43 Is Coming Kimchi Eggs
Here’s a real recipe by a person with real problems that I both invented and appropriated in my own apartment.
I express my anxiety through cooking, and I really love good food. But I *hate* the term “foodie.” I hate the people that call themselves foodies, and I also resent that there’s a cute little patronizing term for people that actually give a shit about what they put into their mouth.
I blame ‘Bon Appetit’ for this. They’ve made food into an elitist aspirational enterprise with flawlessly art-directed lifestyle porn, where every meal looks like a ’90s Benetton ad written and directed by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Every issue features a rainbow coalition of naturopaths, vaccine deniers and Etsy posers gathering at an incredibly art-directed rustic home by the mountains or beach to just get away from all the stress of being attractive and successful by whipping up a light, healthy meal with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
There’s always one guy who’s a dot-com entrepreneur but also a chef and semi-pro surfer. Everyone is wearing flawlessly tailored, flowing and spotless white linen clothing and the meal is both prepared and consumed near the edge of a cliff for some reason.
43 Is Coming Kimchi Eggs
If I’m this underemployed at this stage in my life, there’s probably something wrong with me. I’m neither conforming to the cultural narrative that says that my family/ corporate career is on the rise, nor am I successful iconoclast artist that plays by his own rules. So I’ve got plenty of time to make my own kimchi at home and pack it into all those Ball jars I bought on Amazon last month.
If you don’t want to do that, you can get the first two ingredients at any Korean-owned 24 hour deli in NYC.
Gochujang (a red chili paste found near the cold prepared foods in most Korean delis.) Look near the seaweed salad.
Kimchi — usually right next to the gochujang. It’s a fermented blend of spices, cabbage, daikon (radish), garlic and who knows what else.
I should probably just buy the kimchi and gochujang. After all, I’m not going to get booked on shows unless I put in some serious face time, and I need to spend the whole day writing jokes and packets like the successful comics I admire. The next Q train doesn’t come for 20 minutes after I leave the show I want to do, so I should just swing in and pick some up.
Eggs — two eggs, two whites. I’m trying to get as much protein as possible to hang on to muscle mass while you can but that blood pressure’s getting kinda high. This is the ideal midpoint.
Bread — I recommend Fairway’s black Russian pumpernickel. My thoughtful, loving and gorgeous girlfriend buys me a loaf every time she visits her mother on the Upper West Side, and it’s one of the many ways she says and shows that she loves me.
That should be garlic to a time-based Anxiety Vampire, but here we are.
This is usually the breakfast that we make together on weekends, but it’s a nice day and the only good news in the inbox is a special offer from Tarot.com. My therapist said to start the day with something nice.
Take 1/2 cup of the kimchi and chop it into small squares. I don’t want to drag a whole leaf off the toast and dribble it down the front of my best Batman t-shirt.
Crack the eggs and egg whites into a nonstick skillet on cook slowly, over low heat. Break the yolks with a spatula, and gently stir the eggs over a low flame. You get a creamier consistency this way.
Remember that I’m going to be 43 at the end of the month, and I really should own at least a few shirts that don’t have Batman, a skull, or a wizard on them. Then I realize that a t-shirt with Batman, a skull and a wizard would be pretty much the coolest thing on earth. I spend some time looking through Etsy, Instagram and eBay to see if this Neapolitan masterpiece of stoner imagery even exists.
Before the eggs completely solidify, dump in the kimchi and stir. You want some liquid egg to fuse with and cook onto the vegetables. Add salt and pepper as you like.
I better hurry this up. According to all the motivational books and blog posts I read, I’m supposed to write first thing in the morning while my head is clear. However, all the other motivational posts and books say that I’m also supposed to exercise first thing in the morning. Am I supposed to write during rest breaks between sets of kettle bell swings?
Fundamentally: which is more important to me? My physical health or my creative output? I can only choose one.
Turn off the heat once the egg/kimchi mixture is firm but still a little moist.
I made my kimchi at home last week, and left it on the counter to ferment while I went out of town. It’s much more pungent and funky than I’d prefer, but I decades ago I made a solemn promise to myself to never, EVER turn anything — food, music, clothing — down because it was too funky. I’m doing this.
Toast the black bread. Chop the green part of some scallions to garnish once the meal’s complete.
Garnish is kinda bullshit, it’s mostly there for presentation. I mean, I’d never send a dish back and say “excuse me, the chef left off 8 bits of green stuff I’m definitely not going to taste.” But a nice presentation isn’t just for Gwyneth Paltrow-ass home cooks. Fuck Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m chopping these scallions like I deserve them.
Once the toast is ready, quickly spread the gochujang over the surface, then top with eggs and kimchi, sprinkling on the chopped scallions. If you’ve got Korean pepper flakes in the house, sprinkle some of those on there too.
Is this cultural appropriation? Worry about that for a minute. I only know one Korean guy, my girlfriend’s college roommate. He doesn’t seem to give a shit, but then, what would he do, Facebook-message me?
The guy at the deli sold me this, and David Chang’s publisher didn’t exactly ask to see my family tree when I bought his cookbooks. White people have not historically oppressed Korean people nearly as much as other folks, but I don’t know enough about the history of the Korean War to make a definitive ruling here.
Notice that there are WAY more eggs and kimchi than there is toast. I’d want to toast more bread to get the right balance, but do I really need the extra carbs?
I’m trying to lose weight, ostensibly because I’m worried about my blood pressure, but really it’s because I want to lose weight while I still can.
According to popular media, in about two weeks I’m going to have to accept whatever my body looks like and fits into and just accept it gracefully.
I picture myself manning the grill in a flawlessly tailored, flowing and spotless white linen suit at my birthday cookout, the one my amazing girlfriend is throwing for me in her backyard.
She knows that’s what I love to do, cook for the people I love that are around me. She wants to do it because she loves the same thing and me, too.
The suit shows off my newly trimmed physique, the result of a careful focus on not only what I eat, but why I eat it. Somehow, the suit repels soot and barbecue sauce and highlights an abdomen that is not an “ew, too fussy” six-pack.
I am wearing this white suit, surrounded by people I love and next to a woman that loves me tremendously for both who I want to be and who I am right now. In the second half of my life, I will be able to internalize this and truly accept it, and eventually, maybe by the end of the second half of my life, be able to love myself without external markers of success.
Eat the eggs and the toast. Now get to work, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Just figure out who you are today and go be it.