How I, a Korean, Failed at Rice.
It’s not easy to admit that I’m a terrible cook. Especially when I’m the offspring of a restauranteur and I’ve been living on my own on and off since I was eighteen. For the sake of my pride, let me rephrase. I’m a lazy cook. I hate cleaning the pots and pans, I hate rinsing veggies, I hate touching raw meat and I hate having to wash the dishes after the meal. (That didn’t make it better at all, did it.)
My idea of a great meal is eating out or munching down on my mother’s scrumptious homemade food. (I eat my mother’s cooking like the fat kid and his chocolate cake in the film version of Matilda.) Unlike my sister, my mother and the rest of my family, I see food as sustainance rather than pleasure most of the time. They live to eat whereas I eat to live. As long as it’s clean, safe and relatively yummy, I can deal with the Michelin star-less status of my plate.
When I can’t be bothered to hike down six flights of stairs from my place to get food or don’t want to spend my hard-earned money (eating out adds up!), I rely on my handy dandy rice cooker and the cold dishes my mother regularly sends me. I bought my adorable rice cooker on taobao.com for around 50 RMB. It makes 2 cups of rice at most, so it’s perfect for me as I live alone and don’t use it too often.
I had the most impossible craving for rice porridge (죽 | 粥 ) so I added extra water to a cup of rice. I must’ve put too much because after a while of listening to the slow hum of the rice cooker, I heard a pop and the rusty smell of something burning engulfed the room.
The water overflowed and fried the cooker. Then darkness (for an hour because I couldn’t find the fuse).
I quickly unplugged everything, and checked on the rice. It was perfectly cooked.
Okay, so I didn’t fail at making rice. I just killed my rice cooker in the process. A bowl of rice in a Chinese restaurant in Beijing is usually priced at 3-5 RMB. Mine ended up costing me over 50 RMB. So much for saving money.
I should perhaps say something to redeem myself, I feel like my fellow Koreans are shaking their heads at me right now and doing a sarcastic slow clap.
Well, um, I make a mean kimchi soup (김치찌개) and bean paste soup (된장찌개)! So there.
And what did I learn from this experience, you ask? I now know where the fuse is.