Birthdays are about celebrating the arrival of a little one, but in Korean custom, one distinctive dish built every birthday honors motherhood and the relationships in between dad and mom and their children.
During my husband’s birthday weekend, his most loved meals are on the menu: baked mac n’ cheese and yellow cake with fudge frosting. Aaron chooses these each and every yr, but I usually make a smaller pot of miyeok guk — seaweed soup.
I clean and soak the dehydrated seaweed in cold drinking water. As a kid, I often wondered how the green slimy points you come across in the ocean transformed into these crinkly strands. Now, each time I make it, the smells and the taste remind me of my Umma, my mom, producing Korean foods for me.
It’s very simple: mostly seaweed, with stew beef sauteed in sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic. There’s a top secret ingredient my Umma makes use of, and I think she’d get mad if I revealed what it was, but it’s critical to include it to give the soup that more depth of taste.
Each birthday, she’d cook it for my birthday without are unsuccessful. For my oppa, my more mature brother, and my appa, my dad, as well. Umma tells me right after every single birthday, she would take in miyeok guk during postpartum restoration, my halmoni, my grandmother, designed for her.
There are overall health added benefits to eating seaweed, which is prosperous in iron and vitamins. It’s the epitome of property cooking, as my Umma phone calls it.
“In Korea, starting off from when you are in the clinic, from when the toddler is born you consume miyeok guk,” she stated. “So there was a point that for one month, I just ate seaweed soup.”
Postpartum care is regarded as sanhujori. It is traditionally supplied by the new mother’s relatives users and in-law households. They prepare dinner healthy, warm foodstuff and assist care for the infant even though the mom recovers.
It’s also critical to preserve the physique warm. For Korean mothers, receiving uncovered to even a cold breeze is regarded a taboo. Umma mentioned it is because if a new mom fails to continue to keep her physique heat, it is believed she may perhaps turn out to be susceptible to a lifestyle-extensive health issues.
When Umma gave delivery at the medical center in the United States, she discovered a very diverse solution to postpartum restoration.
“What astonished me was the different culture,” she explained. “When I gave birth in an American clinic, I desired to consume miyeok guk. I reported I could eat anything warm for the reason that I was chilly. But at the medical center, they gave me ice cream.”
By having miyeok guk on our birthday, we’re reminded to thank our moms by taking in the identical foods they did postpartum. Umma claimed that my halmoni took treatment of her immediately after every single beginning, being for virtually a month until finally she recovered.
“All moms treatment for their daughters,” Umma mentioned. “If they acquire off their socks, they place them again on. Even when they don’t want to, they however set it again on for them. They costume them in heat garments, usually later on it’ll get arduous.”
And they make birthday soup.
My mom and dad immigrated to the United States in the 1980’s. They wanted to be guaranteed my oppa and I grew up speaking Korean in the property and we ate Korean foods for quite much every meal. Umma claims she was so delighted that I figured out how to cook dinner, adding “If you didn’t study, or didn’t want to discover, then [cooking Korean food] could close with my era.”
I did not marry a Korean, but Umma stated she was so delighted Aaron and his family adore Korean foodstuff. She also loves that there are traditions we can move down to our own children someday.
Now, I’m cooking these dishes in my possess kitchen area. I cooked my Umma’s soup for my partner in celebration of his birthday. He requested me to train him how to make it so that he could make me miyeok guk on my birthday following wintertime.
Due to the fact of my Umma, each time I choose to have young children of my possess, miyeok guk will be on the menu to remind them of me, just like I’m reminded of my possess mom.
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