[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Jangdok information missed the markI was surprised when I read the article explaining jangdok to foreigners (“About Korea,” Monday).
What did you mean when you wrote, “Many housewives carry on the habit of storing food outdoors, especially in cold weather, to economize on the cost of electricity?” You gave this answer to a foreigner who had written in calling the practice “outrageously unsanitary.” Instead of trying to explain the jangdok culture, you managed to turn it into something negative.
A jangdok pot is made out of clay that sits in the sun, then is glazed, then baked in a kiln. Dok means it is “breathing,” a process that cannot happen with plastic products.
Some Korean foods require long periods of storage and fermentation. During cold winters, jangdok, half-buried in a yard, keeps kimchi from freezing. Thus, jangdok, which come in various sizes and shapes, gained great popularity.
However, it’s rare to see jangdok nowadays since the introduction of other types of storage containers have appear. But it is still used when making bean paste and kimchi in the traditional Korean manner.
After people became acquainted with the efficiencies of jangdok, it brought a number of admirers, according to the National Academy of The Korean Language’s “Guide to Our Culture: 233 Traditional Culture Koreans Should Know,” published by Hakgojae, Seoul.
The JoongAng Daily has an important role in explaining Korea to curious foreigners and other interested readers. Next time I hope that you will use more care when you answer questions about our wonderful culture.
by Lee Hae-kyung