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Cooking Around the World
Every month a group of kid bloggers “travels” to a different country of the world. We cook the food, learn a little about the country, and, perhaps, do an activity or two with our kids. When I found out that we are going to Korea this month, I was excited and intimidated at the same time. See, I love Korean food. One of my best former work friends is Korean, and we went to a Korean restaurant near work almost every week. However, cooking Korean food at home is quite different, since usually one dish combines so many tastes and flavors.
Visiting a Korean Supermarket
Since I was so intimidated by cooking Korean at home, I consulted with another Korean friend of mine, and she recommended an excellent site with authentic Korean recipes – Maangchi. I picked a couple of possibilities from there, but they all required special ingredients. That was not really a problem – it gave me a chance to visit a full size Korean supermarket in San Jose and admire rows and rows of foods that I’ve never seen before. I have to go back with Smarty, because I think that visiting an ethnic grocery store is practically the next best thing to actually visiting a country “for real”
Korean Ginger Chicken
I have to admit that after all my research into authentic Korean cuisine, I “chickened out” and opted for something that was easy to prepare and that I hoped my family would eat – Korean Ginger Chicken. It had only five ingredients with one “mystery ingredient” – a rice cooking wine called mirin that, as it turns out, I could have bought in our standard supermarket as well. It also didn’t require hours of marinating (this story from Adventures in Mommydom made me giggle). Unfortunately, this recipe still required a little bit of marinating, so I made the marinade before picking up Smarty from her Y afterschool program, and she didn’t help me much except stirring chicken as it cooked. The verdict on the recipe – I thought it was too gingerly and not at all like Korean food I love, my husband loved it, and Smarty just “nibbled” on chicken and ate her rice. I still want to make a proper Korean barbecue meat next year when we return to barbecue season.
Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea
I stumbled upon The Legend of Hong Kil Dong by accident looking for a Korean story to go with our Korean dish, and it was a very lucky find. The book is written as a graphic novel – the format that my daughter quite likes, and illustrations are done in traditional Korean style. The book is set in 17th century, and there are great details in the book about Korean clothes, martial arts, and Buddha teachings that older kids would find interesting. In general, I would recommend this book for grades 2+ because of its length and level of detail. Interestingly, Anna Sibley O’Brien, an author and illustrator of this book, grew up in Korea as a daughter of medical missionaries and studied Korean art. I am glad that she shared this fascinating story with English-speaking world.
Country Comparison Activity
I wrote earlier this month about our opportunity to review books from the series If You Were Me… by Carole P. Roman. Smarty had fun comparing Norway and Korea and finding similarities and differences between them. If You Were Me and Lived in South Korea is a great introduction for younger kids to learn about life in modern Korea.