Jun Dishes

verb/diSH/ : food or sex or gossip or fiction in real life

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Happy One Month Anniversary to Rice House

RiceHouseLogoFinalJPG

“This will never work in Evergem.”

“Don’t set your expectations too high.”

“People in Evergem won’t be into new stuff.”

This is only some of what I was told to my face, and what was said behind my back.

~

One month and hundreds of pounds of rice dished later, I’ve lost two dress sizes and some blood and hair and pride. Running the first-ever Korean takeaway and grocery in Ghent, in the middle of my own town Evergem, has been unlike any drug I’ve ever taken in my life. If you’re into that kind of high…

My husband Davy and I work together in the evening on the weekends Friday through Sunday. I run Rice House alone for both lunch and dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays plus lunch on Fridays. In Belgium when you open an eenmanszaak it means you don’t have staff. You CAN have staff, but then it defeats the purpose of being a “onemanshop,” in literal translation, and costs are very high to implement staff in the first place here in Belgium. Employees are protected ferociously in this country, and it’s not a bad thing.

So we did and do most everything ourselves from construction to design and marketing and advertising, cutting each vegetable and slicing the meat, and even scraping crud off any secondhand equipment we purchased. Rice House is the culmination of some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and some things blue. RiceHouseToGo.com is a free WordPress theme, and we just paid $20 to procure the domain name.  We cut corners where we could without compromising quality or ethics. Prices at our “competitors” are insanely high, and we are trying to show everyone that it’s possible to put in the extra work and make money without raping customers’ wallets.

I like to refer to Rice House as my eenvrouwszaak, because I am a woman. There’s no reason I can’t say proudly that I’m a “onewomanshop.” So as a proud woman I opened Rice House, as sole proprietor. I put aside some of my pride, in little things, where customers came first.

Davy has years of earlier experience in the food and beverage industry, in addition to his abilities to work a forklift like as a docker at the Port of Ghent. Davy did not leave his position, neither at the docks nor at the union, just because we opened Rice House. Again, that would defeat the purpose of being recognized as a sole proprietorship. Rice House is mine. It’s not a corporation or a business, in legal terms, but simply a money-maker in a country where entrepreneurship and family businesses are encouraged and rewarded in different ways. It’s a part of living in a socialistic country. There’s no way I could have just set up shop and opened a Korean takeaway in New York in two months time, and with no bank loan to boot.

Yet here, it happened.

So Davy didn’t leave his job, and my momz didn’t stay in Belgium in some happily ever after, and it’s now been a month since Rice House opened its doors to the public. The first weekend and week, Davy and I were a hot mess. I did more things wrong than I did right, but I never gave up. I forgot things here and there and completely fucked up other times. I made no excuses but apologized when I needed to, even to myself after cutting myself all over my hands and even burning my hairline on my fiery stove. Suzy. Suzy the stove surpassed my expectations and does still.

I have only eaten in restaurants and having never worked in one I had no idea the power of Suzy. So I ended up burning my cute little baby hairs above my forehead that first week. Nobody knew though, because I didn’t shriek or let on in any way as the stink of burnt hair rushed up my nose. I burned some sauces that week too, and started cooking like a beginner. I realize I’m hardest on myself but still…

I made a shit ton of money Week One, but I feel guilty because I was not at my best. If I could, then I’d ask everyone who visited Rice House the first week to give me a second chance. Some have already, and it’s encouraging and not taken for granted. I listen to everyone and implement changes where I can. We received feedback that the “over-rice” style of our bowls was discouraging for those who worked through their meal to find “only rice at the bottom.” And so we changed our serving style and pushed the rice all the way to one side of our bowls so that the rest of the meal could fall next to it, ensuring more perfect bites in balance.

That first week I decided to change our opening hours. I removed Tuesday dinner service from our hours so that I’d have both Monday and Tuesday as two whole days off. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to-date.

Then the second week…

Things got a lot better, because my mother was here visiting from New York.

MomzMeKitchen

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Momz landed at Brussels International Airport just a few hours earlier, and we’d not seen each other in over a year but we were together again under Rice House’s roof. She’s the tortoise to my hare, yet she happily and heartily set to work as my sous chef for the next 3 weeks. She played with Noah and walked the 15 minutes from our home, Noah-in-stroller, and gave me strength at Rice House every day.

She told me, in English, “I feeling happy when I walking in here to Rice House.” And to think, my mother tried to take her life so many years ago in grief over my father’s passing in 2004. 10 years later and she’s a grandmother and kickass kimchi maker!

