Culinary book elaborates koreans’ eating culture one banana bread recipe

Food is an important part of a culture and korea is no exception. Korea has a lot of unique food and there is a tradition of having steamed rice with side dishes as a daily meal.

A new book "korean food 102" gives an introduction to the food culture of korea from the perspective of an american who lived in korea for 11 years, complete with colorful and detailed illustrations.

"My life in the states was boring, so I came to korea looking for an adventure. Then I never went back," mascho said in an interview with the korea times, tuesday. "I’ve always tried to explain korean food to my family and friends in america and now is my chance to explain how unique korean food is in detail."

She already had some korean friends from university and visited korea during a mission trip to indonesia in 2005, so she was not totally new to the country.


Her memories from the first visit to korea include a "jjimjilbang" (korean dry sauna) visit, "hoejib" (korean raw fish restaurant), squat toilets and indoor theme park lotte world.Mascho said

The idea of making a book about ordinary korean food in english was initiated by publisher baramgil’s editor park soo-hyun. Park, who is acquainted with mascho, asked her to write short english descriptions of the food.

Among the list, mascho started with writing about mandu (dumpling) and continued on to various items from "bungeobbang" (fish-shaped pastries with red bean filling) and "gimbap" (seaweed-wrapped rice roll) to "gopchang" (intestines of cows or pigs) and "dosirak" (packed lunch) from convenience stores.

For "banana uyu" (banana milk), she wrote about the geometry of the bottle’s shape. She wrote a short novel on gopchang, inspired by her first experience tasting the chewy intestines, which she named "the fourth meat."

Mascho allotted a hefty two pages to "tongdak" (fried chicken) accompanied with beer. "Korean fried chicken is so good, it will make you want to consider abandoning your family and moving to korea," she writes.Korean food

For "beondegitang" (silkworm pupae stew), mascho wrote a poem — "other guys eat fish and fries, but you’ve surpassed those other guys. From dangerous things you’ve never shied."

"Baekban" (home-style meal with side dishes) was the last food she wrote about. "It is so korean and I didn’t want to mess up with it. Baekban was serious. It is important because of the culture it represents — its style, colors, history, environment and every single mother who cooked for the family," mascho said. "I hope those who read it would understand that I love korean baekban."

Mascho wrote the names of korean food as they are pronounced in american english, not in the standardized romanization form. There is a list of the names of the food in both the mascho way and official romanization in the appendix, though.

"When I read korean words in romanized spellings, it is so difficult to understand.Korean food so I wrote them as an american would read it, separated by syllables. I think it is easy to say and more memorable this way," she said.

"These hand-drawn pictures capture the illustrator’s energy, heart and what to communicate. There are other books about korean food and I thought the photos look too lifeless. The photos are not so attractive when they are not yours, but our illustrator made it to everyone’s liking," mascho said.