Breakout the Kim Chee

When our sixty laying hens were looking a little peaked I bought some organic kimchi *Kim Chee) at the Houston farmers’ market b/c I had read how South Korea avoided the ‘Bird Flu’ in the 2003 SARS epidemic.

No longer in the goat business, forget the chickens, I’ll be the one scarfing down the Kim Chee.

By Jun-seok Yang
Staff Writer

“Kimchi Prevents SARS in Korea”

It’s been less than a year since SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, began to sweep away Asian region, particularly China and Hong Kong, and became everyday vocabulary. What SARS has left is severe indeed.

More than 3,000 people all around the world were infected with the epidemic disease, and almost 200 of them have died. Since most of the SARS patients were from Asia, many people thought Korea could never be free from the impact of SARS.

Despite the worries, however, there has been no officially known SARS patient here in Korea yet. Many would wonder what is keeping SARS from taking over Korea. And Kimchi could be an answer.

Kimchi, a pickled cabbage seasoned with garlic, red pepper, and ginger, is a traditional staple in Korea. Kimchi has recently broadened its boundary to other Asian countries, such as Japan. Even in Western countries, Kimchi has become fairly popular by now.

As SARS failed to penetrate Korea, some efforts to draw out the reason from Kimchi have been made. The studies about Kimchi’s preventive effects on SARS have become so compelling that LA Times once ran a feature story about Kimchi and how it prevents SARS.

Dr. Hong Chong-hoon of Rural Development Administration in Korea speaks confidently of how Kimchi can scientifically prevent SARS.

“A chemical compound called allicin in garlic is key to preventing SARS. When allin reacts to allinase, allicin is produced,” said Dr. Hong, “Allicin not only gives garlic its characteristic strong odor, but also produces anti-biotic chemicals, which is thought to help to prevent SARS.”

How garlic can be used as a remedy to flu has already been proven by Stanford Univeristy professors. SARS is speculated to be caused by Corona virus, which causes respiratory diseases such as flu. Dr. Hong explains that garlic in Kimchi could react against SARS virus in the same way as garlic does against flu virus. The spreading information of Kimchi’s effectiveness in preventing SARS coincides with the dramatic increase in Kimchi products’ sales in overseas market.

The estimated value of exported Kimchi is 90 million dollars, compared with 79.31 million dollars last year. The largest overseas Kimchi market is Japan, which imported 28.53 million dollars of Kimchi products from South Korea, followed by the United States, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Even though Kimchi is receiving better recognition than ever before, a lot of foreigners are still reluctant to try Kimchi because of its stinging smell and taste.

“To promote Kimchi in overseas market, the Kimchi producers should standardize Kimchi products. They should mark the degree of sourness of each Kimchi product,” says Dr. Hong when asked how Kimchi could be better promoted.

Zeugma the Bridge of Empires

I saw this ad for the five star Hilton hotel in Gaziantep for $27 a night. This was after the August 2016 wedding massacre, by ‘some people’ as Ilhan Omar would say but I pitched Jane Marie the chance to visit the $30 million Zeugma Mosaic Museum, while I helped myself to the best cuisine in Turkey.
We made it to Mersin the first night but driving without GPS and language skills makes for multiple WTF situations
roman-mosaic.jpg

The Zeugma Story

Extraordinary Roman mosaics such as this image of a girl or perhaps a goddess once decorated wealthy houses in Zeugma in southern Turkey.

It wasn’t good policy that saved ancient Zeugma. It was a good story. In 2000, the construction of the massive Birecik Dam on the Euphrates River, less than a mile from the site, began to flood the entire area in southern Turkey. Immediately, a ticking time-bomb narrative of the waters, which were rising an average of four inches per day for six months, brought Zeugma and its plight global fame. The water, which soon would engulf the archaeological remains, also brought increasing urgency to salvage efforts and emergency excavations that had already been taking place at the site, located about 500 miles from Istanbul, for almost a year. The media attention Zeugma received attracted generous aid from both private and government sources. Of particular concern was the removal of Zeugma’s mosaics, some of the most extraordinary examples to survive from the ancient world. Soon the world’s top restorers arrived from Italy to rescue them from the floodwaters. The focus on Zeugma also brought great numbers of international tourists—and even more money—a trend that continues today with the opening in September 2011 of the ultramodern $30 million Zeugma Mosaic Museum in the nearby city of Gaziantep. 

But Zeugma’s story begins millennia before the dam was constructed. In the third century B.C., Seleucus I Nicator (“the Victor”), one of Alexander the Great’s commanders, established a settlement he called Seleucia, probably a katoikia, or military colony, on the western side of the river. On its eastern bank, he founded another town he called Apamea after his Persian-born wife. The two cities were physically connected by a pontoon bridge, but it is not known whether they were administered by separate municipal governments, and nothing of ancient Apamea, nor the bridge, survives. In 64 B.C., the Romans conquered Seleucia, renaming the town Zeugma, which means “bridge” or “crossing” in ancient Greek. After the collapse of the Seleucid Empire, the Romans added Zeugma to the lands of Antiochus I Theos of Commagene as a reward for his support of General Pompey during the conquest. 

Hasan Yelken/Images & Stories)
Much of the ancient town and its modern counterpart of Belkıs now lie under the reservoir created by the construction of one of Turkey’s largest dams in 2000.

Throughout the imperial period, two Roman legions were based at Zeugma, increasing its strategic value and adding to its cosmopolitan culture. Due to the high volume of road traffic and its geographic position, Zeugma became a collection point for road tolls. Political and trade routes converged here and the city was the last stop in the Greco-Roman world before crossing over to the Persian Empire. For hundreds of years Zeugma prospered as a major commercial city as well as a military and religious center, eventually reaching its peak population of about 20,000–30,000 inhabitants. During the imperial period, Zeugma became the empire’s largest, and most strategically and economically important, eastern border city. 

Roman Officer’s quarters complete with 2000 year old mosaic carpeting.

However, the good times in Zeugma declined along with the fortunes of the Roman Empire. After the Sassanids from Persia attacked the city in A.D. 253, its luxurious villas were reduced to ruins and used as shelters for animals. The city’s new inhabitants were mainly rural people who employed only simple building materials that did not survive. Zeugma’s grandeur and importance would remain forgotten for more than 1,700 years. By MATTHEW BRUNWASSER

The Battle of Issus occurred in southern Anatolia, on November 5, 333 BC between the Hellenic League led by Alexander the Great and the Achaemenid Empire, led by Darius III, in the second great battle of Alexander’s conquest of Asia. The invading Macedonian troops defeated Persia.