Home Economics

Well, it’s been 3 days and I am still not done eating my veggie bean soup. I should have known better than to use nearly 2 pounds of black beans. I also once made the mistake of telling one of S’ coworkers about eating leftovers for lunch. He looked horrified and wondered why S wasn’t feeding me better. I tried to explain that I make extra intentionally, but I think that only worsened the confusion.

Speaking of not wasting food, I’ve been trying to instil in my housemate the virtues of thrift. It’s the little things, like remembering to unplug the cell phone charger, not letting the tap run while doing the dishes, eating less meat and not drinking bottled water. It hasn’t been easy for this Evian junkie to switch to the boiled stuff, but we’re taking this step by step. (At present, he is still sneaking them into the house.) Seoul also has a surprisingly well-developed recycling and composting system which I have been trying to abide by. Normally, I’m not a fan of keeping rotting vegetable peels at home, but when it’s government-mandated, it becomes a lot easier to manage and feels more like civic duty.

These lessons on the fundamentals of home economics seep into the enforced habit of eating at home, and our trips to the grocery store. I find fruits in Korea very inflated. A whole watermelon, even in the summer, can cost upwards 30,000 won (around 30 dollars) and the bag of 5 apples I just bought were around 6,000 won. And it seems almost undemocratic that there are also different grades of clementines and strawberries available. They are often from the same source, but seperated by quality, and of course, the more expensive, the sweeter, juicier and more flawless they are. I made the fatal mistake of becoming addicted to Korean strawberries, which are irresistibly fragrant and perfectly ripe.

They start at about 6,000 won for a box, and can go to up to 20,000 won for the better ones of the same quantity. Even S acknowledged that these ruby jewels can potentially ruin us, so I’ve been trying to regulate our consumption. Still, he can’t help but pick some of the middle-of-the-road grade kind up on the way home from work. I try to be upset and lecture him on how the costs can add up, but he always gets the last laugh here. These darling gems make me helplessly giddy and I’m always the one weeping for the last bite.


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