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Why food on the porch?

Tradition of storing edibles outdoors endures

Mar 23,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Ms. Campion, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Ms. Campion:
After my family moved to Korea last year, a wonderful Korean woman in her 60s came to live with us as a maid. Initially I thought nothing of her habit of storing food on our apartment veranda. Then I realized she put food there even when there was plenty of room in the refrigerator.

When I was invited to Korean homes a few times, I also noticed this outdoor food storage. I think this habit is outrageously unsanitary. Is this part of some Korean custom?

A. IHT-JAD:
Korean homes used to have what are called jangdok, various types of large ceramic jars, stored outdoors, that were used for preserving foods.

Because the jars were so big and space in apartments so tight, most modern Korean families no longer rely on these traditional storage containers. But many housewives carry on the habit of storing food outdoors, especially in cold weather, to economize on the cost of electricity.


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