Happy New Year! Yup, I am aware that today is the last day of January, but it is also the Korean New Year! (As well as the more well known Chinese New Year.)
My mom immigrated here from Seoul, South Korea when she was 20. She left behind her entire family and all her friends and came to a country where she didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak the language. Can you imagine? I still can’t, and I’ve known her story my whole life. I am sad to say that I speak very little Korean, as when I was little my mom was still learning English herself and didn’t want to confuse us. (My dad, a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy from Arkansas, couldn’t teach us any Korean either!) But my lack of familiarity with the language doesn’t change the fact that it’s half of who I am. And that, of course, means that my sweet son is one-quarter Korean.
Not knowing the language or ever having visited the country, I think the one thing I hope to pass down to my little man is an appreciation for the food. At almost 15 months he’s a bit young to try kimchi, the hot, spicy fermented cabbage that is a staple at any Korean meal, but someday I hope he’ll love it.
Sadly our first attempt at enjoying Korean cuisine was an epic fail. I was so excited to let him try bulgogi (marinated stir fried beef) and sticky rice…and he wouldn’t touch it! But, as I’m learning with food and toddlers, sometimes you just have to let them try a food more than once before they realize they actually like it. He also wouldn’t touch scrambled eggs the first dozen or so times I made them, and now he is obsessed. So there’s hope!
What special dishes or family traditions do you hope to pass down to your children? This blog post was all about my mom’s side of the family, but there’s also my dad’s side to expose him to…southern cuisine is an entirely different delicacy! Bulgogi with a side of grits, anyone? 🙂