Saturday, December 15, 2007


I went to the local Korean grocery today to get Christmas gifts for the family -- Korean teas, and a little teapot with a colander in it for steeping loose leaf tea. Outside the front door was a couple of teenage Asian girls dancing to an Asian Salvation Army bell ringer. A second glance showed that the girls were wearing the Salvation Army bib too. One was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, the other was wearing a short skirt, tights, and tan suede boots with lighter tan fur cuffs (the "Nanook of the North" look, I like to call it -- I think these are imitation Uggs). The tights-and-boots is a good look for Asian girls, they have the calves to pull it off.

The girls were still dancing and laughing at each other 30 minutes later when I came out with my teas and a bunch of kimchi (plural -- kimchi is a process, not a vegetable, and I had multiple kimchi'ed veggies). Oh, to be that young and energetic again! Of course I dumped out my pocket change and a few extra bucks into the kettle. Because while the Salvation Army has to be the world's oddest religion (and as I've noted earlier, the Koreans are similarly odd), for the most part they put their money where their mouth is -- in my area, they run several shelters and soup kitchens for those in need.

Over at the Mockingbird's place, we had a bit of a discussion about where to donate your money. I donate the majority of the money I give to a local soup kitchen that serves hundreds of thousands of meals per year with one (1) paid staffer who is paid a very modest salary -- everything else is done by volunteers (mostly retirees trying to keep active and involved). My suggestion, if you're doing an end-of-year donation, is to donate to a charity where you can walk in their doors and see what they're doing -- a charity that operates locally in your area. I don't donate to the United Way or anything like that. I donate to people I know, who I know will use the money wisely.

In the meantime, you know that two days worth of kimchi'ed veggies? Uhm... err... I ate them all in the 6 hours between me getting home from the store and now. Sigh. I do love that kimchi. And those cute Asian gals dancing in front of the store weren't a bad thing to see either :-). Now to gift-wrap the teas for the family...

-- Badtux the Well-spiced Penguin


  1. good luck with your tummy!

  2. I would love some Kimche.

    I am too poor to give money. If I get this job in Fort Worth maybe I will have money to spare!

  3. I was recently informed of a asian market near where I live where I can get good kimche. I don't know what is better -- enjoying good kimche, or the looks of disgust from those who don't.

  4. at dong ap bai our perimeter defense was provided by korean marines. they were some tightly wired units. they made their own kimchi in pots that they would bury all around the base. there was one incident where exploding kimchi pots damned near set off a counterattack by some nervous cherries on wire watch. the stuff that didn't explode was a perfect compliment to warm beer. wasn't that bad with scotch either. (although we had to rip off the officer's stash to get drinkable scotch they expected us to drink that blended crap)

    i give to the salvation army too. i have more than a couple of friends who were able to sober up in sally's house.

  5. The Salvation Army does a lot of good work here, I give them money at times. I also give to the local food bank.

    But some of the money I give goes out of country to help poor women in Mexico.

    I don't have a clue what kimchi is. I mostly stick to simple foods.

  6. Kimchi is Korean peasant food, bbc -- pickled vegetables, similar to the pickled spiced cabbage that my Uncle Ray made when I was growing up. Except using garlic and red pepper rather than black pepper -- a *lot* of red pepper, such that the brine that the veggies are pickled in takes a distinctly red tint and is more of a pepper paste than a liquid. For summer kimchi, the veggies are soaked in the spiced brine with a bit of vinegar for a day or so then eaten fresh. For winter kimchi, the veggies are placed in pots which are then buried (to keep them cool) and the veggies allowed to ferment (same process as used to make "real" dill pickles), the resulting pots of pickled veggies are then dug up during the course of the winter and eaten either as-is or stir-fried with whatever meats are available.

    In short, pickled veggies. Which count as a "simple food" by any standard, albeit more highly spiced than is typical for American pickled veggies.

    The odd thing is that red pepper is not native to Asia. It is native to the Americas. Nobody really knows how it is that the Koreans got ahold of red pepper and made it the centerpiece of their cuisine. One thought is that Portuguese traders brought it over from Brazil before the "Hermit Kingdom" slammed the door to foreign influence. The other is that red pepper was imported from Japan in the 17th century, but if so, where did Japan get the pepper? In any event, red pepper paste is the signature sauce of modern-day Korean cuisine...

  7. Kimchi sounds like it would not like me anywhere near as much as I might like it.

    I did give to a couple of cat shelters this year. I liked it better when I could give my hours of cleaning cages better. Damn allergies.

    I try not to pass a ringing bell without fishing out some change. And my grocery store lets you "round up for CHOW" the local food bank. I like doing that, and when I feel generous, I have them round to the nearest $10.

  8. That much Kimchi in the system can, well, produce some "odors" that even Mighty Fang might run away from.


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