Last May I visited my son, Mike, who lives in South Korea. We spent a weekend with his friend, Lee Mingyu, and his parents in their home in Ochang, near Seoul.
While we were out sightseeing, Mingyu’s mom, Ki-hyun, trekked to her favorite mountain spot and picked wild greens for our dinner. She showed me how to blanch and stir-fry them to make a tasty dish.
During dinner, Mingyu said that he had recently made his first batch of chocolate chip cookies after watching a YouTube video, but they didn’t turn out right.
“Have you heard of chocolate chip cookies?” he asked. “Do you know how to make them?
Mike answered for me, “My mom makes the best cookies anywhere. She’ll make a batch for our dessert!”
I readily agreed, and the guys were able to get all of the ingredients at a local grocery store that had an ex-pat section. Mingyu’s dad, Soo-cheol, was fascinated by the process and wanted to help. Since the Lees didn’t have a mixer we used the only tool available—a large wooden spoon. The Lees had small convection oven, which is quite unusual, as most Korean kitchens don’t have ovens. We baked just 6 cookies at a time on the one small tray.
Before long, Soo-cheol and I had a plate piled high with warm cookies. The pile rapidly diminished as I taught the family the English word “yum-o” and they taught me the Korean word for delicious, “mat it neun.”