My best memories from my childhood are seeing my mother cook and eating her food. Korean food was very common in our household even though my mom would make the typical American meals daily for our family.
We always had kimchi and rice. Even on camping trips to Kern River, my mom would pack kimchi and rice in the cooler. It would make the car smell foul every time we opened it to grab a juice during our four hour car ride to the high desert. The cooler was always situated between my sister and me in the back seat of my dad’s beige Ford Granada, which constantly overheated climbing up the Grapevine.
To this day, whenever I visit my folks in California, I look forward to my mom’s homemade Korean dishes. A few of my favorites are cabbage kimchi and rice, of course, barbecued short ribs (galbi), fish stew and chop chae. I can easily eat kimchi all the time.
Last year my sister introduced me to a new show on PBS called the Kimchi Chronicles. I became a fan instantly. The food and segments in Korea were educational. Since I have yet to visit Korea, it taught me a lot about there food culture, which I always knew consisted of a ton of fresh veggies, sea food, noodles and spices.
The host of the show is Marja Vongerichten, the wife of the culinary master Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The show features Marja going back to her Korean roots (she is half-Korean, like myself), exploring the food culture. Marja re-creates the dish at home with her husband next to her and he is recreating the same dish with his own twist to it. Needless to say, by the end of each segment, my mouth waters.
For my admiration of Marja and Korean food I bought her cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles. It gives the reader insight to Korean cuisine and tradition, plus eclectic recipes. The book is informative as well. If you know nothing about Korean food, after reading this book front to back, you will be inspired to make a Korean dish and have a clear understanding about typical Korean spices, and how to set a proper Korean table.
The photographs are beautiful, and the thoughtful design makes following the recipes easy. I recommend The Kimchi Chronicles for your kitchen library.