With heavy heart, I am getting ready to go to Korea, to see my grandmother, hoping this won't be the last, but well aware that this could be. We all have heroes in our lives. I have had some fortune to have more than a handful, but my grandmother has always been my number 1. 👵
I have tons of memories of her. After all, she raised me in her kitchen. One of my favorite story is making of the cheongguk-jang, fermented soybeans, think nato but 10 times more pungent, or ripest époisses, definitely one of those things that requires an acquired taste. Well, I am 7 years old, sharing my room with grandma who determined that my room is the best spot to ferment soybeans. A basket filled with boiled soy beans sprinkled with salt, covered in hay, newspaper, then few layers of blanket, situated under a kotasu, a low wooden table with an electric heater. That thing stinks from day 1 and it only gets worse. My grandma would ask me to test the beans if they were ready. I would crawl under the kotasu table, peel all the layers of blanket, newspaper, and hay, stuck my head in to see if the beans were generating gooey threads. I was only able to taste 3 beans at a time. My grandma knew, we won't have enough of the final product if she let me taste as much as I wanted to taste. I just loved tasting the progression of fermentation. I loved my job. And I could barely wait for cheongguk-jang to be done. I could care less if my friends made fun of me because my clothes and hair stank like a dying skunk. Because my grandma's fermented bean soup is the best and she trusted me to be in charge. I was 7 and blessed. 🙌
This kimchi, made by @chefjiyeonlee's mother, reminded me that of my grandma's. No wonder, they are both from the southeast region of Korea - generous use of fish sauce, salty and a tad sweet, the taste that evokes home sickness. I can't wait to give my grandma a big hug.
#kimchi #grandma #koreanfood #foodphotography #fermented #herstory #legacy #hero