Back before there was such a thing as Hacienda Heights, our monthly Korean grocery shopping trip happened in Koreatown. Olympic Boulevard, you are forever emblazoned in my memory. Even now, that exit off the 10 freeway—the memory alone of that exit—triggers cravings for kimbap, ojingo twigim, shrimp chips, and Botan rice candy. But there’s one thing I’ve never been able to...
Wall of cheese wins
During college one summer I ended up at the Cabot Cheese Factory. Confident in my cheese proficiency, I decided to sample one cube of every flavor (they had maybe 30 varieties of cheese set out in the gift shop for people to sample) but got sick after the 20th cube. Big chunks I tell you.
Raise your children right
My parents, in an attempt to stiffen my spine and nudge me out of shyness, started refusing to buy me soft serve ice cream at McDonalds. They would give me the money and tell me to go order it myself. I’m not sure if this is an actual or imagined memory, but I recall being so short that I couldn’t see over the lip of the counter. The cashiers didn’t see me and after 30 seconds I...
Adventures in 8th Grade
I went with my best friend Sara L. to eat at the Thai restaurant when it first opened up in our suburb in 1990 (ah the rise of Thai cuisine!). We only had enough money for one curry and one order of chicken satay. We felt terribly sophisticated for dining at a non-diner establishment until we stuck our index fingers into the peanut sauce dish to swipe it clean.
All those Japanese vegetarian joints in NYC
I first encountered brown rice at some semi-Buddhist Japanese vegetarian restaurant in NYC back in the 20th century (Dojo maybe?). It was pretty horrific. I still don’t understand how you can eat that with curries.
Botan Rice Candy
I lost so many braces because of this. This and the barrel of live crabs at the Korean grocery store were the two highlights of our monthly trips to Chicago’s Lawrence Ave.
after school snacks
The microwave was a technological revolution for a latch key kid. Every day I came home, flung open the pantry or freezer for my potato du jour: boxed instant mashed potatoes, packaged scalloped potatoes/potatoes au gratin mix, microwave french fries in individual crisper trays. I have no idea what I ate before we got the microwave.
Once when I was less than ten years old I was eating spaghetti alone in the kitchen and my brother and sister came in and my brother said hey look you’re eating a big plate of worms and when I looked down the noodles really did look like worms and I threw up all over the plate. It wasn’t a dream.