Of course you have to pay for the recipe by reading a story. Or skip this tragedy, awesomely crispy, spicy wings are at the end…
There are way too many days like the one, uhh…son of bitch, I can’t recall what day it was – yesterday? Monday?* Whatever, I got up relatively late, around ten of six, but the house was as peaceful as a morgue. The muffled hum of water pipes as E showered upstairs added the soothing, ambient noise of bodies getting prepped in the cadaver-rinsing room. Time to write.
I got a whole fifteen minutes in before the calm was crushed with my daughter’s early arrival downstairs, big fat attitude in tow. She was the first performer on site, coming to turn the coroner’s quiet into a clacking, crying, cacophonous fucking clown party.
Daddy, I want juice!
I want some TV!
I don’t want “Handy Manny” I want “Caillou”!!!
Noo, daddy! I said I want “Handy Mannny”
Jacko stumbled to the living room around seven. Funny that neither can sleep very late yet both are pretty lousy morning people. Elsie complains and accuses; Jack argues and whines. A musical duet that makes you want to stuff your ears full of thumbtacks. Regardless of their varying angles of issues it doesn’t take long for the anxiety they inflict on a father trying to work into the enragement of a dude who can’t get anything done.
Daddy, Elsie said I’m stupid
Dad, Dad, Daddy, Dad!!! She just hit me!
All transgressions listed for me in his morning simpers and sniffles. I stare at him, all sympathy gone. He wrestles and trades insults with boys his own size then droops his shoulders with tears in his eyes for getting picked on by his baby sister. Are you fucking kidding me?
Jack, just go in your room and hide from her then, OK? Is it really that important for you to cry and whine every damn morning? What are you, two years old?
I cringe whenever that last line escapes my mouth. It belonged to my mother, and probably every other adult from my childhood. I’m in full empathy with ma now, but something about calling a kid, who is acting like a baby, a baby seems counterproductive. Still, it slips out now and then, and this time I just stuck by theme and told them One more thing outta either of you and you’re both going to your rooms until you learn to behave… Yeeeesh, I was stilling channeling my mom.
But behave they did, although the noise and interruptions never ceased. I don’t think I had a full ten minutes over two hours without some assault on my concentration. Jack begged permission to play his DSi over Elsie’s request for new batteries in her camera. He gets the go ahead and she sticks her re-powered camera on the counter and walks away from it. He wants cereal and milk – I tell him to get it himself. She wants rolls of mortadella for breakfast – soon as I serve them she tells me she asked for cereal too. She wants chalk, gets chalk, leaves chalk to go do something else. She can’t find the right socks. He needs a big ol’ pat on the freaking back for shutting of the DSi after 15 minutes all on his own. Elsie wants to call Mommy. She wants more juice, didn’t like her cereal and wants the motherflippin’ fuddiddlin’ cold cuts back and sticks her fist in her mouth just to show me then pulls out a handful of drool to drip on the floor. Jack wants the stapler and tells me, for the tenth time, how earthquakes are killing all the panda bears in China…
You know what? You wanna know what? Fuck pandas! Screw those fat, monochromatic, bamboo munching, slow gestating-single offspring, restricted habitat dipshits. Screw all creatures because amid the cyclone of kiddie interference the fucking animal kingdom had also joined the assault on my mental wellbeing. One cat was circling my laptop looking for attention while the other knocked shit off the countertops. And during the whole morning my semi-senile, deaf hound kept barking to go out only to turn back to the door immediately and woof to come in back in. The one time I dragged her to a far end of the backyard, to put her barks in the distance, I came back to find our lovey-dovey little calico sitting on my keyboard. Don’t know how her cuddly little belly and kitty feet managed to do the out-fucking-standing trick, but the monitor’s display was turned around: fucking sideways. I tried every button, including all those decorative F-Nothing keys, and even smooshed them all down at once with my fists. Didn’t work. With the cursor now moving along an entirely new geometry I gnawed off the entire inside surface of my cheeks trying to turn on the system restore.
Kids and pets and a day without hope. As early as midmorning the only thoughts I could entertain were about orphanages and Korean food… I couldn’t fry the cats, or the children, but later on I could bring myself a smile, and everybody else in turn, by making wings. The recipe which follows will remove the fire of hatred in your belly by igniting a happy one in your mouth.
* the reason for the haze on the specific day was that my apes were at it again early today. But adamant about finishing the post I chose to ignore** Jack’s whimpering A.M. sensitivities and Elsie’s diatribes about which juice I was ‘supposed’ to give her.
**The grain of truth: ‘ignore’ is my euphemism for telling them that if they don’t shut the hell up and let Dad finish something for a goddamned change they were in for a monster of a miserable day themselves.
Korean Fried Wings
1 small onion, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed & minced
1 tsp salt, plus more for coating
1 tsp black pepper, plus more for coating
4 tbs gojuchang (Korean Chile Paste, see note below)
4 tbs ketchup
5 tbs sugar
3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
Juice of 1 lime
Oil for deep frying
½ cup flour
2/3 cup cornstarch
- Mix onion, garlic, S&P. Toss with wings to coat. Marinate at least half an hour.
- Stir together gochujang, ketchup, sugar, sesame seeds & lime juice.
- Combine flour and cornstarch, mixing in a good pinch of salt and some pepper.
- Heat oil at 350 to a depth of 2 inches. Dredge chicken wings lighty in flour mix
- Fry in batches, 5-7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Heat oil to 375. Re-fry wings, again in batches, for 1 minute or until very crisp.
- Brush with Ketchup mix and eat.
Gojuchang, or Kochujang or some other spelling, is a Korean condiment made from red pepper powder, soybean paste and glutinous rice flour. I’ve got a couple of Korean cookbooks which have no recipes for actual gojuchang, only thinner sauces made from it. Which is fine since the mix has to be fermented once you mix it. So here are your options –
- Go to a Korean or Asian market and buy it. Easy enough if you have Asian groceries locally.
- If your market doesn’t have Korean stuff, buy Chinese Chili-Bean Paste (or Hot Bean Paste). Works pretty good.
- Make a reasonable substitute – Take a good, low-acid hot sauce like Thai Sriracha (“Rooster”) which is now common in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets, and thicken with cornstarch until pasty. Add a splash of soy sauce and there you go.