Friday, December 22, 2006

Life in the Food Chain

There now follows an important cultural lesson. I found myself at a Korean friends house during the late evening, we were hungry and so chicken was ordered from a local take-away. Various dismembered and fried parts of chicken arrived in a large box. We ate.

It was later pointed out to me that during the course of the meal I'd managed to eat both chicken legs, and herein lies a problem, because chicken legs are prized by Koreans whereas other parts of the chicken, especially the breast, are not seen as so desirable. In fact, this is so much the case that people will go as far as to throw chicken breast away because of what is perceived to be its dryness and lack of taste. Normally, in the tense hierarchical stand-off that is a Korean family's meal at the dinner table, the Korean father would be expected to eat the chicken legs while the rest of the family attended to the second tier of the animal. As a guest, I might have just gotten away with eating one chicken leg - but only if it had been offered - but to eat both in ignorance and without invite was a considerable faux pas. Much retrospective apologising was done but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd blotted my copy book. The irony is, that in the UK it is the chicken breast which is more prized and definitely my preference, unlike legs which I find hard to strip to the bone.

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