Chicken gizzards, and other tests of one’s enduranceI am always a bit reluctant to reveal some of my tastes. I think they are reflective of certain gross sides to my character that I would rather keep to myself. But what the heck! I am 30 years old, and it’s about time to get over things like that.
In fact, one of the nicest things about growing older is that you really become blunt about what you like, no matter how stupid it might make you look in public.
That’s probably why many adults come to either love or hate one another unless they ultimately become indifferent about everything in life. Some people might think that’s sad. But just imagine how perverse the world would be if we obsessed about everything. As Haruki Murakami has written, there are certain kinds of carelessness that we indulge in for the sake of loving others. He calls this “a friendly carelessness.”
Getting back to my personal tastes, I guess I am attracted to things that I have no reason to like. I take great pleasure in finding something I enjoy that other people don’t care about, or consider “too passe.”
I wouldn’t say I fake these attractions, although maybe I exaggerate them a little bit sometimes, just for the sake of testing other people’s tolerance or challenging my fears. But normally, when I find something interesting ― often something that’s new, or rare, or requires some sort of sacrifice for me to keep it ― I spend so much time thinking about it that I develop a sort of affection for it.
Chicken gizzards were one of those things. As an adventurous young girl, I think I felt it was important to be able to do things that other people thought I shouldn’t or wouldn’t. I felt almost obligated to try everything I could, just for the sake of pushing my limits.
So one winter night after dinner, I asked my dad to take me to a pojangmacha and buy me some chicken gizzards, chopped and grilled with chunky sprinkles of rock salt.
When the plate arrived, I poked it with the tip of my chopstick and stared at it for a while. It was the texture of the meat more than anything else that lured me into finishing the entire plate right there, though it might really have been that need to test myself. Whatever the truth was, the only time I drag my friends to a pojangmacha these days is when I crave that peculiar scent of animal organs.
Maybe that line from the movie “Scandal” wasn't so wrong after all: “When you pretend it's real, it becomes real.”
How to Cook
Ingredients: 300g of chicken gizzards, 3 green onions, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/4 lemon, a little salt and pepper.
1. Wash the gizzards and cut them into bite-size pieces.
2. Over a medium flame, heat the sesame oil in a pan. Add the gizzards, salt and pepper, and stir for 10 or 15 minutes.
3. Chop the green onions and add them just before turning off the heat.
4. Serve with lemon.
by Park Soo-mee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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