Friends, foes, family, familiar frequenters of this food-rich fantasy, I have a question for you: Where are the rules on how to spend money? This might seem like a silly question, but get to know me and you’ll find our that I go in waves of spending money like a trust-fund kid to hoarding it like my great-grandparents during the depression. It all depends on what I think – that week, day, hour, moment – is worth my money.
As you can surely tell, I spend money – generally – on food and travel. I like to see new parts of the world, and I like to taste new flavors. I mean, not only does the geography and culture determine how other people see the world, but so does food. Don’t fret, I’m not going to go into some long-winded tangent about geographical determinism or – as I like to call it – gastronomical determinism. I’ve done that too many times with too many people and seen too many yawns to keep going.
As of late, I’ve been trying to save money for whatever next step I take in life – be that more school, living on a farm, or making end’s meat in some other city. I’ve been eating on the cheap (see: soon-dubu-jjigae, bibimbap, or shabushabu), and trying to limit my adventures to twice a week so that metro bill doesn’t keep climbing.
Then it hit me: why am I looking to the future so much when right now is what matters most, now. Well, your future matters too, but really, happiness is nothing but now (see: a firm balance on a tightrope). I am in Korea – why not do Korean things? Yes yes yes I’ve hit you with both the anthropological and philosophical arguments today. Sorry?
With that in mind, I headed out for a double whammy of a day: exploration of a new part of town and grocery shopping with the intention of buying more than onions, garlic, and the on-sale eggplant. I wanted real produce.
What resulted was exactly what makes me happy in a day: adventure, exploration, learning, cooking, and savoring. I ended up stumbling onto a festival that I had no idea was going on (turned out to be a Solar Salt festival), and buying some doughy treat there. I also headed bravely into the produce section of the grocery store in search of foods I had been too scared to buy because I thought they were too pricey for me (see: peppers, sweet potatoes, greens, tomatoes. See: guffaw!)
“Fear not, young man,” I would have liked to say to myself. “Fear not because you will not spend much, and you will benefit greatly!”
And that I did. I came home that afternoon drunk on adventure, exploration, and fall air, only to start to whip up a meal worth writing about. Simmered garlic greens with seared green peppers and pan roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled lightly with salt. And all in the name of living for me now, not later. Here’s to savory meals and baby steps.