Blog Post #4: Noodles in Broth

Chicken Noodle Soup

Back in the day when I had a cold,

My mother would prep my favorite cure on the stove.

The process a secret that was so old,

When I asked, love was one component she told.

The rest was all magic—a tale I once knew,

Because after one swallow, my pain went from a six to a two.

The sizzling of the stove made my mouth water,

Anticipating the taste and the power of fodder.

The clinging of spoons echoed the room,

Awaiting the seasoned, warm broth of the soup.


It slid down my throat,

Warming me up,

If I was lucky,

I would get a second cup.

The slippery noodles,

And tender, white meat,

Warmed up my body—from my head to my feet.

A dish so unique, no one could recreate,

Because the love that went in, one couldn’t imitate.


I chose to imitate “Noodles in Broth” by Hong Junju.

I chose to imitate this piece because I was fascinated by the way in which Junju reminisces on the days during which chef Cui made bing.  I was entertained by the descriptive and detailed imagery that Junju provides to gradually engage the reader, causing me to imagine myself in his very setting, which was something that I believed I could imitate.

Through imitating this piece, I learned that in order to lay out and construct such an imagery-centered piece, I have to fully imagine myself in the setting that I am choosing to describe, which is harder than it sounds.  It takes time to close your eyes and practically bring yourself back to an old place or story, which writing this piece required.  In terms of culture, I learned that in the Chinese culture—as early as the 3rd century AD (when this piece was written)—the making of noodles in broth, or “bing steeped in tea,” was/is not a simple process.  It takes time, a multitude of specific ingredients, and a series of steps—from frying onions to filtering ‘tea,’ and from kneading dough to seasoning with several meats—that is, it involves much more dedication than one outside of the culture would assume when given the name, “Noodles in Broth.”

While writing my piece, I learned about my own culture as well.  Focusing on a very similar subject to noodles in broth—that is, chicken noodle soup—I learned that such a similar sounding dish can be interpreted so differently when compared cross-culturally.  In my culture, I found that the process that goes into making this subject can be broken down metaphorically—that is, rather than the complexity of ingredients and steps that are involved in preparing this dish, my mind immediately fell to the love and dedication that go into the dish that I enjoyed throughout my childhood.  While it is a simple dish to make in terms of time and the recipe, the values and affection that are involved in preparing, serving, and enjoying it are what make it so special.

Furthermore, there is cultural DNA embedded in both the piece that I read and the piece that I created.  In the piece that I read, the cultural DNA ties into the specificity of ingredients and steps involved in chef Cui’s specialty bing—a way in which no other culture makes soup.  In the piece that I created, the cultural DNA ties into the thoughts of happiness, love, and pleasure that come to mind when I remember enjoying the dish myself; whereas, other cultures may laugh when ‘love’ is defined as an ingredient. 


Cultural Indicator—Noodles (Haopeng Xue)

With the continual running of the history river, noodles had been constantly evolving into different shapes in various parts of the world. The production methods of noddles, the cooking methods and the combination with other ingredients made noodles unique from regions to regions. In this week’s reading, I was exposed to both noodles in China and in Italy. By closely observing the hand-making and cooking process, I came to realization about the cultural indication of the noodles.

For Chinese noodles, it is a great reflection of Harmony, one of the most important principles in Chinese cuisine. According to “Noodles, traditionally and today”, the author Na Zhang writes, “when cooking noodles, we can add eggs, vegetables, and other ingredients, so as to make noodles achieve the principle of ‘food diversification’, and promote health for people (Zhang 2).” Chinese noodles has rich content, ranging from various vegetables and meat. Maintaining a balanced diet is the key to harmony of everyone’s life. In the same reading, Zhang mentioned Beijing fried bean sauce noodles, which perfectly illustrates balance and harmony. In this type of noodle, it has carrots, cucumbers, green beans and sprouts for vegetables. The sauce contains minced pork and beans to provide the necessary proteins. Chinese noodle can always match vegetable and non-vegetable and there is a proper proportion for the amount of soup, noodles and other ingredients. Different types of grains, meat, and vegetables were cooked in different ways such as frying, boiling or eating in a cold soup. 

Chinese noodles also reflect how people perceive food as medicine. According to the reading “Noodles, Pressed and Pulled”, the beef soup that was used to cook contained 10 kinds of spices and herbs, and many of them were used for traditional medicine (Lin 4). This specific type of noodles originated from Gansu province, where a lot of Muslim resides. Because of their religious practice, Muslims do not eat pork. Therefore, all the hand pulled noodles use beef stock to add the flavor to the noodles. In this way, when people eat the noodles and drink the stock, their body can absorb all the nutrients at the same time. 

Different regions eat various types of noodles is also caused by the environment. For example, according to the reading “Dan Dan Noodles”, the author Dunlop described how the people in Sichuan province are more inclined to eat spicy food because of the dampness within their body (Dunlop 7). The chilly sauce from the Dan Dan noddles will cause people to swear continuously, which accelerates the process of metabolism to get the water out of human body system. There are more surprising types of noodles that come with certain stories. For example, Sao Zi Mian was used to reminds those that failed to pass the test of their shameful actions. Noodles in China can also contain auspicious meaning, such as longevity. In our previous reading, the Long-life Noodles, although the author did not live an ideal life, but his life span surpasses everyone in his family, reflecting the idea of consuming long life noodles.

