Dumplings for a junk food connoisseur“Could a bad person become a good artist?”
The question came up during a recent symposium I attended at which Alanna Heiss, a director at New York’s PSI Contemporary Art Center, brought up the issue of “morality in art.”
Sure, I said to myself.
Look at Richard Wagner, a remarkable innovator of musical composition. Despite his anti-semitic ideals, he was supported by King Ludwig II of Bavaria to establish his own theatre.
I’ve seen plenty of immoral and selfish artists ― from wife-beaters to womanizers, or those who abandon friendships and retreat from the rest of the world to live in their heads. As far as I’ve observed, good artists seem far from being morally upstanding. Selfish artists often have the best careers.
But maybe I say this because I am not an angel myself.
According to the British literary critic F.R. Leavis, there can’t be great art without serious moral purpose.
At the symposium, Heiss’ view was quite the similar to Leavis’. She said if you are a truly bad person, you couldn’t become a really great artist. Maybe she’s right about the artists, but the theory that “good nature assures good results” doesn’t apply to everything in life. For example, in food, good ingredients don’t always make good food, where as bad ingredients sometimes make great food.
Street dumplings, for example, are often made up of terrible ingredients. (I wouldn’t be surprised even if they use ground pig’s brain for stuffing.) The fried dumplings on streets are so greasy sometimes that when you dip them into a bowl of soy sauce, they leave an oil ring on the surface.
But the dumplings on street carts have a unique taste of their own. They may be cheap, but they taste great ― just as good as the ones served in bamboo steamers at the fancy dimsum places in Seoul.
The same is true for ramyeon instant noodles. It’s common knowledge that they contain a large amount of sodium and preservatives which can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure. But instant ramyeon can’t be replaced with healthier noodles when it comes to taste.
It would be nice if all the wonderful artists in the world were good, moral people as well. It would be nice if all the yummy foods used good ingredients.
But think of it this way.
Not every good person turns out to be a great artist. So in the end, life is fair.
How to Cook
Ingredients (for 2 servings): 1 cup of flour, 4 teaspoon of water, little bit of salt and pepper, 80g of pork, 100g of scallion, 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
1. Mix the flour and salt with water to make a dough. Leave in the refrigerator for one day.
2. In a bowl, pour chopped ginger and pork. Add the chopped scallion, salt, pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil.
3. On a flattened, round piece of dough, place a teaspoon of the meat stuffing. Fold the dough in half and pinch closed.
4. On an oiled pan, place the dumplings. On medium heat, cook them for 5 to 10 minutes on both sides.
5. Serve with soy sauce.
by Park Soo-mee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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