Another part of getting back into the usual groove of daily work and New York life also means that I need to figure out what books I am going to prioritize this year, whether that means reading via Kindle, paperback/hardcover, or Audible. Then, I also have to balance that out with regular news and all my podcasts. I listen to a variety of podcasts ranging from daily news, in-depth news, feature pieces, to ones that are about mental health, relationships, culture, and food. I was so excited to see that one of the latest Gastropod podcasts was about kimchi. In it, I learned that the very oldest recorded iterations of kimchi actually were not spicy at all. Any “spice” they had were from Chinese peppercorns (I’m assuming they meant Sichuanese peppercorns, but I may be wrong?). And chilies actually did not get to Korea until the Japanese got them from the Portuguese in the 1500s and then subsequently brought them to Korea. When the Koreans saw these bright red chilies, they immediately added them to their kimchi and got addicted not just by the spicy flavors but also by the fiery red color. In most Asian cultures that I am aware of, red is considered highly auspicious, so they were excited just by the mere appearance of their new and improved kimchi.
These are the types of podcasts I love: the ones that go in depth about random, quirky knowledge nuggets that are fun to know about something you are already familiar with but did not previously know. And it’s an added bonus when it’s about food.