Like most people, one of the things I look forwards to during Thanksgiving is the food. I don't mean turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, either. In my family, while we do get plenty of the traditional meal associated with the holiday the table is also set with lots of Korean food. I actually prefer the Korean elements of the meal over the American one, in fact.
In my house all the American holiday meals share equal space with Korean foods like Bulgogi and Kimchi. I even routinely put kimchi on pizzas, hot dogs and hamburgers. It's kimchi-licious! My wife thinks it odd that I use kimchi on everything as a condiment, but what does she know? Anyone who eats Tofu (aka cement-flavored Jell-O) is not allowed to have an opinion on the food preferences of another person.
When I first went to Korea I initially avoided eating kimchi because it was strange and new (and I fear things that are strange and new) and all the racists on the military base (which is pretty much everyone) told me how awful it was. But being my own man I ate some kimchi because I had the "Osan Crud", a non-specific flu-like respiratory and intestinal illness that many people seem to contract shortly after arriving in the country and moving into the barracks. No one ever investigated the cause of the illness as far as I know, but it is probably the norvirus or something. I tried out the kimchi, hearing that it could really clear up the sinuses and make you feel better if you were sick. Kimchi is spicy, so it did open up some passages (At both ends) and eventually I acclimated to the environment just like everyone else did.
So Thanksgiving in my house is usually a frenzy of cooking. Unlike the American portions of the meal which require some attention of only a few hours (if even that, these days), some of the Korean dishes require much more time in the way of preparation. It is not unusual for my wife, her mother and all her sisters to get together and spend 2 days cooking before a holiday meal. Back in Korea it would actually be a neighborhood affair. When everyone set about at my house making fresh kimchi in 60-gallon bins I would go overnight to a hotel with my son because the amount of red pepper powder and spices in the air was upsetting to the baby's eyes and respiration. With my wife's family, everything is made from scratch in the traditional way that has not changed very much in about 600 years. Now that's tradition.
Mr. Kimchi is so popular!
Tags: Thanksgiving Holiday Tradition Bulgogi Kimchi Korean Kimchi tradition site Validus Gallery of Fine Arts