Kimchi column an attempt at tasteless humor

WEST BRATTLEBORO — I read Susie Crowther's column with great interest. In particular, the effects of probiotics on our body, especially during seasonal affective disorder, was informative.

Introducing kimchi as an antidote to stress was rather catchy, but I find it unreliable. If Susie's assertion is correct, the Koreans should feel no stress considering the amount of kimchi an average Korean consumes

At the same time, I have the following comments about her article as a consumer of kimchi for over 50 years:

1. The kimchi photo appeared to be not like kimchi at all. It rather appeared to be regular pickles made of assorted vegetables.

The color of kimchi - its bright, reddish color deriving mainly from red peppers - separates it from any other pickled vegetables or fermented vegetables. I did not see this distinction from the photo.

2. The basic kimchi ingredients she cited from Sandor Katz's book misses some important ingredients, mainly red pepper and fish sauce. It is no secret that kimchi has a strong flavor, mainly coming from the mix of garlic and fish (or shrimp) sauce during the fermentation period. This flavor is the essence of kimchee: a spicy, strong, and unmistakable taste.

3. I find Susie's quote from her husband about the smell of kimchi as a “a dead rat rotting in the house” inappropriate, unprofessional, and an insult to the national dish of Korea. I do not know what a rotting rat smells like, but it is not kimchi.

I am aware of an expression about the strong cheese smell of Camembert cheese or blue cheese as simply a strong and distinct odor. But to characterize the national food of a proud country as smelling like a dead rat is grossly unfair and insulting to every Korean at home or abroad.

While the author may have been trying to promote kimchi as a health food, the tone of her article really distracts from her intent. She owes an apology to her readers and everyone who might be deterred from tasting kimchi by her attempt at such tasteless humor.

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