So, I realized Weeks Two and Three that I’d miscalculated how much beef, chicken and shrimp I’d go through. I’d thought they’d all sell equally as well, but the first three weeks the chicken and shrimp flew off the woks and the beef didn’t. Who knew? I didn’t. I don’t know everything, and this is a rare confession. So I made adjustments, including the decision to close for lunch service on Saturdays. It was a good idea, in theory, but a total flop. We’ve since only opened in the evenings on Saturdays, and I couldn’t be happier to have Saturday mornings and afternoons with my Noah and Davy!

Alas…momz continued to be flabbergasted every day at how much work iso actually put into Rice House. She’d never seen me do anything but bounce around as a fashionable corporate banker, and she certainly didn’t think I’d be wearing an apron and doing a mountain of dishes at the end of every night in my late 30s. To say my mother proud of me would be like saying I was proud of Rice House.

It’s more than about pride.

And then while momz was still here, during Week 4, someone left this comment on the first blog I ever wrote about Rice House (quite old):

Angry Comment

I share this because I share everything, good and bad.

To say this comment didn’t bother me would be a straight-out lie. But I knew it wasn’t a regular customer and so did momz. Momz was upset too, and it angered me that it affected my mother like that. It only fueled our fire and love of rice!

I’ve since added fresh coriander to the Rice House Bowls, giving each bowl an extra kick. Just like I did cooking in the Big Brother house, if a customer has a special request then I happily oblige. Less sauce or more sauce or sauce apart, or less rice or no rice, even some no vegetables requests. Allergies to garlic or this or that, are paid special attention to. I want everyone’s vote in the end…

I’m loving what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. I love my family. I love Rice House. I love my mother, who returned to New York this past Tuesday.

Thank you all for taking this ride with me!

Always dishing,

Jun

Momz Kimchi

MomzKimchi

Before momz left to return to New York, she made one more fresh batch of kimchi for me…

And for Rice House…

MomzLaughingMakingKimchi

We laughed. We made kimchi.

~

LayersOfSalt

Each layer of cabbage was sprinkled with sea salt by momz loving hands, to make all the leaves go limp, before her killer family secret spices coated each leaf…

~

MomzKimchi

I’m a very lucky Korean girl…

~

Momz is currently flying over and out of Belgium.

We miss her already. I miss her already.

But her kimchi remains…and will be devoured.

Always dishing,

Jun

What Happened Before & After The Night Before Rice House

Family

Here’s some of what happened before and after the night before Rice House

I…

Fair

Had Fun: I relished in all of my free time heading into the Grand Opening of Rice House. I’ve always wanted to be a fun mom. My own momz is a very fun mom.

~

SoupLadel

Shopped: This ladle was too big for me, but I did find one just the right size eventually. You know, for Rice House.

~

OMGRiceHouse

Hated: This was two days before Rice House opened on May 1st. I hated seeing things unfinished but I loved the thrill of it too. We couldn’t have done it alone though.

~

BirthdayOmi

Loved: Davy’s mom and Noah’s Omi spent her own birthday busting her ass to help us finish up last details at Rice House, the day before the opening. We remembered to get her a birthday cake!

~

Groceries

Displayed: Starting up the Rice House Grocery wall…

~MorningOf

Opened: This was me, before I gave myself 14 total cuts on two hands on very sharp knives, and bruises on my hips from bumping into shit. But I was still very happy, and am still.

~

Family

Mommied: Noah will always be my baby, and Rice House his sibling.

~

ActionShot

Rolled: Lots of sushi to roll on opening day. Little did I know that this would be the easiest day ever, for the rest of my days of rice…

~

DSC00381Dished: I ran out of sushi to serve, eventually, and had to improvise accordingly.

~

BrusselsGot to meet a Big Brother fan: From Brussels. I was psyched! Such a sweetheart!

~

I wish I could dish more, but I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open. And the bow tie, by the way, was a temporary thing. I could never wear that thing every day.

Until next dish…

Always dishing,

Jun

Twas The Night Before Rice House

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‘Twas the night before Rice House, and here’s how it’s going…

There’s too much to do, and too much I should be doing.

But I just got home now, with Davy, while Noah’s been asleep for hours.

Our baby.

I’m smoking some weed. Davy’s drinking Porto Cruz

We’re both trying to keep each other from breaking down, helped by the drugs, and booze.

We’re telling each other to marvel in just how far we’ve come, so as to not get pulled into some sick twisted putrid vortex where everything must be tomorrow done.

