Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Kimchi Chronicles: From Seoul to Soul to Seoul

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Sorry I went missing. Sadly, I wasn't on some exotic vacation or enjoying the final days of summer on a local beach. Nope, I just couldn't tear myself away from the all-consuming task of caring for a newborn. I'm not complaining, just explaining. And saying thank you for continuing to visit the Meltingpot. Okay. Shall we move on?

So, not too long ago, I was channel surfing and stumbled across what appeared to be a travel/cooking show focused on the cuisine of Korea. I was immediately hooked because I love Korean food but also because the hosts of the show were not Korean, but rather an interracial couple of indeterminate origins. All I could ascertain by the brief clip I saw was that the woman was ambiguously brown and the 'white-ish' man had a European sounding accent. So of course as soon as the show went off I went into investigative mode.

As it turns out, I'd been watching The Kimchi Chronicles. Indeed it is a show that celebrates the cuisine of Korea. And while that is exciting, I find the backstory to the show far more fascinating, as I'm sure you all will too. So the host is Marja Vongerichten, wife of the famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. But that's not what makes her special. Her life story is the stuff of meltingpot fairy tales. The daughter of a Korean mother and an African-American GI, she was orphaned at age three, adopted by an African-American family in the United States and then reunited with her birth mother as an adult. I'm not sure how much of her life history she's bringing into the show, but her husband and daughter make appearances on the Kimchi Chronicles (as do the actors Heather Graham and Hugh Jackman which I'm still struggling to understand why, but whatever.) Here's a clip from the show so you can see for yourself what I'm talking about. 

So, let me know what you think of the Kimchi Chronicles. I'm listening.



AnaCeleste said...

Awesome! I'm so glad you posted this! I currently live in South Korea and recognize a lot of the locations from the clip. I was just in Seoul last weekend. After being here almost 7 months, some Korean food is still growing on me. Then again, I'm a vegetarian so there are certain foods that are off limits. Nonetheless, I love the noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, bimbimbap, and rice cakes (ddeok 떡)which are not like the rice cakes we eat in the States. I haven't fallen in love with kimchi 100%, but I don't mind it. Koreans definitely love spice and when I eat lunch at the school I teach at, I admire the use of fresh ingredients in terms of the vegetables. I hope in the series they focus on the outdoor markets in Korea. It's great to walk through them and buy all types of food. Food is very important in Korea, very communal. It's great the woman has a connection to the country.

LT said...

That is so cool. FYI, there's a companion Kimchi Chronicles book to go with the show.