Sunday, November 3, 2013

The History Guys take on Korean BBQ

     I know that I have mentioned many times that I am a student of History.  I am a forty-two year old college senior, and I am a self-admitted History geek.  True story, no doubt.  Since my most recent life journey began at the University of Alabama at Birmingham I have been very fortunate with the people that I have met.  In addition to awesome Professors (shout out to Drs. Ward, Demshuk, Keitt, Jefferson, and Corley), I have been accepted into an exclusive club of History aficionado's and all around great guys.  I will refer to this group simply as "The History Guys."  There has been many a great time spent with these fine fellows, and I would like to introduce everyone to them.  First off there is Carl.  Carl is of Irish descent and let's just say he has an extreme fondness for Asian culture.  He quite possibly is the most free-spirited guy I have met in quite some time.  Positive outlook from the jump, and very colorful to say the least.  It has been inspiring to know a guy like Carl.  He reminds a person not to sweat the small stuff.  He has been quoted as saying, "Don't worry, C's get degrees."  Next would be my partner in crime, fighting those Environmental Sciences, the man who was once a Friar in Spain, in addition to his stint as an ancient Greek historian who wrote the history of the Second Trial of Socrates, and a well known Satisfry Revolutionary, my main man Tim.  Tim is about 7 foot tall, and could have had a great career as a professional wrestler if he would have chosen to do so.  However, Tim is a gentle giant and it is my pleasure to call him friend.  Next would be the President of the George Wallace fan club.  The man who believes that Ronald Reagan should receive sainthood, and who is on a first name basis with half the professors in the History Department, Kerry.  Kerry was the first person that I befriended in my journey as a student in Dr. Corley's New South class last fall.  Great guy, and he was my main adversary in the Athens vs. Sparta reacting to the past game.  He played the role of a Dirty Oligarch to perfection.  Last, but certainly not least, is Charles.  Charles may just be the smartest one of the whole lot.  He has been an extremely convincing Socratic, and a leading member of the Spanish Audiencia.  Quite accomplished.  I truly expect to see Charles on the cover of "Fortune" magazine one day.  He's also the man with the plan when it comes to the ladies in the front row.  You know it's true Charles!  It was a dark and STORMY night (Inside joke, sorry, Charles will get it though.)  Ok, enough with the introductions, it's time for our story.  Recently, the History guys and I have been on a culinary adventure.  We've had Indian food several times, breakfast and lunch at the Commons on the Green, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and most recently an excursion into the unknown......Korean BBQ.  Pray for our safe return.
     We finished up an epic discussion about the Grachii and Sulla coming along and putting the Roman Republic in the toilet, so to speak, in Dr. Ward's Rome class.  We have been talking about doing this Korean BBQ thing for a while, but it just hasn't happened.  However, on this day, for better or worse it was going to go down.  We arrived at the restaurant, and I immediately noticed that this place doubled as a video store/grocery store/health food vendor, and who knows what else.  The eating area was empty, and this always concerns me.  We were seated abruptly by our hostess, and given menus.  The menus were in a different language, Korean I would guess, but thankfully an English description of the food was underneath each item.  The funny part was listening to Kerry attempt to actually pronounce these food items, upon ordering.  I didn't try to say the name, I just pointed to what I wanted.  I do that at Chinese restaurants too.  I always say, "I'll have the #13."  When I pointed to my selection, the lady said, "No.  You can't have that."  I looked at her and said, "Well, give me the one that I can have."  She did.  We sat there and talked for a while, and then a funny sounding music started.  I don't know how to say this, but it sounded like a Bow Chica Wow Wow....in Korean.  I felt a little uncomfortable, because I've heard stories about these kinds of things.  Eventually, food was brought to the table.  Appetizers, I guess.  Green stuff.  Mushroom thingies.  Some red stuff.  And other stuff I couldn't identify.  That wasn't the biggest problem.  There was not a fork to be found at the table.  Only chopsticks.  I don't do chopsticks.  Carl tried to give me a remedial lesson in Chopstick Science 101, but I failed.  It's also hard to stab food with a slender piece of wood.  I was able to locate a spoon, and I used that.  Next, the lady came out and plugged up what looked like a Wok right beside me.  She said, "You cook your food."  This came as a surprise, because I can't cook American food, much less any type of foreign cuisine.  This fact didn't seem to matter though, because she told me I could have into this Wok thing, gave me the food, and handed me some tongs.  Yep, here I was...hanging with my crew The History Guys, and cooking Korean Pork....I think it was pork.  I hope it was pork.  The look on my face must have expressed my incompetence, and the lady helped me through the cooking process.  I was still worried about botulism, but I was strong.  I wondered how exactly I was going to eat this stuff, but I need not worry!  She brought me some lettuce and some rice with some brown sauce of unknown origin.  She showed me how to build these lettuce sandwiches, and I did the best I could.  You are supposed to use chopsticks, but I used my hands.  They must not have forks everywhere in the world.  I have to say, though, the food was wonderful.  Awesome even.  Really good stuff.  All my History brothers enjoyed their food also, and we had discussions about Life, Philosophy, The Greatness of Sparta, and Charles' allergic reaction to dark and STORMY nights. (Inside joke, again, sorry.). We finally finished and went to pay, and I think I got to hear a guy curse in Korean when his wife, our lovely hostess, went off on him at the checkout.  All in all it was an awesome culinary adventure.  Eat your heart out Anthony Bourdain or even the Bizarre Foods guy, because there were ox tails on the menu.  I don't do ox tails, sorry.
     Since I have introduced these guys I wanted to share one other experience that happened on Friday.  Kerry and I had told Carl that there was a young lady we wanted him to meet.  We had seen her many times, and she looked to be exactly Carl's type.  Carl and I had eaten breakfast that morning, and we met up with Kerry at our home away from home, Heritage Hall, and sure enough the young lady appeared as if it was fate or something.  This day she walked straight up to me, and said, "Do you want a cupcake?"  Without missing a beat I responded, "No, but I bet this guy right here would like one"...pointing to Carl.  Carl who is diabetic, responded, "No, I can't eat sweets."  She left rejected still with cupcake in hand.  What are the odds?  That's how it goes I guess.  Matchmaker I'm not, although she did fit with Carl's affinity for Asian culture.  I kind of feel like the Pater Familias when it comes to my friends The History Guys, because I am about 20 years their senior.  Maybe, next time we can find a Greek restaurant and invite the cupcake girl to come with us.  I've got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.
     Well, there you go.  The adventures of the History Guys!  At least one of the adventures.  I have a feeling this may be a recurring theme on the ole Blog.  There are always some interesting things going on with History Folk.  In fact, Carl is currently trying to get a job in Japan teaching, Tim is looking at graduate school and continuing his expertise in 15th Century England or was it 14th Century, Kerry wants to head up the upcoming campaign to elect Hillary Clinton President.  Just kidding.  He wants Dr. Corley's office in the History Department.  Charles was actually looking at getting into Law Enforcement, and he would me make a fine Officer.  That's one area that I know extremely well.  Let's hope he doesn't run into any dark and STORMY nights while on patrol. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)  That's all I got.