Jennifer is the youngest regular in the Stoned Soup kitchen. Young enough to have grown up with video games and the internet, she is just what they are talking about when they created the label, "Digital Native." While, the rest of us know our way around a web browser and everyone but Frank has a smart phone, Jennifer relates to computers as easily as a dolphin swims through water. Her fingers dancing over the keyboard and touch pad while she finds non-porn search results for "Hot Fudge" is amazing. The keyboard ballet is all the more impressive when you realize that she is one-handed - the other is carrying on three texting conversations and play Candy Crush on her tablet.
I was watching her play some video game the other day where the screen flashed with bright colors waging war across a dismal background. Her left hand fingers flicked at the keyboard so fast that I couldn't make out what keys they hit. Meanwhile, her right hand nudged a special gamer-mouse in precise patterns. There was a little gauge on the screen that indicated peaks of 147 APM.
"Is that good?" I asked her once.
"It's OK," she answered without looking up from the screen. "When I was in Korea, I was the slowest player around. Back here, I'm fast enough."
"You lived in Korea?" Cook asked, passing through the game room on his way outside for a smoke. Jennifer's gauge dropped into the low hundreds while Cook interrogated her about her experiences there - especially what she ate.
Jennifer was working as an eSports reporter embedded in a pro StarCraft training room. This is a house where pro players live while they hone their skills at one of the popular games. The round the clock focus on perfection produces the world's best players, but it leaves no time to explore local food and culture.
"There was one thing I remember," Jennifer managed to say in the midst of a particularly frenetic blast of colors and sounds coming from the computer. "They had these little fried bread things with cinnamon in them. Totally delicious!"
Cook had to wait for the game to end (Jennifer lost but she said it was a gg. No, I don't know what that means either) before he could get more details about the snack food.
Jennifer tapped a few queries into Google before coming up with a Wikipedia page for Hotteok - a kind of Korean street food. Armed with this information, Cook went back the kitchen and Jennifer looked around for another match.
By afternoon, Cook appeared with a tray of fried doughy disks embossed with the Stoned Soup logo. He wrapped each one in a bit of parchment paper and handed them around. I took a crunchy bite that oozed sugar and cinnamon. The bread provided a satisfying chewiness that released the sweetness of the filling in gentle bursts. The tell-tale taste of Mango Kush rounded out the flavor and promised to make for a relaxing few hours.
Cook was in one of his coy moods, but when the weed kicked in, it was easy enough to get the recipe out of him. The dough was a simple baking soda leavened pastry that he made by mixing 3 cups of flour with a teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of sugar and a cup of milk. The milk had been simmered with a few grams of Mango Kush shake and strained. This makes a dense dough that gets kneaded until it is smooth and elastic, then set aside to rest for at least 15 minutes.
While the dough rested, Cook mixed 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of white sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. I raised an eyebrow at the revelation that there was still cinnamon in the kitchen after Frank's disastrous attempt to take the cinnamon challenge. Cook shrugged and pointed out that Frank has an infinite capacity to find danger in the kitchen, so there was no point in childproofing his ingredients. Since there are no actual children in the Stoned Soup kitchen, I see his point. You parents out there might want to be more careful.
Cook divided the dough into 6 pieces that he pressed into rough circles on a floured surface. He spooned the filling into the middle of each circle before pinching the edges up until the filling was sealed in. Finally, he used a rolling pin to flatten each Hotteok into a half inch thick flat disk. He fried the disks in oil until they were brown and crunchy.
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