Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meat Freezer - The North Korean One-Percenter’s Must Have Appliance

Freezer Unit on the left – chock full of gifted meat

Kitchens of western one-percenters' households are equipped with the now compulsory wine fridge, some of which can hold over 200 bottles. Homes of South Korea’s wealthy include high tech kimchee refrigerators, which store the pungent side dishes in perfect aging conditions and keep the fermented smells separate from less noisome fresh produce. In ever-peculiar North Korea, the must-have item for the country’s political elite (is there any other kind?) is the meat freezer, referred to locally as ‘geukdonggi’. As detailed in this insightful article by New Focus International, the good folks who bring reports of North Korea to the rest of the world, a geukdonggi is vital to properly store the meats and foodstuffs that are received as bribes from citizens in need of favor from the bureaucracy. And because a “minimum of a piglet in the meat’s weight or value” is required for the gift to be constituted as a bribe, the freezer units need to be of industrial size and strength. These sturdy appliances are also referred to as a ‘rich man’s safe’ or ‘bribe storage box.’
As sad as the existence of these household meat storage units are in a country as socially unequal as North Korea, it may be a comfort to consider that circumstances could be much worse. Whereas every well-equipped western kitchen has a salad spinner, at least North Korea’s military elite have not yet caught on to placing orders for the ultimate convenience appliance – the Ronco SpinUr – a table top, plug-and-play uranium centrifuge.

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