Once upon a time, there was a bear. 🧸 A big bear. 🐻 You may think he was a panda bear 🐼 because he was black and white and somewhat cuddly looking. But panda bears eat mostly bamboo. 🎍 This bear did not like bamboo. This bear used to love eating meat. (In fact, his favorite dish was pizza 🍕, from what is reported!)
One day, the bear decided to adopt a rabbit. 🐰
“I’m going to raise the rabbit. And then, I’m going to eat the rabbit. I’m going to kill the rabbit myself. I’m going to cook the rabbit myself. I’m going to do everything myself.” He decided.
The bear decided also to stop eating meat while raising the rabbit. From now on, he would not eat any meat, unless he had raised and killed the animal with his own hands.
The bear had a friend named BonBon. 🍬
Her identity is unclear. Her family used to call her penguin🐧 but also stork 🕊, ugly duckling🐥, frog🐸 as well as mouse 🐁 [although she dislikes cheese!]. Others referred to her as deer🦌, brontosaurus 🦕, monkey 🐒(-kitten🐈), squirrel 🐿, grasshopper🦗 or Duracell bunny🐇. She considers herself as something “in between” and she would love to be a creature that inhabits more than one sphere – like a sea otter or duck🦆, who can swim, dive, walk on land AND fly [although not always gracefully…]. Anyways, let’s refer to her as BonBon. That’s less complicated. BonBon loves everything that’s colorful and sweet, which can be anything like fruit and dessert, flowers [sometimes food] and animals [no food!]. 🌹🍊🌻🍋🐠🐊🦋🍇🌺
The bear asked BonBon for advice. Because BonBon did not eat meat, she knew how to lead a good life without it. The bear did not know how to live without consuming meat and what to eat instead.
BonBon considered the consequences:
The life of one animal in exchange for the life of many others.
One rabbit, raised with care and living in dignity, sacrificed to save countless unknown animals in miserable conditions.
After some contemplation, BonBon decided to support the bear in his project. And she swore to herself she’d make sure that the bear took proper care of the rabbit and that she had a good life, as long or short it may be.
So the bear adopted a rabbit from a farm, which was located on the countryside and supplied rabbits for the meat industry as well as animal testing laboratories in Korea.
The rabbit, although still young, was larger than those regular rabbits from pet shops. Her fur was buff-colored and the hairs ended in black tips – only her belly was white. Her small head was round; the body was large and oval. The color and the shape of her body made the rabbit look like a gigantic, fluffy peanut. 🥜 Accordingly, the rabbit was named Peanut (땅콩).
In the following months, the bear took care of the rabbit as good as he could. Peanut ate diligently. Peanut grew quickly. And soon, Peanut had grown more than double in size, required a lot of food and generally received a lot of attention from the bear and many of his friends.
But while Peanut was munching joyfully on hay, fresh grass, various vegetables and fruit, the bear had a rather unpleasant time.
“I have been in a very bad mood for weeks. My other friends told me I act like a moody woman with period pains!” The bear reported. “It must be because I changed my diet. I have become very sensitive.”
Thoughts like these he shared with BonBon every once in a while.
“Oh, how I wish I had eaten that beef head soup (소머리국밥) from the restaurant in front of my house!”, the bear used to lament whenever he walked passed the place and smelled the fumes of cooking beef. “Did you never eat it before?” BonBon asked. “Of course I have! And I used to love it!” The bear boasted. “But I regret that I never had a taste of it at THIS restaurant…” BonBon gave him a strange look in response.
On other days he explained how difficult it had been to walk past the street vendor selling grilled chicken next to the road. It was cheap and he was very hungry. But eventually he had managed to resist the temptation.
And then there were days, when he complained that he had hardly eaten anything on a long day of work. The company had organized a meal, but everything including the side dishes had pieces of meat or seafood in it. The only thing that did not contain animal was plain white rice. 🍚
On a night out, there was often nothing but cheap side dishes or french fries. 🍟 As he nibbled on vegetables, everyone else enjoyed meat barbecued in the middle of the table, directly in front of him. Drunken friends teased him and challenged his resoluteness.
In the summer, the bear exclaimed “I’m craving dog meat stew (보신탕).* My body is used to having it in this season! How can I survive the heat without dog meat???”
But also BonBon and Peanut had some challenges to deal with.
To begin with, Peanut and BonBon fought over apples a lot.
Both loved apples. 🍏🍎 For BonBon, they were one of her favorite snacks but too expensive for her to have them everyday. And Peanut went crazy whenever she smelled apples. So when BonBon visited, she could never enjoy a single apple by herself and in peace, without having to share it with Peanut.
Despite this, BonBon grew very, very much attached to Peanut.
Next, there was the horror looming behind the reason of Peanut’s actual presence. In secret, BonBon started to hate the bear for wanting to eat Peanut. Given the circumstances, the relation between bear and BonBon grew tenser by the day.
As weeks and months passed, so did the day of Peanut’s last moment approach.
The bear underwent various preparations – mental as well as physical – so that he could commit the deed.
He planned to take Peanut’s life in the process of a ritual.
He forged a metal knife and other tools required for the act of killing, skinning and cutting the body.
He shaved his hair.
He ate the same things as the rabbit did.
He shared his food with her.
He watched her eat.
He looked her in the eye.
He saw the will to live in the sparkle of her eyes.
Then on the final day, the bear placed Peanut on the floor of his bath room.
He closed the door behind them.
Unperturbed, Peanut was hopping around on those cold, white tiles.
The bear observed her intensely once more.
Again, he noticed the energy of life glistening from her eyes.
He recognized the same was also inside of him.
The will to live.
All of a sudden, he broke down in tears as he realized this.
He did not want to take her life.
And the fairy tale does not end here!
To this very day, Peanut is still alive, munching away on plants and whatever else the bear gives her…
Above is the true story of a rabbit called Peanut (땅콩), who is the mascot of ♣️Sesame Sprinkles♣️. In fact, Peanut is the main reason why this homepage came into existence. Over the years, the author has met various people who struggled in finding vegan or vegetarian food in Korea. But only from the agony in the face of Peanut’s threatening death, emerged the desire to share my food experiences in Korea on a larger scale. In creating ♣️Sesame Sprinkles♣️, I aimed to pay homage to Peanut and keep her in loving memory.
At the end of February 2019, the project ♣️Sesame Sprinkles♣️ was established. This means that ♣️Sesame Sprinkles♣️ celebrates its 1st anniversary now! 🎉
Whoever may read this, thank you for your attention. 🙏
Notes by the author
The story of Peanut exemplifies what living as a vegan and vegetarian in Korea generally looks like: Fewer food choices, social challenges (family, friends, workplace), an environment filled with animal-based foods. Although it is a personal account, many Korean locals who aim to pursue a plant-based diet face similar challenges or have made experiences.
The project of personally raising an animal for the own consumption began as an art project by Shin Donghyun (신동현). The complex concept is not portrayed in its entirety within above narration. At present, there is no further information about the project published in English.
If you are interested in seeing more of Peanut, you can find Peanut and Donghyun on YouTube. 📺 As before, there will be occasional appearances of Peanut on the Instagram account of ♣️Sesame Sprinkles♣️. 📸
*) The dish Bosintang (보신탕), which contains dog meat, is eaten by certain people on the occasion of the three hottest days of the year (sambok 삼복). It is traditionally believed to help as a countermeasure against the heat of Korean summers.