Orion Choco Pies. Truth be told they were for me, but one can't show up empty handed when one returns home for Chuseok, now can one? Dinner was standard fare: a soup, some kimchi, and white rice with purple beans. The four of us sat on the floor of the kitchen around a small table. The kitchen was small; while seated at the table the refrigerator was in arm's reach, as was the rice cooker, the microwave, and the sink. A couple of feet away was the step up into Grandma's sleeping (and TV watching) area.

It wasn't the cleanest Korean kitchen I have ever seen. Certainly Grandma had not been down on her knees with a rag wiping up all the dirt in a while. Dust bunnies were common, and wherever there was not any socked-foot-traffic, dust was visible. [Now why do you even need to mention that? What's you point? I don't know. Why not just cover the top 3 bullet points about that kitchen and leave it at that?] OK, good advice.

Here are the top 3 bullets in no particular order:

1. 후라이 다운. For the hangeul-impaired that reads "Hoo-ra-ee Da-oon." Clearly from the name it should be obvious, but the context of being there and seeing it helps understand what it is. It is a sheet of super sticky fly attractant paper sitting on the kitchen floor by the rice cooker. It is covered with flies that had been duped into landed there. Some still struggled to free themselves back into flight, but many had long since given up the battle. Secretly Jeff Goldblum is turning over in his grave somewhere just thinking about it. Fly Down.

2. 쥐러브. For the hangeul-impaired that reads "Mouse Love." Again, if the name doesn't clearly say it all I am not sure how to help. But let me offer this: a super sticky mouse-inviting tunnel that opens wide and narrows down to nothing. Some tempting yummables await the unsuspecting mouse who enters and progresses inward. Alas it is but a tease. The poor creature gets completely mired before enjoying the treats and dies slowly unable to put it in reverse. Just thinking about dying like that gives me cold sweats and anxiety attacks that keep me up at night. Mouse Love.

3. Soju shelf. Three cheers for Soju shelf. Floor to ceiling Soju shelf. Maybe 1 meter wide by 2.5 meters high. Stocked with nothing but glass jars of all shapes and sizes. Each jar was filled with clear liquid. Each jar also had some variety of fruit in it. A massive selection of fruit-flavored Sojus certain to please even the most indifferent of palates. I wish I had a photo of that museum-like shelf, sadly I do not. The first night in Grandma's kitchen was spent sampling the different creations. My favorite ended up being the Maeshil--some kind of Korean plum I guess. Soju shelf.

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