Because that shit is just not happening, and as soon as that’s understood then we can go back to marveling.

~

Rice House opens its doors for the first time to the public at 11:30am. Facebook page here and Twitter page here.

~

Here’s what part of Rice House looked like today:

7pm

Photo taken at 7pm and not 12pm like the cloak in the photo says.

We need to put a battery in the clock (note to self)…

Now I must sleep.

Always dishing,

Jun

Things In Common: Opening A Takeaway And A Body Rub Business

Carrot


Carrot

Check out this carrot I found from a farm nearby!

~

Because I’m about to open a Korean takeaway business and just for fun, I came up with an impromptu list of:

Things in Common between Opening a Takeaway and a Body Rub Business:

Market Research: You have to do market research for both the takeaway and happy ending biz. Who is your competition in the area? How many other businesses already offer the same thing you’re going to offer? It doesn’t matter if it’s a bowl of rice or a hand job, you need to know who else is peddling the same goods you are.

Menu: Both menus offered at the takeaway and the hand job joint should offer varied price points. You want to be sure to capture every budget walking in through your front doors. Items on the menu should be fresh and tasty and satisfying at both establishments. However, the bigger the menu the more work involved so everything extra is extra. Ka-ching.

Insurance: Everyone knows there’s insurance involved when it comes to opening a takeaway business, but you’d be surprised that there’s something called insurance in the body rub business too. It’s not your conventional plan you purchase and sign, but very unconventional indeed. Any body rub girl in your employ can never be trusted completely, especially under pressure. You must train them on what to do should the cops appear and break down the doors and bust the place, let’s say, for example. And in order to work in the business, each girl must bring in her passport or driver’s license for photocopying and safe-keeping in some safe in an undisclosed location. Basically, it’s insurance for the business that the girls never rat them out, or at least make them think twice before doing so.

Marketing and Advertising: This is key for both the takeaway and the body rub business. How and when, even down to hours of the day, must be planned in advance. It’s not like hand job shops will be tweeting publicly, so most sex businesses run on shadier arenas for advertising (i.e. Craigslist, hotel bedside magazines…). Sometimes, hiring a programming nerd to run your online advertising is your best bet. Balancing cost-effectiveness with good old-fashioned word-of-mouth, or hand, and use of technology is key for any business. In 2014 the possibilities are endless, and still some archaic, retro even.

Delivery: This is all about cost-effectiveness and nothing else. As a business owner, If it’s not “worth” delivering for free then you shouldn’t do it. Takeaways offer free delivery all the time because nobody wants to pay for delivery anymore. You’d think there’s no such thing as delivery in the body rub business, but there is. Most established sex businesses have a driver on-call for “outcalls” by which a working girl is taken to a client (lots of cab-taking too). But there’s always an extra charge to the client. That’s where a Korean takeaway and body rub biz really differ. Delivery is at a premium for hand jobs, and the client will pay anywhere from $50-$100 more for the request.

Safety is a whole other level of crazy, and worthy of its own blog…

Always dishing,

Jun

Remember Things I Learned Along The Way

PeeCup

“I’ve done a lot of things to make money, legit jobs and downright wrong things. I’m not a bad person, but I’ve done bad things to mostly bad people. I’m not a good person all the time, but I am overall. I think your desk is nice and the wood very handsome, but the top of your desk is a wreck and needs organizing.”

This is what I basically said verbatim to my future boss during my first interview with him, for a job I eventually got. It was for a global asset management firm that was based on the principle of behavioral psychology. I didn’t know exactly what this meant when I went to interview for the job. I didn’t even know if I actually wanted the job. It’s terrible. It was 2006 and I was in a very scary place in my life. My dad was long gone, and I was attempting to return to Wall Street after taking a hiatus to run some shady business, and it was a gamble that would determine my future. I’d had a bad run-in once with the wrong people and I’d spent a night in jail as a result. It was all supposed to be cleared and never to be heard of again but I just wasn’t sure.

Interviewing past the first round for a global bank means you have to pee and prove you’re not on this or that drug, and your background and criminal and credit checks are run too. Depending on your rank going into a firm, the number of people you have to come face-to-face with varies as does the stringency of all testing. When I went in for that interview, I’d stopped smoking weed so my pee would come up clean once I got to final rounds of the hiring process. And I crossed my fingers that nothing alarming would come up in my background check. It’s the first time I actually felt nervous about it in my professional career.

After having spent the better part of 2005 running on adrenaline in the underground sex business, I was worried as fuck come that day in 2006. Nobody knew what I did all of the time except me, because I basically led two different lives for a long while. Exhausting, right?

