Hot chicken for barbarians and hopeless gossipers

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Hot chicken for barbarians and hopeless gossipers

They say that holidays are a time for sharing and reflecting together with one’s family. That’s probably true. But during the big dinner at my aunt’s house this year, the conversation naturally came down to two things: skiing and stem cells.
The topics were probably inevitable. Of my four cousins, two are scientists ― each married to a biologist and a radiologist. And everybody and their children are fervent skiers who fly to Champery, Switzerland every Christmas to ski.
The conversation began about a ski camp my niece recently attended. As the hours past, talk drifted to stem cells.
At first, it was interesting to see my scientist cousins and their spouses discussing a subject that was completely new to the rest of us just a year ago. Suddenly, we had all become stem cell experts, expressing disappointment and anger over the recent controversy. The discussion often slipped into gossip about the private affairs of scientists involved in the recent controversy.
There were various opinions, but I was most intrigued by how my normally serious scientist cousins reveled in the rumors of love affairs among other scientists. My mother seemed convinced that women married to serious scientists are bound to have affairs. It was inevitable, she said, because their husbands are stuck in the laboratory, spending more time staring at human cells than watching their wives put on lipstick. I agreed with my 67-year-old aunt that it was surprising to see so many good-looking scientists and doctors in the media during the past few months. Where have they been all these years?
At one point, my cousin insisted that one of the female scientists who was involved in the recent stem cell project was having an affair with another man in her team. As soon as she said this, her sister yelled out, “But that can’t be true. She’s Catholic!” The whole table burst into laughter.
It was strange. We all admitted we were tired of talking about the issue, but the subject seemed to come up again and again.
As we sat there, a plate of delicious marinated chicken was served.
While we talked, some of us had drumsticks in our hands. We devoured the meat until the plate was emptied. At that moment, it occured to me that the idea of gossiping about strangers had something to do with our cruel and unmerciful animal nature, similar to our gesturing with drumsticks and gnawing meat off the bones.
It seemed evil. I sensed that we secretly enjoyed watching the recent scandal. We shared a unanimous pleasure in seeing the star scientists collapse miserably. As the evening darkened, I wondered if such unanimity was a satisfying response, even if we had been right.
After all, what is the pleasure of living in a society where we all feel the same ― even if the chicken is yummy?


How to cook

Ddakjjim (Steamed Chickens)

Ingredients (for 1 serving): 400g of chickens, 80g of carrots, 50g of Shitake mushrooms, 1/2 onion, 45 millimeters of soy sauce, 15g of crushed garlic, little bit of salt, pepper and sesame seeds, 1/2 cup of water, ginko nuts.
1. Take the inside out of chickens. Cut them into bite-size pieces.
2. In a pot, pour all the sauces and water.
3. Simmer the chickens in a pot.
4. After 5 to 10 minutes, add the vegetables.
5. Serve with sesame seeds on top.
www.yorizori.com


by Park Soo-mee
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