Now that the Supreme Leader has left his earthly post, odd stories about his tenure have been flooding the media for the past month. While these are slowly being taken over by newer Kim Jong Un hi-jinx and gaffaws, there's still gold to be found about our not-so-newly deceased dictator.
As Barbara Demick reports for the Daily Beast, a solid portion of what scant details there are about the elder Kim can be found in memoirs of his various cooks. While his golf game is of unsubstantiated legend, his former personal chef "Kenji Fujimoto" has written of Kim Jong Il's gourmet predilections:
Money was no object when it came to food. Fujimoto made shopping trips around the world to pick up ingredients—to Iran and Uzbekistan for caviar, to Denmark for pork, to Thailand for mangoes, durians, and papayas. On a whim, Kim once sent Fujimoto to pick up a box of his favorite rice cakes, which were scented with mugwort and available only at a department store in Tokyo. Fujimoto later calculated the trip put the cost of each bite-size morsel at $120.
While Kim Jong Il amassed a liquor cabinet of such massive proportions that he is rumoured to be the single largest customer of Hennessey cognac (at $800,000 in purchases per year), it should also be noted that an extremely large proportion of his citizens went malnourished; the man was flying lobsters in during his trans-Siberian train ride while the rest of his country suffered from famine.
Though some (read: most) of these tales might seem frivolous, "Fujimoto" was one of few outsiders that spent any time with the man, and is one of the few to correctly pick out Kim Jong Un as the successor:
Indeed, Fujimoto gained some credibility by correctly picking out Jong-un, whom he’d met as a child, as the likely successor. “A chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and personality,” he wrote in his ﬁrst book. He also supplied the world with what was then the ﬁrst conﬁrmed photograph of the successor.
Read Demick's post at the Daily Beast.