But I decided I’d change gears again, and test the banking waters. Could I score a doorway back in after a gap in my resume, and possible tainted background check? I sat there that morning of my interview and my hair was in a bun, which it never was unless I was interviewing for a finance job, and here was this boss-dude sitting in his big leather chair.

He asked me right off the bat, “Describe yourself in a nutshell and then tell me what you think about my desk.”

I thought, what?! This wasn’t an actual interview question was it?! Where was the question about my strengths and weaknesses and where I saw myself in five years and shit?! Oh. But it’s the firm based on behaviors so I treated it, yes, like Big BrotherI answered boss-dude’s question and hoped he wouldn’t be too offended that I basically called him messy.

I got the job and loved the firm right away for its investing philosophy that there is more to money than just value, but in its psychology. I got to watch people for a living and then teach the principals later. I really did love working for that firm during my days and some of my nights.

This is the same firm that laid me off in 2009, and although many of my once-fellow employees harbor ill-will about being cut during that time, I don’t. I did briefly and then I embraced it differently, and probably because I had no husband or child depending on me. I was so very single at the time. So I made my peace with being laid off with the masses, long ago. I used my time to travel through Europe and Asia and ultimately to the Dominican Republic where I met my husband. I used my time to finally return to school and graduate magna cum laude, and to learn at least 10 things at the end of it all.

Of all the interviews of all the jobs I’ve ever had, that one with J. Whitcup was one of the most fun and conversational ever.

Rice House does not compare to a global investment bank or Big Brother on the surface, but it does behind the scenes and I’m excited to draw on everything I’ve learned through the years to choose a student-apprentice for Rice House. The good, bad and the ugly of any business is the best and worst part of it all. Wish me luck in finding the right match!

Always dishing,

Jun

Rice House: Updates

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I picked out paint colors yesterday for Rice House. Let the painting begin!

Ahhhhhhh~

They will be the colors found in the Rice House logo. Bold orange and bold blue, and colors found in the Korean flag:

RiceHouseLogoFinalJPGI’ve never done this before, opened a food business, my own shop. I don’t know all the lingo but I base all my decisions on my own foundations, and with my husband Davy together on big decisions. All major ones have been made and now it’s just a waiting game and working and growing pains until Rice House opens its doors on May 1st.

I’ll be attempting to display something like this on May 1st, for show:

KoreanFlag - Sydney

It was presented at the Sydney International Food Festival last year and I’m excited to try and recreate it for the Grand Opening! Here’s a cheat-sheet on what each part of the Korean flag means:

KoreanFlag

Rice House in its entirety is about 600 square feet counting both floors (or 60 sq m), with a bathroom and ample storage on the top floor. The actual shop space is about 250 square feet (or 25 sq m). My conversions aren’t exact but they’re close enough because it’s easy enough to remember.

This is what I have envisioned for the ground floor space and shop:

GroundFloorPlan

Work continues at Rice House, and we’ve already removed one small wall:

Wall

Also, all the stickers and branding from the former sandwich shop are now gone!

I can now start from scratch with my own branding!

BeforeAfterOutside

But work also continues at home as Noah approaches his second birthday. It’s almost two years now since I live-tweeted my early labor and delivery of Noah (tweets all here). Time has flown but Noah’s grown, and he’s already practicing playing shopkeeper…

NoahShopkeeper

Noah’s been to Rice House a couple of times now, and he’s comfortable there as if he knows already that it’s “ours.”

Ours.

It’s why I’m putting a “Kiddie Corner” into the space, because I want Noah and other children to feel safe and special while they’re at Rice House. It sounds super corny but I mean it. Rice House is a business but it’s very much still real life. As such, the plan is to keep everything as simple as possible. This is easier to do in Evergem than in Manhattan.

I’d say one of the hardest adjustments I’ve had to make as a business woman, is to slow down. Nobody answers work emails at night and nobody breaks their neck to get anything done around these old parts of Europe. It’s refreshing yet frustrating at the same time, balancing my New York City killer instinct with diplomacy in patience.

So, simple it is.

