Do you like hot peppers? The ones that are not hot? You can eat many hot peppers if you pick them in the school garden. Don’t worry, these hot peppers are not hot.
This was how lunch began one day in July.
Eat quickly so we will get the best hot peppers.
Aside from being daunted about the task of eating my steaming, hot rice and soup at a pace, I wasn’t sure that I wanted any peppers. I certainly don’t want them if they are going to set my mouth on fire.After what could only have been four of five minutes we were walking out of the cafeteria, still chewing on the last of the rice.
Past the smoking teachers slumped by the back door, I was shown the school garden. It is not so much a garden but a thin, vegetable patch that runs down the entire length of the school. There were ‘hot’ peppers aplenty to be harvested and armed with paper envelopes we got straight to work. Once the envelopes were bursting at the seams we walked into our office where my coteachers proceeded to hold each pepper to their noses. This practice was purely for my benefit; to distinguish the hot peppers from the not so hot peppers.
Upon taste testing it turned out that some of my special quota of not hot, hot peppers were in reality, edible. Some of my pepper pile could have been mistake for dynamite, the flavour was that explosive. I found myself coughing, spluttering and running to the water cooler. I can only imagine how hot the real, hot peppers were. Clearly, I am not accustomed to the Korean taste for spicy, hot foods.
There was something rather magical about doing a spot of gardening at school though. It is not something I have ever done in my lunch break anywhere else.
I may have left some of my quota in a compost bin. It was an accident. I promise.