rifling through a cookbook

various Korean snacks

Just a little post with one of my musings here, people. I’m so inspired by French Laundry At Home–I’ve been thinking about a foray of my own, in a similar vein. Only with Korean food.

My mom cooked fantastic Korean food but she never taught me how to cook. She wanted me to grow up a “career woman” and she didn’t want me stuck in a kitchen. And she figured that not teaching me how to cook might help me avoid that fate. Also, I never went back home after college–apparently that might have been the time to teach me a few domestic duties according to custom.

And thus I am horrible at doing laundry. I am horrible at tidying house. But strangely enough, I still learned how to cook. And I cook with great joy, probably because it was never taught to me as a duty but because I learned it as a wonderful hobby.

I learned to cook on my own and from my mother-in-law who was an incredible foodie. She once took me to Surfas in L.A., I remember, where we spent an afternoon gleefully rummaging through all the kitchen supplies and ingredients. I brought a huuuuge bag of lavender home from that excursion. We woke up early to go to the farmer’s market where she would pick up fresh chicken, special ordered. The list of foodie adventures goes on and on. She ignited my passion for cooking.

I have a few recipes of favorite childhood foods from my mother, some of which I’ve shared here, but I don’t have a great repertoire of Korean recipes.

I regret that.

And reading Carol go through the French Laundry cookbook has inspired me to do something similar: go through every recipe of one of my favorite Korean cookbooks, Hisoo Shin Hepinstall’s Growing Up In A Korean Kitchen. In that way, I can recapture Korean foods in my kitchen…and also share them with you.

What do you think?

14 responses to “rifling through a cookbook

  1. I think it sounds wonderful! I love Korean food and that is a great cookbook.

  2. what a great idea! if you want any “virtual” company while you do this, let me know.

  3. Christine-

    I love your blog and thank you for all of the wonderful recipes and experiences that you share. Reading through it inspired me to tackle Korean food at home, albeit with baby steps (I have yet to try out the braised shortribs recipe, my all-time favorite dish of my mother’s). She never shared with me any tips or recipes in my childhood, and now as I am trying to learn I have found it at times difficult to recreate her dishes– all of her recipes are stored in her head, and her heart. Of course I get a feeling of warmth whenever I get the rare opportunity to sample her cooking these days, but away from home there’s more frustration at the fact that I can’t seem to replicate those wonderful memories. I miss my mommy.

    Also, will you be posting your recipe for sufganiyot come next Hanukkah season? My boyfriend and I have wondered where to find the store-bought stuff, or how to make it at home, since he isn’t able to celebrate Hanukkah at home because of school.


  4. rachel: Yay!

    JDo: I would love your “virtual” company! I’ll probably start this project in June when I know I’ll have more time.

    Nuri: I’m glad you are tackling Korean food! Try the braised short ribs they are fantastic–just allow a few hours to cook.

    And yes–I will be posting my recipe for sufganiyot eventually! I love making them every year. And it is not _too_ hard to make at home…and SOOOO VERY satisfying to eat fresh!

  5. that sounds awesome. my grandmother is actually an excellent cook and i know nothing about korean food so she promised to teach me – i’m going to try to write down the recipes as best as i can because she’s more a handful of that pinch of this kind of person as well as the translation problem with ingredients – weird powders and such. we shall see

  6. I think it’s a wonderful idea – I think food is an extremely important part of Korean culture and learning more about the cooking through my own mother’s recipes certainly has helped me become more in touch with my heritage 🙂

  7. What a great and sweet idea…I find myself doing something similar as I learn my in-laws cuisine. I think you’d have an incredible amount of fun doing this project, and I’m all for that. Thanks for sharing, by the way, I’ll be sure to help myself from time to time! Also looking forward to trying your braised short-ribs. My mom taught me how to cook, for which I am thankful…but many of my very absolute favorites of hers would probably kill me if I ate them as much as I’d like (orange biscuits and almond sticky buns, for example). But some day, I’ll put together a site with my favorites of hers, too!

  8. I’m looking forward to your adventures through the cookbook. I love Korean food, but never make it. Can’t wait to see what you make!

  9. i think it’s a great idea! i’m looking forward to seeing your results!

  10. Great idea! Sounds like a fun project 🙂

  11. that sounds like a great idea! i’m not quite ready to embark on similar journey for vn food – yet, but am wholeheartedly excited about your decision to do so. yay!

  12. Pingback: Gosari Namul « Muffin Top

  13. i keep checking your blog to see if you’ve tried any new korean dishes. it’s my comfort food too but sometimes i need inspiration. have you tried any recipes from a cookbook called “dok suni” by jenny kwak? i don’t know if it’s because i related more to the stories peppered throughout the book but i found the recipes tasted closer to what i expected to make than when i tried the one by hepinstall you referenced. anywhoo, just a suggestion if you’re still on this journey.

    really enjoy your blog, btw!

  14. @solivia: I never got around to it–because I decided to write/revise my novel instead! (guilty!). And yes, I’ve the Dok Suni cookbook–but Hepinstall’s cookbook tastes closer to what my mother cooks. It’s funny how our tastebuds are finetuned to our childhoods, no? Glad you dropped by.

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