The menu will consists of (sushi) rolls and (rice) bowls, and soups. There will always be a stand-by menu and specials-of-the-week. Here’s an example of a Rice House Shrimp Bowl:

ShrimpBowl

I’m so glad all those food photos I took are paying off, in what is now the Rice House Menu. Vendors have been chosen and bids are in, and my husband Davy and I have trust and understanding in each other’s different strengths. We are doing most everything ourselves and calling in professionals for what professionals do…

But Davy drew a map on which Rice House stands, and I created it simply in Power Point:

 

RiceHouseMap

 

It’s the cutest map I’ve ever personally made, and it’s good enough to give to the printer for now so he can do his magic. Flyers and stickers and posters are being printed very soon! Rice House will get a make-over before May 1st. Opening Hours coming soon!

My mother will be coming in May to help with everything and to spend warm days in the sun with Noah. I need momz here for this. I’m glad she’ll be here.

I’d like to thank everyone for your support. Stay tuned!

Always dishing,

Jun

 

What Rice House Means to Me

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Not many people outside my immediate family know this, but…

When I won Big Brother in 2003 and returned to New York, I told my parents that I wanted to invest my winnings in opening a Korean takeout place on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. It’s where I was living at the time and I thought there was a hole in the market. My parents freaked out completely. Freaking out was my momz thing and never my dad’s, so it shocked me. He’d become fearful.

My dad was still in the Intensive Care Unit at Beth Israel Hospital at the time, and he almost cried, saying he didn’t want me to open a business. He said it was too risky and that I should invest in real estate instead. But I knew what he really meant.

My dad was dying and we all knew it. His kidneys were barely functioning and dialysis was making his sicker. He just wanted to see me stable and back to my old life, before Big Brother ever happened, before he died. My dad wanted me to go back to work at Citigroup or any group comprised of bankers, and have a “steady job” again so he could die in peace.

Except he never said it like that, at least not to me.

I felt like a monster that day for making him worry, when all he should have been doing was resting and recuperating and staying alive. So I didn’t invest in the takeout place. But I didn’t go back to work right away either. I spent as much time as I could with my dad and my family, and months later I did end up buying real estate with my Big Brother winnings and I returned to work in finance too (more on this).

My dad passed away shortly thereafter, in 2004, knowing I could take care of myself but probably never considering I’d do anything as crazy as illegal (more on this). I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. I’m a different person but I’m the same person.

And now I’m finally opening a Korean takeout place – in my little Belgian town in Ghent called Evergem (Everville), no less! Rice House is happening and my dad’s not around to see it. But I can picture him laughing from heaven because I’m getting everything I wanted in the end.

I am his daughter after all.

This is what I’m starting with:

TakeABreakOutside

 

Where now stands Take A Break is where Rice House will open its doors on May 1st!

~

Every time I embark on a new adventure I try not to dwell on bad shit that’s happened in my life, but I do acknowledge that it made me who I was and who I am today. You cannot forget where you came from because nobody else knows but you, in the end. You owe it to yourself to never lose who you are, and to not listen to people’s advice to sell sandwiches AND rice. Um, no.

And for me and my husband Davy, Noah priority #1, and Rice House #2. At some point Noah will be “helping” me at Rice House and things will fall into place. I can’t wait for that day.

I’m lucky to have a man in my life after my dad, who believes in me wholeheartedly.  I couldn’t do this without Davy.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

Rice House: For the Love of Rice

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I’ve been blog-silent for a week mostly because my Noah was plagued with a bad cold and pink eye. Life handed me a fevery toddler with conjunctivitis so I went into full mommy combat mode. Today on the other side of the week I’ve emerged triumphant with a healthy child, and I also happen to be the brand-spank-me-new owner of a Korean takeout joint!

What?

It all started a week ago, on Wednesday afternoon. Davy and I found out that a tiny sandwich shop called “Take A Break”, in our town square of Evergem, was looking for new owners. I never imagined I’d ever live in a “town” let alone blog about a town square, but for the love of rice anything can happen!

The monthly rent sounded too low and too good to be true. Plus, Davy attained all the necessary study and licensing for a start-up business way back when, “just in case,” before he ever even knew what Korean food was. By marriage I can also use the licenses.

The current owners of Take a Break are opening a bigger eatery next month in the city, Ghent-proper, hence their selling the smaller business. So Davy made some more calls and left some more voicemails so we could gather as much information as possible. My OCD took over.

Then that evening I was featured on a Flemish television program called Fans of Flanders and Noah made his television debut:

Noah ate through half the filming that day Fans of Flanders was here in my home including the Korean food I’d cooked in the segment.

~

Before the segment ever aired last Wednesday, I’d had a craving for Chinese food. I can make Chinese dishes just like I can make most dishes not necessarily Korean. But sometimes I just don’t want to cook! It happens to all of us.

So last Wednesday night I wanted Chinese takeout!

