Today I’m dedicating this post to a beloved foodie, whom I met during the first week of my freshman year in the high school cafeteria. This was where a large group of friends from various junior highs gathered on plastic & wooden tables, eating terrible public school lunches. I was the only one in the group that came from a private school who knew absolutely no one in my grade, yet I was welcomed to sit with them. While the group was very large, we had pockets of mini cliques. One of those cliques was a group of four: Kim, Viviane, Vy, & me. We had similar schedules, so we walked over to Vy’s house after school, waiting to get picked up by our parents. While we waited, we often made instant noodles & gushed over our attractive schoolmates, The OC, & celebrity gossip. We formed our own little girls clubhouse on Clubhouse Lane, bonding, laughing, & slurping complex carbohydrates. We called ourselves The Fatty 4 & dubbed our after school dates Noodle Parties.
As we got older, one by one, we obtained licenses to drive, which meant branching out beyond the realm of instant noodles. We ate sushi, shabu, Thai, Mexican, seafood, everything – we just ate everything. We almost always gathered at a restaurant to catch up & feed our bellies. We had a lot in common, but were also vastly different. We shared an ethnic heritage, an understanding of Vietnamese immigrant culture, but above all, we shared voracious appetites. We were foils of one another: Vy & I were more adept at planning while Kim & Viviane were much more spontaneous. Vy & I knew we wanted marriage & kids way down the road, while Kim & Viviane debated whether they could handle the commitment. Kim & Viviane were more likely to be the life of the party, while Vy & I approached others with caution. While we had many differences, ups & downs, we always reveled over great food & company. We had an appetite for adventure & ate & tried new food all the time. While I couldn’t tell you what Kim’s ultimate favorite food was, I can tell you that she certainly loved noodles, seafood, meat, & her vegetables…so pretty much everything.
Blast from the Past
Exactly one year ago, Kim was brutally beaten to death by three women, two of which have been found guilty & are serving out their 6 year sentences. It’s shocking that these women were responsible for the death of a human being, but will serve less time in prison than someone caught trafficking marijuana. While her family & friends are outraged by the slap on the wrist these women received, many are also relieved her assailants were brought to “justice.” Her death & high profile case garnered a lot of attention & frustration concerning the bystander effect–a large crowd of people witnessed her beating, many did nothing–& bullying. Kim was blamed by her attackers’ attorneys for the events that led up to her death, but I find that it’s a straw man argument, akin to blaming women for getting raped due to their “poor decisions” for drinking alcohol or wearing a “provocative” dress. No woman goes out for drinks hoping to get raped, just as Kim did not go out drinking with her friends asking for a fight that’d lead to her death. Her story was featured on Dr. Phil, highlighting the cruel nature of bystanders who would rather film, jeer, & laugh while being entertaining by 3 girls attacking 1 on the ground rather than jumping in to help. I don’t think Kim’s “poor decisions” led to her death, 3 girls & a crowd of useless people led to her death.
With all of that being said, I bring to you a recipe created with Kim in mind. My Miso Shirataki Noodle Soup recipe is dedicated in honor of Kim’s memory & her love of noodle soups. She had a memorable laugh, a contagious smile, & hilarious “what-the-what” faces. She was feisty, sassy, yet sweet & thoughtful. She had a thirst for life, adventure, & an appetite for knowledge, fun, & delicious sustenance. She stood up for what she believed in & defended her friends. Kim’s death left many of us heartbroken, but her memories will always leave our hearts warmer. I still see Kim in my dreams sometimes, making the reality of waking consciousness painful. If there’s one thing I know for certain about Kim, it’s that she wouldn’t want us to be crying into our bowls of soup; she’d want us to be happy, healthy, & satiated. We all love & miss you so much, Kim.
Miso Shirataki Noodle Soup
P.S. I ambitiously wanted to post 3 recipes today, but lacked natural light due to the winter sun. I’ll post the other two when I get a chance & they’ll come with a funny Kim story.