Kimchi Making by the Mountains I

This weekend I experienced my first 김장 ‘gim-jang’ meaning Kimchi making. Families gather and make enough kimchi to last through the winter and on until the following November. Nowadays it’s becoming less common as it can be brought throughout the year from the store. The mother in law spent the week clearing out her kimchi fridge and cleaning countless containers in preparation for the coming year’s supply to be stocked. Friday afternoon we packed up the car with food, jackets and containers and headed to Bobby’s aunt’s apartment a few suburbs away for the night. Five a.m and it was go, go, go! Everyone rushed around, loading the van up while the stars were still out and the frigid air numbing. It felt like a timed pregnancy trip and we were off before a quarter to six.


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The van was flying down the highway and freezing, except for the little vent blasting out hot air onto my ankle. The morning breath of eight combined with the outside cold made pretty condensation patterns on the window.


6:10am and his aunt called for the first toilet stop. Pass. The van sped on, Bobby’s uncle was on a mission to make good time. The sun rose and the buildings slipped away to show pretty rolling hills, the trees at the top stripped bare. I always imagine that the hills are giants sleeping and the trunks and branches of the leafless trees are their hairy backs. We made it to the next aunt’s house a few hours later and had a look around. They run a pension (guest house) nestled between the valley and mountains and prepare food from what they grow.


We were all fed breakfast at 9 while the other aunts kept preparing salted cabbages into boxes for sale. I like when we visit his family cause we get to eat different side dishes. A bowl of rice and soup was served along with two different types of pickled radishes, fried chillies, seasoned sesame leaves, syrup set black beans, fried julienned potatoes and dried salty sweet seaweed.


It was time to get to work.

Click here for Kimchi Making by the Mountains II and to see what went into our kimchi

쉔텔의 첫번째 김장 이야기 입니다.

금요일 저녁 안양의 막내 이모 집으로 이동해 합류, 한 차로 목적지인 괴산에 가기로 했습니다. 그러나 막내 이모가 웬일인지 급체를 하여 하룻밤 쉬고 가게 되었고, 때문에 다음날 아주 일찍 출발 할 수 밖에 없었습니다. 막내 이모부께서 새벽부터 운전하시느라 고생이 많으셨어요. 뒤늦게 생각해보면 죄송스럽게도 운전하시는 이모부를 제외한 모두가 탑승직후 꿈나라로 직행하여 옆에서 말걸어주는 이도 없는 쓸쓸한 길이었을 겁니다.

충북 괴산에는 셋째 이모께서 운영하시는 민박집이 있는데 속리산 자락에서 흘러내려오는 계곡물과 풍광이 아주 맑고 운치있는 곳으로 김장철에는 모두가 이곳으로 모여 온가족이 다함께 김장을 하곤 합니다. 올해도 어김없이 모인 가족들은 즐거운 아침식사를 갖고 곧바로 현장에 투입되었습니다.


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