Monday, January 25, 2010

Korean Supermarket

When he returned from Christmas break, Tae Woong, my South Korean homestay student, decided he would learn how to cook and make his own meals from now on. I didn't blame him. When you're in a foreign country, the stresses of learning a second language are easier to deal with when you can eat your own comfort food. For South Korean students that is easy to do because a large Korean-American population lives here in the greater Seattle area and there are plenty of Korean food stores to choose from.

So Tae-Woong and I drove to a local Korean supermarket. Now I've been in Korean markets before, but this one is new--and huge! They have everything imaginable, and more!
Dried squid for snacking. (Probably healthier than American potato chips.)

Spicy pepper sauce--a staple in Korean cooking--as in Kim-chi.

A wall of soy sauce--every kind imaginable for the discerning chef.

More dried squid.

Dried seaweed--for wrapping around a spoonful of cooked rice and eating as a side dish to meat.

Dried Korean chi-namul (dried wild aster). You'll not find this vegetable in many, if any, American supermarkets.

Cooked and seasoned dried squid--a snack that is popular when drinking beer.

And alcohol made from rice--both the alcohol and the bottle are white!

Wait a minute! Did you say alcohol? Hmmm, yes, that is a pretty bottle, Tae-Woong, but I'm sorry--no drinking alcohol in my house.

Ah, finally! Here's something I recognize--mochi--it's a Japanese treat! I guess Koreans like mochi, too! (My favorite is mochi with sweet bean paste inside.)

Gourmet 'sticky' rice.

And, of course, the 'Cadilac' of rice cookers!

This one is identical to the one that Ki-Bum and Hyun-Wook's parents bought for me a couple of years ago. We use it all the time! You can use it, too, Tae-Woong.

"OK, Mother, I'm ready to cook. How do I make bi bim bop?"

Bi bim bop? It's a staple Korean dish--best described with a picture. Here's one I got off the Internet. Tae-Woong hasn't actually made bi bim bop yet, but he says he will, soon.

Learning how to cook doesn't happen overnight, you know!

Good Luck, Tae-Woong!


Homestay Mama

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long Layover

It always warms this homestay mama's heart when she can see her former homestay students again. On his trip back from spending the holidays with his family in Seoul, Ki-Bum had a long layover in Seattle before his next flight left for Berklee School of Music in Boston.

His two friends Seok-Jin and Lim, (who are still students here in Seattle), and I met him at the airport.
Then we all went to a Korean restaurant several miles away for lunch. We had bubbling-hot tofu soup...
...and barbecued beef...
...that we cooked on the grill built into our table.
When they were done, Seok-Jin used scissors to cut the long strips into bite-size pieces.
It was delicious!
Before heading back to SeaTac, we took time to enjoy some coffee at Starbucks. When I stood up to take a picture of our group, a lady at the table next to ours offered to take the picture for me so I could be in it, too. The locals are friendly like that here in the greater Seattle area.
Seok-Jin, Ki-Bum, Lim and Homestay Mama

After she took the picture, we started talking--as ladies are prone to do. She too, had been a homestay mama several years prior, and I immediately felt a kindred spirit with her. Her name was Kris and she was up from Olympia visiting with her friends.
Diane, Kris and Rosie

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Ki-Bum.
He had given me a package from his family to open when I got home. What could be in this beautifully scarf-wrapped package?
Oooohhhh! My favorite! Sang-Ju Dried Persimmons...
...that come wrapped in a sturdily-constructed box...
...and arranged on a woven bamboo tray that can be used again and again for other things.
Thank you, Joon-Yul, Myung-Soon, Hyun-Wook and Ki-Bum. You surely know how to 'spoil' this homestay mama! I think gourmet Sang-Ju Dried Persimmons are heavenly!

Blessings to you!

With love from,
Homestay Mama

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Won Cee's Giveaway!

Look what I won--Cee's very own creative, hand-crafted cover for all the lists I make and misplace. Now I can keep them in one handy little cover and carry it in my purse everywhere I go!
Hooray! I'll finally be an organized woman!

Look at the inside. Even the list has been embroidered--which is too beautiful to use, so I'll just tuck some plain paper behind it to write on--paper that I won't mind throwing away when it's filled up!

Cee is a very creative gal in Australia. You must go to her blog, Cee Lew, and see all the things she has made. You will also delight in her posts for she has a special way of writing that beckons her readers right into her enchanting world of singing, playing, exploring, learning, growing and gracious living with her husband and two young daughters. If I could turn back the clock and raise my own again, I'd do it like Cee!

I stumbled upon Cee's blog nearly a year ago. I think she made a comment on my blog. How she ever became interested in reading about my life, I'll never know, but I'm so glad our paths crossed. I have discovered that she, too, is a Christian, but there is nothing preachy about her. She just quietly, yet unashamedly lives out her faith. She's like a magnet, drawing you in because you feel so safe and welcome in her world. Oh, to be graciously tactful like Cee!

She's also into simple living and healthy eating. So am I. And, did I mention her photographs? Her close-ups are an art form in themselves! Go check out her current post. Then go back and peruse her past posts. I'll be surprised if you don't pull up a chair and stay awhile!


Homestay Mama