life is kinda gross and boring, and that’s okay :::
The more I write in this blog, the more I find that it stifles some of my lyric. This is a food blog. A love letter to my family. A birthday letter every year to my children as they grow. There is an abundance of food and love, the two dovetailing to co-cornerstones. Yet, sometimes I wish I would get down to more of the viscera and gore of everyday life, more than the racism I’ve written about, misogyny, the heft and joy of parenting, the loss of friends (all tempered with colorful photos of pretty salads and cakes, a comfy bread, or a sugared drink spiked with liquor). There is more to unwrap than just my less than sugared glaze on these topics. I want to see and smell the blood.
Not all see it that way. It’s all relative. Though it wouldn’t bother me given my profession, most people don’t think juxtaposing the texture and taste of certain foods would be complimented by mention of bodily fluids and decay. Even that last sentence can cause some people to gag with the breadth of possible discussion. In medical school, we knew we had integrated well when all we could think about was a good steak or eggs during afternoon cadaver lab. We were desensitized to the physical aspects of the bodies before us, though appreciating the gifts in our hands; good practice to compartmentalizing emotions later. Sometimes that compartmentalization also helps me deal with the boredom of some parts of life, often a dull thrum of thought at the end of the day. There are times when I just want to wallow in the rote of life, especially when things get too busy (even for me). Though sometimes, the blood of our life is sucked away by that routine and the lack of pop and zing.
I don’t entirely agree with the partitioning of my feelings when working with patients, but in some cases it really is necessary. If I internalized every interaction, the unrelenting chronic pain in a previously high-functioning patient, the sadness of seeing a withered patient die of cancer and knowing the process it took to reach that point, the frustration of insurance companies (no explanation needed), the shame I feel when I can’t best help a patient, I would be too consumed to live my own life, rote and blood.
I see and smell the rote today outside of work, speckled with the anticipation of the future. I already rejoice in the pleasure of taste and the memories it can conjure. Today, Eat and I spent a couple of hours scribbling over documents in an attorney’s office, closing on our forever home, forever. I anticipate the next two weeks will be filled with the simultaneous excitement and boredom of unpacking boxes, and knowing we will have ups and downs in life, the more clearly remembered ones being the upswings.
My upswing today is my mashup of Korean potatoes (gamja jorim) and eggs, perfection of a little sweet and mostly savory carb-protein breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. I tripled the recipe and ate it for many meals. No stifling of my lyric here: this is pure harmony. Nothing dull though one could argue by themselves potatoes and eggs are bland. Juxtapose this, friends, and no need to hide the feelings away.
Be back in a couple of weeks. Unpacking boxes and trying to find my whisks….
One year ago: black bee sugar cookies
Two years ago: chocolate zucchini cake
- THE POTATO PART: 3 medium-sized potatoes, about 2 cups, cut into ½ inch cubes (Russet potatoes are the best here)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ cup water
- 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
- THE EGG PART: 4 eggs
- Splash of cream or water (cream is better)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil or butter
- ½ to ¾ cup gamja jorim (see above)
- sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
- Drizzle of sesame oil
- 1 to 2 green onions, chopped into ringlets
- FIRST, make the potatoes: Heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the potatoes, stirring occasionally, on med-high heat for 7 minutes. The goal is to half cook and lightly brown the potatoes.
- Add the water, soy sauce, corn syrup, sugar and garlic and simmer for 7 minutes until potatoes are cooked and the sauce thickens. NOTE: Don't overcook or the potatoes will be mushy and grainy in texture.
- If there is extra oil, drain it from the pan. Taste the potatoes and add salt to taste, if needed.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss to coat.
- This will make more than what you need with the eggs. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can store the ganja jorim for about a week in the fridge. It can be frozen and thawed also.
- NOW, prepare the eggs: You can scale up easily. This recipe is enough for a two person meal.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat.
- Add the cream and salt and mix again.
- Using same pan you cooked the potatoes in, wipe clean and set on high heat. Add oil/butter and heat to simmer. Add eggs and immediately turn heat to medium. Continuously stir eggs to prevent browning of the eggs. While stirring, add in cooked gamja jorim. Stir to mix and achieve soft, curdy eggs. Transfer to bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt, sesame oil, and green onions. This is a great meal anytime of the day. It also packs well in a lunchbox.