Eclectic Appetite

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? (650 words or less)

A few Thanksgivings ago, my mom decided to buy a whole pig and roast it herself. Unfortunately, the pig had a ghastly aroma which filled the whole house, and everyone immediately scolded her for the acrid smell ruining their Thanksgiving meal. Initially, no one ate it – it’s a little different from the traditional ham. But, being as hungry as I was, I decided it couldn’t taste as bad as it smelled. So, I was the only one to try some, and it became my favorite dish. Now the story is repeated every year by my proud mother, whose fourteen year old daughter consumed a questionable part of a pig, when not even the adults could overcome the odor.

Growing up with Korean cuisine, I became familiar with ingredients rejected by American palates – garlic beetles, fermented cabbage, and shrimp heads, just to name a few. While my peers indicate their disgust by slightly gagging or widening their eyes in disbelief, I shrug my shoulders and insist that it’s all healthy, yummy, and, most importantly, edible. When I’m sick, I can consume a whole bowl of miyeok guk (seaweed soup). My dad still thinks it’s strange, but my favorite part of sundubu jjigae is eating the shrimp whole, with all of the flavor concentrated in the head, eyeballs...

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