Oh The Drama

The most spellbinding food show isn’t on the Food Network, but on Drama Fever – Dae Jang Geum or Jewel in the Palace.  Cutthroat competition, food action shots, political intrigue, all set in Korea’s royal court of the 1500s.  Our heroine, Dae Jang Geum, sets out to become the Highest Kitchen Lady upon the dying wishes of her mother.  Through hard work, curiosity, and general good luck, she succeeds in working her way through the royal kitchen.  With each episode, she is on the verge of getting kicked out of the palace but subsequently prevails, being talented and pure of heart.

Soap opera drama aside, it is breathtaking to watch the army of period dressed women prepare glorious meals for the king and his court.  The precise and rhythmic chopping, the parsing of mysterious powders and sauces, agility and knowledge coming together in beautifully orchestrated feasts.  There is much talk of the healing purposes and properties of food, elevating cooking beyond a basic necessity – it is entertaining and intoxicating.

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