Episode 23

Lady Court Han sang goon asks the Queen for a re-match on the competition as the Court Ladies boycotted her as protest to her being the Head of the Royal Kitchen for she did not participate in it.Even she fires all the Court Ladies for insubordination and have to run the kitchen a mere junior staff, she needs to resolve the issue.She also asked that the Queen give her absolute power to control all kitchens without interference from any parties.

The queen who is Queen Minjeong although her name is not mentioned her reference is Jon San Ma Ma. She was a major figure in the Korean History,driven by political ambition she murdered her stepson, (reference were made when she order jang-geum when she was Nae Eui Nu (the female medicine practitioner)to end the life of the sick Crown prince which Jang-geum refuse)to make way for her natal son to be King and since he was too young, she became the regent where she purged political adversaries and then administered state affairs behind the veil for 8 years.It was remarkable that she had absolute power when gender inequality and sexual discrimination prevailed during this period. So Jang-geum was not the only woman who broke the gender barrier mentioned in this story. Well that will be another story.

The Queen encourages the Queen dowager (address as Dae Bi Ma Ma) to accept Lady han sang goon’s idea since the Kitchen Court Ladies boycotted is not so much the participation in the competition but her lowly class background. The Queen dowager agrees and hand over the role of setting the topic of the competition, by doing this the Queen Dowager was handing the rein of control of the chambers to the Queen.The Queen Dowager was the one administrating the chambers,though the role was meant for the Queen.The Queen Dowager tell her that she will abide by the Queen’s decision on the outcome.Lady Han sang goon steps out in relief and pleases Jang-geum that Lady Han sang goon did not give up hope.

The queen dowager then summons all the Kitchen Court Ladies and all the Royal Kitchen Staff to commune at the Royal Kitchen as she was to decree.The Court Ladies who were backing Lady Choi sang goon thought they have won and the Queen Dowager was to fire Lady Han sang goon from her post and elect a new Head. The Queen dowager informs that the Queen have a decree.The Queen reprimand the Kitchen Court Ladies for their insubordination for going against appointment of Lady Han and should be punished.Although the Queen Dowager was displeased with the background of Lady Han sang goon, the Queen Dowager never said in the open. So the appointment of Lady Han sang goon as Head of the Royal Kitchen stand. The Queen admitted there is a flaw in the matter as lady Han sang goon never competed. There will be a re-match. The Queen asked whether Lady Han sang goon & Lady Choi sang goon agree to the term of the re-match and both agree. Facing the masses, she tells the Kitchen Court ladies that they will have to abide by the result of the rematch. All Kitchen court ladies will acknowledge the results.

The topic is cooked rice, the essential basis in Korea cusine. To be fair, the Queen supplies the same utensil and ingredients to Lady Han sang goon and Lady Choi sang goon so everybody is on the same par. The Queen asked that the ones who are competing are the only one allowed to stay and the rest will have to follow the Queen and the rest of the entourage to the dining hall. On the way to the dining hall,Lady Min sang goon says that it is very hard to judge as cooked rice is a simple and both sang goons have cooked it for almost 30 years and not seen as difficult.Then to be fair,the Queen put the re-match to a vote.Democracy on an infancy stage in Korea.The Queen is seen as an intellectual.The Queen told them that the rice will be put in two types of bowl, a bronze and a porcelain and have to vote on which bowl they prefer.The bowls of rice where presented and they put their preference.The vote are passed up and the Queen asked both Lady Choi sang goon and Lady Han sang goon to come in and the Queen asked comments of the rice.The kitchen court ladies says that the porcelain rice is nice and soft in texture.A few agree.

The Queen says that the winner is most certain and asked who cook the rice in the porcelain bowl. Lady Choi sang goon proudly announced that she is the one who cooked the rice and explained her technique by pressure cooking the rice.The Queen asked her personal Court Lady to make the result known,she announced that the porcelain bowl have 5 votes, by the matter of simple arithmetic.The Queen announce that Lady Han won. There were total of 13 Kitchen court ladies.

