Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Chopsticks And The Red Headed Kid


When I was in the 3rd grade, my father worked for Skelly Oil in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His job, at that time, was in international project development. Early that year, a division level CFO position had opened up with Tong Suh Petro Chemical and they offered that job to him. A chance to move up the corporate ladder, he eagerly accepted it. And not long thereafter, he packed up his little family and we all moved to Seoul, South Korea. It was 1975 and he was 33 years old. 
Here we are at a company picnic that year, just outside of Seoul. I'm the dark headed kid on the right with the evil grin. I'm not sure what I was cooking up at the time, but odds are it wasn't good. I have some memories of living in Korea, but most are of the things a child would find important. I distinctly recall how huge the grasshoppers were, how stinky the kimchi was, and how yummy the Gogi Gui tasted. Gogi Gui is another name for Korean BBQ. It's a hibachi style of cooking food and it is flat out delicious. 
I was talking to The Red Headed Kid about this very fact the other day, when he said, "Sounds good! Can we go try some? I've never been to a hibachi place." What?? How could that be? How had I missed this important part of his development? It was time to make things right.
Despite the fact that it was sleeting and raining, I dragged everybody out to dinner that night. There are just some things that can't be put off another day.
Since Reagan had been to a hibachi restaurant before, I put him in charge of showing G 2.0 the ropes.
First on the menu? The ever popular soup and salad.
The Red Headed Kid liked the soup, but took a pass on the salad. He told me something about "saving room for the rest of his meal". Yeah, right, kid. Nice try.
Little did he know, there were more vegetables in his future whether he liked it or not.

Our chef had mad knife skills and was able to keep Graham's undivided attention with ease. 

Despite having a fork, Graham really wanted to use his chopsticks. Because the ones they gave us were made of plastic, I wasn't sure how successful he'd be. If you've ever tried to use chopsticks, you know the plastic ones are harder to work with because they're smooth. Whereas the wooden ones, with their rough texture, have a way of  "grabbing" your food, making them easier to use. I could tell right away, though, The Red Headed Kid was not to be deterred.
He kept trying and trying and ultimately was successful- plowing through his hibachi chicken like a pro. When the desert menu came around, I thought for sure he was too full to eat another bite. Silly me. I should know by now there's always room for dessert in a boy tummy.

Especially if it's fried ice cream. But when you have to share that ice cream with your big brother? You have to make some tough choicesTime is of the essence and any finesse you had been using needs to go straight out the window.  You gotta ditch those chopsticks and grab the nearest spoon, increasing your odds of getting most of the dessert. And if you're really lucky, he'll be so busy posing for your mom, he won't even notice you've cleaned the bowl.  




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