Friday, July 23, 2010

Pig Knuckles

I met an elementary school teacher the other day and she is very nice. She invited me to lunch and asked me if I liked Korean food. I said I did although I could not eat the spicy food and was allergic to some food such as soy sauce and red paste. She took me to a very traditional Korean restaurant. The main desk was pig knuckles or it could have been pig's feet.

I thought as I saw the dish being served that I needed to be less particular. I looked at it and saw how her grandchildren and my new friend looked with approval at the pig parts. So, I wanted to appear less like an ugly American and took one. I started to chew and chew and chew and got no where. It was apparent I did not know how to eat this dish. It was so rubbery.

Then they served noodle soup. Inside my head, I heard myself moan: Oh no not flour noodles. She had thought they were rice noodles but I am an experienced noodle person. I knew right away they were made from wheat noodles. I asked for cooked rice and she was upset as well as the owner because I could not eat the pig knuckles either. I just could not force myself to do it.

Where ever one goes in Korea, Anglo-Americans stand out. I was the only one in the restaurant and the owner keep bringing me delicacies for me to try. They all had red paste in it which has gluten in it. She even brought over a lot of little fish with their heads still on.

I was faced with the decision of forcing myself to eat something I did not want to eat and saying no and appearing like an impolite American. I saw no way of getting out of this. I took the second choice as I remember having to eat food my mother put before me even though it made me sick. I said, I am sorry but I can't. I am allergic.

There is no right nor wrong answer. I was not going to win this one no matter what. I choose myself. I choose to obey my likes and dislikes. I just could not look at those pig knuckles or feet and feel like I could force myself to eat them. I also could not eat something that would make me ill no matter how the circumstances look to other people.

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