Food Diary is a new Korean TV program featuring celebrities, including Oh My Girl‘s YooA, farming their own ingredients to eat and learning about the cycle of food production.
When the production team explained the overarching idea of this show is for the cast to raise chickens to eventually slaughter and cook them, it received a tremendous amount of attention and criticism alike.
As soon as the program’s production news broke, and as the program premiered and aired four episodes so far, the controversy grew among viewers, animal rights advocates, and show producers. Many are claiming the show to be unnecessarily cruel.
Once the show premiered, YooA and the cast had to select 10 eggs that they will help hatch and raise into chickens. This marked the beginning of the cast members’ collective effort to farm what they will eat.
YooA quickly grew attached to her eggs and the chicks to hatch from these eggs.
YooA even nicknamed the eggs after the nicknames of her fellow Oh My Girl members.
The cast soon witnessed the baby chicks break out of their eggs.
It is these chicks that the cast will grow into chickens before turning them into the goal-menu of “dakbokkeum-tang (닭볶음탕, spicy chicken stew)” as stated in the episode title.
Following the hatch of the chicks, YooA and comedian Lee Soo Geun visited a veteran farmer who also raises chicken and ducks and farms vegetables. To feed the visiting rookie farmers, the veteran farmer and his wife cooked a traditional chicken soup called “Baeksook (백숙)”.
“Baeksook” is traditionally a popular dish to serve to important guests, because it requires a large, healthy chicken and other pricey herbal ingredients. Hence, for the farmer and his wife, this menu was a go-to choice to serve their celebrity guests.
When the soup was served, YooA showed interest at first.
“What is that?” — YooA
Upon realizing it’s chicken, fresh from the farmer’s chicken coup, YooA felt uneasy to try the meat.
The first veggie-wrap she made with a piece of chicken inside YooA ended up offering it to the farmer’s wife.
Throughout the meal, YooA attempted but failed to eat the chicken soup. Instead, she feasted on the vegetables served to enjoy with the chicken.
When Lee Soo Geun noticed, he asked if she feels different because of her chicks and YooA admitted.
“Is it because you started raising your own chickens?” — Lee Soo Geun
“Yes.” — YooA
In fact, in her previous interviews before she joined the program, YooA eagerly claimed that she loves chicken.
“I love all kinds of chicken. The soupy kind tastes good and the boiled down kind tastes good too!” — YooA
Lee Soo Geun asked the farmer if it isn’t hard on him to eat what he has farmed. The farmer answered, “It was grown to be eaten.”
“I raised this chicken for a year. I raised it so that one day I can eat it. Once you start thinking about the animals in a different way, it will become impossible to eat any meat.” — Farmer Park Young Joon
At the end of this experience for YooA, an animal rights advocate Park Soo Yeon of CARE Korea explained the show will become a great opportunity to help raise a lot of awareness for the South Korean viewers and have them question their choices.
“I think the fact that the show found itself in such controversy is actually a good sign. It means people are becoming more aware of what is wrong and right, in terms of animal welfare… I wish everyone considers the idea that animals raised to be eaten and animals raised to be pets are essentially the same.” — Park Soo Yeon
“I’ll be grateful if this program actually does end with the chicken being cooked… It will give people a chance to think about the consumption of meat. I used to love meat too, until I realized what it meant and that changed my lifestyle completely. So if the viewers feel a little different after watching this, I hope they conclude they don’t necessarily have to consume meat.” — Park Soo Yeon