Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cooking class at the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine

While I was in Seoul I took a cooking class at the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine.

This was a good cooking class--first there was a lecture and demonstration done in Korean buy a woman in Korean traditional dress, and a translator who was relaying it to us in English. Then, we broke up into groups of three and cooked the dishes she had just demonstrated.

We made:
Dehachim: cooked shrimp tossed with vegetables in pine nut sauce
Kaktugi: spicy radish Kimchi
Dodokui: grilled dodok root (dodok is a kind of bellflower)
Yangji Gomtang: clear beef brisket soup

The instructor was a tough cookie, and I got the sense that the translator was softening things up for us. When she came by our table she freaked out because we didn't have enough salt on our radishes. She really looked angry. The translator was trying to convey the depths of her horror to us--"She says...she says you did it wrong. She says it no taste good when you are done." They both shake their heads at us in dismay. The fact that adding salt was an easy solution did not seem to abate their disappointment in us.

My favorite part of the class was when we sat down to eat the lunch we had just made, and the girl who is living in Korea and was showing off about studying Korean was unable to use her chopsticks. Unfortunately I was unable to get a picture of that, but imagine a 3 year old with a claw hand trying to eat with two metal sticks while pontificating about Hangul grammar.

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