Friday, November 16, 2007

Cold Weather and Ice Cream

I'm sitting in on the floor in my bedroom on a Saturday surfing the net. It's cold here now so I have the ondol, floor heating, on to keep me and my feline companion warm ;-) I saw this article on the JoongAngIlbo website: Weather frightful, ice cream delightful and it made me think about some of the eating habits here in Korea.

It is true. In Korea hot foods are eaten in the summer and cold foods are eaten in the winter. This is not a strict rule, but it comes from this:

... people believed that they could overcome heat by eating hot food in summer and cold by eating cold food in winter.
Korean Food: Nangmyeong (Seoul government website)

I've been here for awhile, but I still flinch a bit when the temperature drops; the wind kicks up; the winter gear like wraps, gloves, scarves and hats are on; but I see my students exiting en masse from the store on campus eating ice cream. This is very common. I notice the frequency of it now because my office is in a building with a store on the first floor. I have to walk to another building to teach my classes. That means, at least, six times a day I'm entering and exiting past that store.

Since the temperature dropped there hasn't been a day where I haven't seen students with ice cream. It's just an interesting cultural difference in how we think of food. I also know that ice cream is eaten year round anywhere you can find it, but here it does seem to happen more. It's just an interesting difference. It's such a clear difference that my search for an ice cream in winter photo turned up very few options and, yes, I searched in English.

*Note - click over to the article if you want. It's written by a British reporter who'd clearly never been to a Cold Stone Creamery before. That, for me, wasn't all that exciting because Cold Stone Creamery is an American chain, so I know the concept of the business. Plus, it's also a review of a cafe I never bother with, so eh. However, it gave me an idea and, for that, it's worth linking.

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