I think this has been one of my favorite semesters in college yet.
Actually, it’s been my favorite school semester, period. It’s also been my toughest semester so far, but I loved all my classes, and though I have had to drop out of my art class, I’m thankful for all the wonderful lessons I’ve learned.
One of the classes I took this semester was Gender in Korean Film and Literature.
That title is a misnomer. It suggests Korean drama and fun and cultural levity. But nope, it was a seriously DEPRESSING class, because that’s how Korean women history is like. It’s freaking depressing.
It’s painful and heartbreaking to realize how much suffering Korean women has endured throughout the centuries. Not only do they have to conform to Confucian values of serving men their whole lives, they are also always the primary targets for violence.
When the Japanese occupied Korea, they hauled of thousands and thousands of Korean women off as “comfort women,” raping, mutilating and abandoning them. The ones who survived returned to Korea and had to face that additional shame and negative stigma from their own countrymen who saw them as unclean national disgrace.
And then after World War II, the U.S. forces swooped over. Many women, driven by destitute from the wars, sold their bodies to U.S. soldiers in order to bring some food to their families’ tables. Well, obviously they were condemned as sluts who sold their soul to another nation.
Even women who tried to earn money the “right way” by working at factories were abused and mistreated. Think the Triangle Factory Women, except much worse.
I can list on and on, but I don’t want to turn this into a screed. Because as I read through all the academic papers and books written on this subject, I also saw the danger of how many feminists and nationalists treat these women as a collective group by metaphorizing or politicizing them to their own agenda.
Even more than poor, abused women, each of them are individuals. I just didn’t feel like many texts did them justice; I felt like they drowned out the individual’s voices and turned them into an image of political lobbying.
As much as I cried while watching the documentaries, it also made me more determined to be a good journalist— to be a reporter who approaches people separately as unique, singular individuals and give voice to the people.
It also made me wonder who I defined myself as. A woman? A Korean? A college student? A Christian? An Anorexic in recovery? Or perhaps all of those things: a formerly eating disordered Korean Christian woman in college?
The truth is that we all are guilty of constricting ourselves into labels. And we act (or try to act) according to how we define ourselves.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing. But I think depending on the label and how strictly we adhere to it, we might be missing out on a lot of new discoveries of both ourselves and other people.
So. In lieu of that, I’m planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
I’m not Mexican, I’m not a U.S. citizen (yet!), and I don’t even like Mexican food. But I do love food and history, and I say I can definitely enjoy what a Mexican-American who loves Mexican food can enjoy.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I didn’t even remember Cinco de Mayo was coming until Alex, a representative of CHI-CHI’S®, La Victoria®, Herdez® and Doña María® offered me to sample some authentic Mexican products to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But hey, I had to start out my post and lead into this review some way.
- CHI-CHI’S® Flour Tortilla – Burrito Size
- La Victoria® Suprema Salsa – Medium
- Herdez® Sliced Jalapeños
- Doña María® Mole- Original
Breakfast Mole Quesadilla
- 2 flour tortillas
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ready-serve mole
- canned sliced jalapenos
- Mexican-blend cheese
- salsa (optional)
Spread each side of the tortillas thinly with the mole. Set aside.
Heat up a sauté pan. Fry up the onions in a bit of mole sauce. Once the onions are cooked and fragrant, pour in the eggs and let it cook into a frittata-ish…kind of thing.
Once the eggs are almost cooked, slide the egg-pie onto one of the tortillas. Top with as much or little of the jalapenos as you want on top, sprinkle with lots and lots and lots and lots of cheese. Ain’t no quesadilla without a shitload of cheese.
Top with the other tortilla. Heat up a flat pan and toast each side of the quesadilla until nice and golden on the outside and the cheese is completely melted.
Cut into quarters. Serve immediately with a side of salsa.
This may sound incredulous to you, but it’s actually the first time I’ve made a quesadilla. I told you I never did like Mexican food much.
Or at least, I thought I didn’t. Damn it, this quesadilla was freaking GOOD! The flour tortilla crisped up really nice and golden on the outside, while maintaining a nice chewy texture inside.
And boy, you can’t forget the cheese. The best thing about quesadillas is always the cheese.
I loved the jalapenos, too. They were actually quite spicy, making my tongue salivate with its piquant spark, and combined really nicely with the more mellow-tasting eggs.
This made a big-ass quesadilla and I could only eat three-quarters of it. A power breakfast indeed. If the French army had had this for breakfast, maybe they wouldn’t have lost.
By the way, everybody should try mole if you haven’t done so already. I’ve made an unconventional peanut butter mole before, and while that was lovely, Dona Maria’s traditional mole provided as much good taste with less time spent blending and cooking.
Okay, this post has been all over the place, from Korean women history to feminism to a lecture about self-identity to Mexican food. Probably because I just finished my paper on Korean women and plastic surgery, my final print article on Asian-Americans and eating disorders, and my final broadcast package on food trucks.
Question of the Day: What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks you who you are? Do you think you label yourself?
Oh, and if you had the same four Mexican products I received…what would you have made?