Posted 23 September 2002 - 10:46 AM
I don't know where the stress goes in words like "dolsot", "banchan" and "gomasio", so I guessed. I play a bit loose with "kimchee", stressing it on the first syllable in one case, and on the last in another. Also, I have no idea whether Dalton Trumbo ever had panache. Let's say he did.
A fortnight ago, at a bistro I frequent,
I set out to order myself something piquant.
With all the panache of a young Dalton Trumbo
I hailed a waiter and ordered the gumbo.
The gumbo arrived. It was cold and translucent.
And much as I hate to be seen as a nuisance,
I yelled, "Please remove this gelatinous slop,
And bring me a bowl of your best Bibimbap!
"Bibimbap, sir?" the waiter inquired,
"And what, may I ask, did this craving inspire?
We have on our menu eclectic selections
So trendy they'd give Paul Bocouse an erection.
Our chef uses all of the latest ingredients,
Assembled on platters with utmost expedience.
The dish is just rice cooked with meat, is it not?
Is that what you mean when you say 'Bibimbap'?"
I cradled my head and silently wept.
Why was I cursed with this grossly inept
Little twerp of a waiter who calls himself "Reed",
Is all of nineteen, listens only to Creed,
And hasn't yet tasted life's bitterest dregs.
"You might as well say that an omelette's 'just eggs',"
I exclaimed in a voice that rang out like a shot:
"There's much more than that to a good Bibimbap!"
"'Bibim' means 'stir things together', and 'bap'
Is Korean for 'rice'. But it's what goes on top
Of the rice once it's boiled that makes it a dish:
Vegetables, tofu, some meat, even fish!
But first, take your dolsot (a bowl made of stone)
And get it real hot on the top of the stove.
Throw in a test grain of rice. If it pops,
You're ready to start making your Bibimbap!
Fill the hot dolsot two-thirds full of rice
Add kimchee, chopped scallion, fried tofu is nice,
Some steamed greens, perhaps microgreens, if you care,
Some red chile powder, or threads, if you dare.
Or you can use banchan, which, like DNA,
Can be combined in such wonderful ways.
At last, lay a raw or fried egg on the top,
Gomasio sprinkles -- voila! Bibimbap!
The waiter, impressed by my bold exposition
Retreated, post haste, to the restaurant's kitchen,
From whence, in a heartbeat, some figures emerged,
And seventeen men at my table converged.
They lifted me up like a speck of kimchee
And bodily threw me right out on the street.
I picked myself up. Like a hero, I rallied,
And marched right back in, and ordered a salad.