There are no really great Korean restaurants in greater Boston. There are a few that are OK, but there are none that can compare to John's cooking, his mom's cooking, or the Korean restaurant that my in-laws frequent near Detroit. Plus none of the local joints are convenient to where we live. So when I have Korean cravings, I mostly suffer, and wait for the next time I see the in-laws.
This time, though, it was all getting to be too much. I was going out of my mind with a need for Korean food. The cravings I've had lately are all tied up with memories of John and a realization that when John died, his presence was not the only void that was created in my life. I don't really eat Korean food anymore. I've stopped reading nonfiction, a genre that, thanks to John, I read frequently when we were together. I almost never turn on the Food Network now. We can go for months without having chips in the house. I couldn't begin to tell you what's going on with football this season, college or pro.
It's not that I don't enjoy those things anymore, it's just that they were really John Things that I learned to enjoy through him and associate with his presence. I was the driver behind certain activities that we did, John was the driver of others. I've taken over ownership of some of the John Things, but there are others that have fallen by the wayside.
The Korean food issue is one, though, that I need to get under my control. Not only do I miss the food so very much, but I want Maddie and Riley to explore and hopefully appreciate Korean cuisine. Food and culture have such an incredibly strong bond. While it's an admittedly small thing, sharing a love of Korean food is one bit of John's heritage that I can give to the twins.
So last night I decided to take matters into my own hands. My Korean and Korean-o-phile readers are probably going to recoil in horror at what I ate, which is a combination of something John loved (which in and of itself is not particularly Korean, I don't think) and something you'd actually eat at a Korean restaurant.
Here's what I did. I cooked up some rice. I washed a fresh head of red-leaf lettuce and kept the leaves intact. I drained a can of tuna. I opened a new container of gochujang. And then I feasted on lettuce wraps.
I was like some kind of crazy starved beast. Those lettuce wraps tasted so good. John's go-to dinner was tuna mixed with rice, and we often ate just rice/gochujang lettuce wraps as a side dish with our meals, so I just rolled (ha!) both concepts into one complete dinner. Maddie and Riley tried them; Maddie was approving, while Riley reserved judgment. I think I'm going to eat those for dinner every night for the next week, at least. There's something about the taste of gochujang that is so satisfying to me. It's the perfect blend of heat and flavor. MMM.
Guess what I packed for lunch today? Oh, yeah.