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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Company? The Kimchee Won’t Be Ready!

I’ve been reading about the GAPS diet that a couple of my friends have been following, a diet that eschews sugar (okay with me) and processed foods (okay) and grains (not so okay for me) and goes heavy on protein and vegetables and fruits and good fats (all okay). It’s more complicated – some cheeses good, others bad; some nuts good, others bad – but you’ll have to look up the details for yourself. What I want to highlight in this diet, all about encouraging good gut bacteria, is that fermented foods are supposed to be very good

I was inspired. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog, and it’s also been quite some time since I’ve tried anything new and adventurous in my little kitchen.Well, what could be more adventurous (especially for a non-Korean) than homemade kimchee?

I went to one of my favorite cookbooks, The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors, by Jeff Smith, and was not disappointed. Jeff Smith has great Ethiopian recipes in this book, so I figured he would have the staple of Korean cooks, the dish by which prospective Korean brides are judged by the prospective husband’s family (or so I’ve read). Smith’s American version begins with cabbage from California’s Napa Valley.

Fresh grated ginger, fresh grated carrot, and finely diced garlic all play supporting roles. The finely diced radish was my improvisational addition.

The same crushed red pepper flakes that excite pizza or Mexican cooking or Szechuan dishes have a place here, too, but I started with a small amount. Ingredients can often be added to dishes, but subtracting them is usually impossible. As a friend of mine said years ago, “There’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube.”

I had bought ingredients for a simple chili supper when David announced that he had invited a friend. My sister, visiting from Illinois, is fine with chili. But a guest? The kimchee will not be ready for days! My sister and I had to go out shopping for scallions, just to get it together!

Friend called. Still sick. Didn’t think he could be sociable through the evening. Fine. We’ll be roasting a turkey in a couple of days, and by then the kimchee should be ready.

How will it taste? I’ll let you know!


  1. You said you'd let us know how it tasted and I'm asking, how did it taste? Did you like it? Did David? Unfortunately, we know I didn't! That says much about my taste buds, not how it turned out.

    1. I can't say I've completely acquired the taste, but we have tiny servings of it with meals. Fermented vegetables are supposed to be good for us, and it's an interesting counterpoint, too.

  2. I haven't yet reached the point where I'm ready to have a tiny serving of something I don't like, just because it's good for me. Good for you and David though!