“I don’t like baked beans,” our lodger told us the day he moved in. There’s not much chance of our serving up food like that, we assured him, as we mentally scratched cassoulet from the menu for the week.
We were confused, though. We hadn’t imagined that baked beans played a big part in Korean cuisine. “They don’t,” Seung Jun said. “But that’s what my last host family kept giving me to eat.”
He had stayed with another couple for a month before asking the language school’s accommodation office if he could switch home. Their house was on the edge of Brighton and the long bus ride was seriously cutting into his time in bed of a morning, he told them.
So they sent him our way, as we’re just a 5-minute walk from the college.
I told a friend about the baked beans comment the other day. “What do you give your guests, then?” he asked. “Bœuf bourguignon?”
“Well, yes,” I replied, blushing. “We had that the other night with a truffle-flavoured mash.”
He laughed. “No wonder you are never short of students wanting to stay.”
“I have heard of families wolfing down steak in one room while their guests pick at a microwave lasagne in another”
I wondered if he had a point, so I asked Seung Jun what his classmates were being served. I knew he’d know – they all photograph every meal and compare pictures the following day.
“Ready meals,” he replied hesitantly.
All hosts are told they should give the guests the same food as they have and that they should eat together. However, I have heard of families wolfing down steak in one room while their guests pick at a microwave lasagne in another.
I figure that making meals from scratch at home often works out to be cheaper than buying in ready meals – plus, they are a lot healthier.
Seung Jun told us last night that his friends are jealous of him for having stayed here. What a nice thing to say.
Trouble is, he leaves us today – he’s finished at the language school. Our next guest is Spanish. Quite what he’ll make of our attempts to cook French cuisine remains to be seen.
Mind you, if he doesn’t like it, we can always have a microwave macaroni cheese on standby…