The Queen Dowager was suprised at the result as the comments came that the porcelain bowl rice was nice and soft.The Kitchen Court Ladies then said although the rice was soft they prefer harder rice.(Because of gender inequality the woman in Korean can only eat the crust that stick at the bottom of the pot, claiming that the rice crust are nutritious, it is just an excuse).So most women will prefer harder rice as they were used to it or it is the only type of rice they can eat).Another claim she prefers very soft rice, so she chose the bronze bowl. The Queen Dowager claims how can a pot of rice can cook two degrees of rice. Lady Han sang goon explained by cooking rice separately in a small inside with the density of water require. Lady Han sang goon explained that the King prefer harder rice while the Queen prefers softer rice. The Queen then comments why she could get her preferred rice on alternate days.She further says that it is usual they should be well versed on the Royal preference but how does she know the preference liking of each Kitchen Court Ladies.Lady Han sang goon explained that most of the Court ladies here, grew up together.The Queen Dowager is astonished by Lady Han sang goon ‘s thoughtfulness in remembering each one’s liking that there is no question that she is rightfully the Head of the Royal Kitchen.

The Queen decree that Lady Han sang goon is the winner by count of votes and she will have absolute power over the kitchen and the orders from Lady Han sang goon will be sanctioned by the Queen and made it so. The Queen firmly wanted the Kitchen Court Ladies to understand the decree and acknowlege Lady Han sang goon as winner.The Queen Dowager reiterated the Queen’s decree.All Kitchen Court ladies agree.

As jae-jo-sang goon (Head of the Royal Household-in charge of administrative duties in the residence) enters to find out what has happened,the Queen asks Jae jo sang goon to abstain from meddling in the affairs of the Royal Kitchen as she has given Lady Han sang goon absolute power. This was a major power split for Jae Jo sang goon. Jae jo sang goon tells Elder Oh about Lady Han sang goon winning and gaining absolute power and how she was ordered to stay out of the kitchen affairs. Elder Oh expresses his frustration with Mr Choi Pan Su.Lady Choi sang goon shows her anger and dismay at the situation to geum-young (until now her family has always played a prominent role in the soo-rak-gan- Royal Kitchen).

Lady Han sang goon finally receives a formal inauguration as the Head of the Royal Kitchen. Lady Han sang goon and jang-geum finally visit the cliff where jung sang goon’s ashes were scattered to tell her that Han sang goon has finally fulfilled her wishes. Lady Han sang goon pays her ritual respect at the site. Jang-geum is also happy that she was able to fulfill Lady Jung sang goon’s last wish to help Lady Han sang goon pull through and not to succumb to the pressure.

On their way back Jang-geum tells Lady Han sang goon she wants to make a stop.Jang-geum goes to the cave where her mother was buried and pays her respects. Lady Han sang goon then pays her respect, not realizing that it is Meong Yi’s (jang-geum’s mother)grave.Jang-geum introduces Lady Han sang goon to her mother saying that she is the Court Lady Han sang goon who she went under her tutelage and tell of Lady Han sang goon ‘s beauty. Lady Han sang goon states that seeing Jang-geum she knows that her mother is beautiful, perhaps she(mother)left so early but sent jang-geum to her(Lady Han sang goon.)

Jang-geum and Lady Han sang goon went shopping at the street market and finally bought the cordeyps. they then return to the palace to cook up a feast for the king.For her first meal as the Head of the Royal Kitchen to the king, Lady Han sang goon plans to make the ‘pal-gua-tang’ (8-fruit-soup)that she never got a chance to make last time.While preparing, Jang-geum made some comments that the Cordeyps which have familiar tones to Meong Yi.

After Lady Han sang goon leaves to serve the food to the King,Jang-geum looks at her mother’s journal on the reference of the cordeyps.Lady Han sang goon presents the dish to the king.The king asks why it’s taken so long for her to serve the king in person and asks if she will tell stories to him like Lady Jung sang goon did in the past. Lady Han explains Lady Jung sang goon always told her to read books and learn things so though she is not an orator like Lady Jung sang goon she will try.The king is satisfied and tastes the soup; he compliments Lady Han sang goon on the taste, commenting that he could tell that the persimmon vinegar has been matured for many years.