Here’s the thing…there is NOT ONE decent Chinese (or otherwise Asian) place we know close by (meaning 15 minute drive), but on top of it all most of them are closed on Wednesdays. But Davy and I drove on, with Noah in his car seat behind us, and searched for an open Chinese or otherwise Asian food establishment. Nothing.

We were about to head home when we got a call. If we were around, we could take a minute to take a tour of Take of Break! So we did. Davy and I saw potential. The owners told us that they’d leave behind most of the commercial appliances and display cases behind for pennies to their euros spent, because their new restaurant in the city was all stocked and furnished. With take-over and start-up costs so minimal I wanted it, but there were two other business-minded couples ahead of us, and both wanted to open sandwich shops. There are HUNDREDS of tiny sandwich shops in all of Ghent, but not one Korean food establishment. But we were third in line for the place.

I ended up making my own stir-fry and rice that night, and cursing the fact that I had to. Davy and I were convinced that one of the other couples would take the shop.

On Saturday we got the call that the first couple bailed, and the second couple seemed too hesitant, so if Davy and I wanted to open our Korean takeout…we could! Davy and I scrambled together, getting paperwork and accounting and finances in order, and as of today…

RiceHouseLogoFinalJPG

I am the proud new owner of a Rice House in Evergem!

It sounds insane but what about my life isn’t, really?

~

Rice House, a Korean takeout restaurant, will be open on May 1st, 2014.

It’s on “Library Street” (Bibliotheekstraat 6, Evergem) and just three bus stops away, or a walk, from my home. There is indeed the town’s library down the street. But there’s also the pre-school that Noah will be attending, in November, right across the street! I blogged about our first tour of Noah’s school last May…the one with the napping room:

NappingRoom

The idea of dropping Noah off at school and picking him up from across the street at Rice House makes my heart race it’s so cute.

Thanks to socialism and all its wonders, it’s easier to open a one-woman business in Belgium than it is in the States. How else would I have a (legal) business in my name in less than a week? This would never happen in Manhattan. But this is Ghent. This is a country based on the honor system and entrepreneurship in good ways and bad, and this last week proved very good for me. All signs seem to point to rice in Evergem!

If I can maneuver through Wall Street, be Head of Household in the Big Brother house, and mamasan in a whorehouse, then I’m up for the challenge of being Rice Queen in Evergem!

Always dishing,

Jun

Halloween Buffet

Halloween

I just came home from lunch out with family, and because it’s Halloween the universe sent me a trick in addition to any treats.

BOO!

It was a restaurant with an additional buffet. I personally love buffets because I love food. There are good buffets and shit buffets, and I’ve tried all kinds. Today turned out to be a Halloween buffet. What’s a Halloween buffet? I made that up to describe what happened today…

Today at lunch, there was a choice of four meats and I took a little bit of all of them. One looked like pork, and one looked like beef, one was a liver dish, and the last one was blood sausage. I personally love blood sausage, because I grew up on the Korean version called soon dae. It’s not for everyone, but I love it. Don’t know what it is? Think blood and think sausage.

The horror!

Not really, and that’s not even the most Halloween part of this lunch. I sat down with my plate at our table for six, and we wished each other smakelijk which is the Dutch equivalent of bon appétit. I took my fork and knife and dove into my plate. I cut into what I thought was a piece of liver. I personally love liver, and all its liver friendly variety.

It wasn’t liver. It was a tongue. It was a tongue on my plate. Not mine, but still a tongue.

Gaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

I wanted to make a bigger deal about it, but I had to suppress my dramatics for the sake of the family and those partaking in tongue at the table and all around me.

I’ve had tongue before, sliced up. When I was six. My grandmother used to make it, and her mother before that. Davy’s grandmother used to make it. Davy’s mother’s grandmother even used to make it. Maybe even your grandmother or great-grandmother used to make it. Still makes it?

I don’t know. I nearly cried realizing it was some animal’s (probably cow’s) tongue on my plate disguised in a Madeirasaus “sauce.” It was all shrunken up like a baby animal’s tongue, not that I’ve seen many animal’s tongues…

My grandmother never covered tongue in sauce. Koreans were gangster and steamed a whole big tongue and sliced that shit up and dipped it in some soy-sauce or shrimp paste. Either way, tongue is not for me.

Now if that tongue had started talk to me then this story would end a lot differently. Instead, I’ll just wish you all a good lunch with or without tongue today. It’s your prerogative.

Happy Halloween Thursday!

Always dishing,

Jun