By HyunCheon Kim
Translated SeungYeon Woo
At 10:40 a.m., as soon as the lunch bell rang, students poured into the cafeteria full of excitement and expectation. They lined up and patiently waited for their orders, and headed to the tables with
Bulgogi, Tteokgalbi, OiMoochim (Seasoned Cucumber) and Hyunmi Bob (Brown Rice) on their plates. Most of them were not familiar with the use of chopsticks; however, by using forks, they rapidly finished their lunch.
“This is something I’ve never tried before. Especially, when I eat Bulgogi and rice mixed together, it is very unique and delicious,” said Jordan Smith and he added, “I want to try it again next time.”
Also, Mr. Rice, another student who finished the lunch in a twinkling said, “The food was awesome. I especially liked Bulgogi. I felt that Bulgogi is healthier than American style steak. Althoughit’s a little hard to use chopsticks for me.”
This happened last Monday, Jan. 23rd, in the cafeteria of Wellesley High School. Starting from that day, the school has decided to put Korean food as one of their lunch menu items for students. Furthermore, seven more high schools in Wellesley are also planning to put Korean food on their menus. The decision was suggested by Guhkee Park, who belongs to Chart Well, the company that controls meals for the schools in Wellesley.
The director, Keri Dubois-Gould, said, “I first decided to put out Korean food for lunch in order to celebrate Korean New Year’s Day. Students were very fond of the menu, not only because of how the food looks but also because of the taste. Soon, seven other public schools in Wellesley will also provide Korean food. All this is the result of Park’s contribution.”
Also, students at Wellesley High showed interest and curiosity about Choco Pie and Korean Solomon’s Seal Tea, which were provided as a dessert. Students said they already knew about Korean food, since it was on their lunch menu a month ago, and they had been expecting much.
Unlike other days, the pizza and burger section was very empty and quiet because most of the students flocked to the Korean food section.
Not only the students, but also the teachers enjoyed the food very much. One of the teachers, Christina, said, “I love Korean food. I’ve eaten many Korean foods with my Asian friends and I frequently go to the Korean restaurants in Allston.”
Five months ago, Park started to manage the deli section of the Wellesley High cafeteria. While working, she was unhappy to see leftover ingredients in the storeroom wasting away every day. Among the leftover ingredients, there were soy sauce, sesame oil, spinach and many others that could be used to make Korean food. Thus, she thought about making Korean food in order to reduce thrown out ingredients and also to introduce Korean food.
Also, Park worried about students’ health that can be harmed by high-calorie American meals. So she decided to use honey instead of sugar and add a lot of vegetables in Bulgogi.
Finally, her menu becameBulgogi with a lot of vegetables, oil-reduced and marinated in Korean style Ttoekgalbi, sweet and sour Seasoned Cucumber to reduce the heaviness of meat, and healthy brown rice.
The menu was reported to the company and several head cooks agreed on the menu during the meeting. The first date to put up Korean food on the menu in Wellesley High was also decided by Park. It was January 23rd, the Korean New Year’s Day.
Park said that since last month, she has tried to inform most students she met about the new Korean lunch menu.
Park enthusiastically introduced information about Korea by borrowing Tae GukGi from Boston Korean Consulate General and preparing some information pamphlets about Korea. Also, she found the map that marks the East Sea in order to inform people that the East Sea is Korean property.
“Introducing Korea is always a proud and pleasant thing to do. I just did what I’m supposed to do as a Korean,” said Park. She also said that when she becomes a supervisor, she will have more influence and find easier ways to introduce Korean food to more American schools.
At Wellesley High, there were South Korean and North Korean national flags drawn next to each other on posters that informed about celebrating Korean New Year’s Day with Korean food.
The vice principal of the school said, “Although I never tried Korean food, I am glad to see students are really enjoying it. I assume that Korean food is very delicious. Celebrating foreign New Year’s Day becomes more meaningful to students when they experience foreign culture such as learning to use chopsticks.”
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지