May 7, 2007

one indigested puppy

Last week the middle school had its mid-term exams, and they're following it up this week with three days of student excursion I'm not invited on, so I've got a few days of long weekend coming my way.

Two days of class isn't nearly enough of an excuse for an actually-studious lesson plan, so I came up with a vocabulary-brainstorm-type deal with games and balls being thrown around, and a group race complete with candy prizes; ABC - can you name [something] for each letter of the alphabet? I made the class rounds with choice of 'jobs', 'food' and 'animals' as subjects of the ABC torture, and actually I'm surprised how well they do with these considering I'm not sure I could really do any of them as-entirely off the top of my head.

Last class I tossed food into the kid mixture and let them brainstorm away the last fifteen minutes of class working it out as I walked around, correcting spelling mistakes or making suggestions (and by suggestions, I mean miming eating a food that starts with whatever letter they're stumped on).

"D, d, d, d, d..?" Still-learning-English Koreans are sometimes like the French in way, once they get their mouths around a consonant they'll rapid-fire it until they're spitting out the sound like they're gargling complex Morse Code.

"D... What starts with d?" I coax.

One group writes 'daiquiri', confirming suspicions that they're either watching too much American television or their cellphone translator-tools are secretly turned on and aimed strategically up from underneath desks.

I'm thinking, what does start with 'd'? Doughnut, dairy, dragonfruit - dolphin, hey, I'm sure someone's eaten some of that in a tuna sandwich before...

"Dougke, dougke!"

"What, duck? Like, quack quack? Sure."

"No quack quack ahhhhhhhhhh...gggghhhh!" They wheeze exasperatedly when they hate trying to make themselves understood (I empathize so much with their sentiment), "dougke, dougke..?"

"Are you saying dog? Dog? Yeah that's fine, of course, I've never had it, but it's Korean food, so that counts."

My co-teacher leaning next to me with his arms folded, adjusts his glasses and starts to chuckle.

"Did you say you've never had dog?" he asks half-laughing, his mouth falling all agape.

"No, I haven't yet, remember? I want to, I want to try it," I glance at his bewildered expression.

"But you've had dog!"

..Say WHAT!?

I'm not hiding the uncomfortable shock well, "huh? I have had dog? When did this happen? And how come you know about this and I don't?" and now the kids are laughing at my expression.

He tells me it was only two weeks after my arrival, at something like a dinner party at someone's apartment.

I remember the night.

So apparently I've had the dog. Thought my hosts were saying duck (and as it turns out, they've been really impressed ever since that I slurped it right up).

Said dog was in a stew, with hefty sides of rice, and chicken bits and chicken feet covered in probably the hottest hot sauce that's ever blown my face off. And in retrospect, dog tastes pretty much exactly like what you expect it to taste like. Like you'd expect the meat chewed off a chicken foot to refuse to go down easy, tire-like cartilage spinning in your mouth, you imagine dog is a greasy, stringy, blackish and gamy meat. And it is.

I actually liked the weight and tang of at first mouthful as its oiliness slicked my tongue. But repeated chewing fleshed out any and all unctuous substance passing for flavor, leaving an almost immalleable flat texture I found myself chomping and gnashing at just to swallow down. The heat in the bean paste-based soup covered up any actual suggestion of raw furry mongrel that might have stuck to the meat after the long hot stew, but the lingering impression did smack of a certain musty saltiness - like flicking your tongue in the air in the vicinity of a sweaty man who's just played tackle-football for like, eight hours. So a lot of build-up, but not much delivery in the way of taste.

All in all, man's best meal is more bark than bite.

What's next on the menu? Cats! Just kidding. Or am I? No, I'm totally kidding - everyone knows that cats are the least tasty of the four-legged domesticated mammal variety.

No dogs were harmed in the making of these photographs.
Can't promise none weren't eaten directly afterward, though.
This picture would be funnier if my arms were up in that sort-of
I-am-Godzilla-you-are-Japan kind of pose, but you get the idea
WHAT! I was trying to pet him, I swear.

1 comment:

tania said...

OMG....all I can say is ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! And a perfect example why I'm too "chicken" to try new foods!!!