Burning Your Mouth to Spite Your Heart
I need something that is going to tingle, tell me the food is alive. Because I want to be alive, too.
This is,a column by Noah Cho about how food and cooking can inform our identities.
It’s not hot enough. I need to suffer.
In these moments, my pores push out sweat, my heart races, and I do not think about the other things weighing on my heart. I concentrate only on the next bite—not wanting to stop, addicted to the flames scorching the roof of my mouth. Sometimes I can even feel it in my teeth as I grit down, closing my eyes and letting myself simply feel.
Noah Cho teaches middle-school English in the San Francisco Bay Area. His writing has appeared on NPR's CodeSwitch, Shondaland, The Atlantic, and The Toast. He spends most of his free time going on hikes with and taking photos of his doggo, Porkchop. Find him on Twitter @noahreservation and Instagram @noahreservations
Enter your email address to receive notifications for author Noah Cho
Confirmation link sent to your email to add you to notification list for author Noah Cho
More by this author
Harabeoji’s favorite thing to eat, and the thing to which he attributed his long life, was raw garlic.
Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle’s Restaurant Critic, on Food, Fusion, and What’s Often Lost in Translation
“Dealing with someone else’s culture, someone else’s media, and trying to Americanize it is something I can’t understand.”
“I found myself dwelling on these parts of Korean culture as a way to reconnect with my identity and also the memory of my mom.”
More in this series
In her illness, Korean food was all my Polish-American mom from Jersey wanted to eat. It was all that she could bear.
Ramen is comfort food, a thing to soak up your regrets and get you through a rough day. But my favorite way to enjoy it has courted great controversy among my friends and family.