Jang-geum writes a letter saying, “after reading my mother’s diary I learned about the incident she buried the vinegar with her mate. I wish to meet you. I am a maid of soo-rak-gan by the name seo-jang-geum”.She puts the letter in a pouch and buries it under the spot where her mother and han hide their secret jar a long time ago.

Master Min jung-ho stops by and tells jang-geum for his new assignment he may be visiting the soo-rak-gan a lot.Jang-geum is happy and offers her assistance in whatever matter.

Min-jung-ho reports to his new boss at ‘jae-pan-gan’ (investigation/ruling dept.)and asks to see the old reports.The boss insists that he already looked at all the reports and there is no clue about why the palace is losing so many things in those reports.Master Min states he wants to learn the ropes through the reports and that’s why he wants to look at them.Master min finds out that so-joo-bang(stir fry room, part of ‘soo-rak-gan’)is where most of the internal loss is happening.

Min sang-goon (the lowest ranking supervisor in jang-geum’s dept) goes to see han sang goon to tell her the names of the escorts who were most resistant at the protest.Han sang goon shows she’s not interested.Jang-geum interrupts saying she has a visitor.Master Min talks to han sang goon in private.Jang-geum watches and realizes it’s something serious.Han sang goon tells min-jung-ho she understands what he’s saying and will try to find what he requested.

yeon-sheng, chan-ee and young-roh are preparing food with min-sang goon who tells them about han sang goon’s behavior when she tried to tell her about who was against her.Han sang goon tells Choi sang goon to see her in private.Choi sang goon says she will transfer to the food-storage dept. (it’s a traditon for the 2nd candidate to transfer) but asks for geum-young to stay in the kitchen palace.Han sang goon reminds Choi sang goon to talk up to her since they’re no longer equals.

Han sang goon gathers everyone from the kitchen dept to give her state-of-department speech with news of some changes within the department staffing,including choi sang goon , geum-young, and jang-geum.Han sang goon states her plan is to carry out the wishes of jung sang goon.Seeing that han sang goon has no plans on punishing those who went against her,the other supervisors are surprised.

Min-sang goon is happy that there will be a new sang-goon(escort/supervisor) coming into their dept.The new sang goon is younger than min-sang goon so min sang goon will no longer be the lowest ranking sang goon in the soo-rak-gan.

geum-young comforts choi sang goon while her brother reminds her to defeat her sorrow by waiting for the next opportunity.

Min sang goon is given a big responsibility by han.Min sang goon tries to get out of it but han sang goon tells min sang goon she believes in her skills and it’s time that she took on such challenge.Min sang goon relunctantly agrees.

Min sang goon takes her team (chan-ee, young-ro, yeon-sheng) to town to cook for charity event.The on-lookers express their praise at min sang goon.Min sang goon gains a lot of confidence from the respect she is getting and decides to buy a trinket for han sang goon to show her appreciation.

The gam’s stop by.Young-ro confronts tuk-poh for selling them the same trinkets for higher price inside the palace in the past.

The head guard meets with han sang goon,jang-geum and Master min for updates on the internal loss investigation.Master min tells them so-joo-bang is not the only place where the loss is occuring.He believes there is a tradition of corruption going on in the royal kitchen.

The kitchen supervisors who have stolen from the palace are getting nervous about the situation and informs jae-jo-sang goon about it.Jae-jo sang goon at first doesn’t seem to care but an escort tells the matter regards jae-jo sang goon as well since jae-jo sang goon has benefited from the stolen goods in the past through gifts and bribery.Jae-jo sang goon goes to the jar-storage room where choi sang goon is reassigned and asks choi sang goon for help in the matter.

Choi sang goon orders young-ro to spy on jang-geum to see what she’s been up to lately, then asks geum-young to spy on han sang goon .Young-ro gathers up jang-geum’s books, with jang-geum’s mother’s booklet hidden in one of them,to give to choi.Choisang goon finds the booklet and opens it.

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