In Italy, pasta signifies the unity of the nation and also the variety of its culture. Based on the reading “Spaghetti Pasta Macaroni”, pasta is a singular type of noodles. However, it has hundreds of different forms scattered all over Italy just like hundreds of small states in those areas before Italy was unified (Montanari 6). Each specific shape of pasta also serve different purposes as to accompany the corresponding sauces. The pasta with rough surface will hold on to the creamy rich sauce, and the pasta that has smooth surface goes well with simply olive oil in salad. By sharing this common type of food and making use of the diverse tradition, Italians transform pastas to a symbol of their own identities. In the meantime, variations can occur, which defines the identity in hundreds of other ways. Names of the pasta also plays a significant role in pasta’s history. Some names were created to commemorate the results of industrialization such as eliche pasta and route pasta. Others are named after the city to signifies its prosperity and complicated history (Abecassis 23).

Noodles played such an integral rule in both China and Italy due to its health benefits and diversity. Coming from grind grains such as wheat, semolina or millet, the noodles contain complex carbohydrates, which helps to keep the person’s stomach feel full for a longer period of time, while providing sufficient energy. The flour can also be mixed with eggs, which are treated as source of protein. Then, pairing noodles with local vegetables, meat and even fruits can create hundreds of dishes and keep people’s body in a good shape. By consuming noodles as a main source of diet, people can easily gain enough nutrients that they need. There are also different kinds of noodles that are accessible to the public all over the world. Although the climate varies between regions, people can still different types of grains in certain region and use the seeds to make noodles. Therefore, the major ingredients that are needed to make noodles are not hard to find around the world. Another reason that contributes to noodles’ significance is the cooking methods are easy to learn and takes less time. By boiling a pot of water and put the noodles in, waiting for a few minutes, you can easily receive a delicious meal, which solves many young people’s problem with lacking time.

In order to define noodles, we should understand the clinical definition—a strip, ring, or tube of pasta or a similar dough, typically made with egg and usually eaten with a sauce or in a soup. Flour and water are two fundamental ingredients to make up the noodles, but the cultural definition and linkage are much more important than the structural definition of noodles. There must be a group of people that shares the same method to make and to cook certain type of noodles. Their recipes can be a bit different to indicate how versatile the noodles are. According to chef Lombardi, noodles are “a universal food, complimentary to many other foods, and adaptable to many cuisines around the world.” His statement best defines all aspects of noodles and helps me to give a explicit definition for noodle, which is a comfort food that can be adjusted to everyone’s preference while developing a strong cultural connection with the people who are consuming it.


I choose the following picture as a representation of noodles. Nowadays, people do not have time to make noodles from scratch, and the experience of this fun process is part of the noodles true meaning. All the instant noodles that are sold in the market currently preserved the major flavor of all kinds of noodles, which is a reminder for those people who are busy with their work to feel the amazing taste of this type of food. The instant noodles that are sold in different countries can also be treated as a symbol that represents the local flavor as well.


Blog Post #2: The Kitchen Table (Taco Night Edition)

For this assignment, I chose to interview a close friend, Laura.  Laura is of Mexican descent, each of her maternal grandparents having been born and raised in Mexico. Her background is reflected through her weekly family dinners—specifically, “Taco Night”—a popular specialty that her family has made into a bimonthly tradition. Laura does not often speak about her Mexican identity, so upon receiving this assignment, I figured that it would be the perfect way for me to capture the essence of her ethnicity and how traditions are upheld in her household.  I thought that it would be especially interesting to gather insight into what a family dinner, other than my own, might be like, and the value taken on by the dining room in a different culture.

Unlike my dining room table which is mainly utilized by my family members, Laura and her family often have guests over for dinner—especially on “Taco Night.”  It is part of their tradition.  Laura tells me, that every family member has an assigned chair during  these dinners, the guest sitting in the most comfortable chair, and that they have been doing this for years.  Each Taco Night, Laura and her immediate family members gather around the island in her kitchen to assist her mother in preparing each element for the tacos.  Of utmost importance, however, is the pulled chicken—her mother’s specialty, which was passed down from her grandmother.  Laura insists that there is no food more delectable than her mother’s pulled chicken and guests have always concurred. 

On Taco Night, Laura’s mother is picky and demanding about what goes with what and where.  For example, three key ingredients that are designated for the tacos include black beans with spices, a Mexican cheese blend, and the famous pulled chicken.  Laura’s mother stresses that each of these ingredients be served in its own “designated” bowl.  After the ingredients are prepared and placed in the bowls, Laura’s mother aligns them on the kitchen island, while Laura and her brother set the dining room table with the tablecloth, water pitcher, cutlery, placemats, and plates, at each chair.  In addition, Laura’s mother puts out her famous sangria for the adults.  While everyone is helping prepare for the meal, Spanish music plays in the kitchen; however, when dinnertime comes around, all distractions must be eliminated—that is, phones, television, and music.  This has always been an integral rule enforced in Laura’s family, as meal time is all about conversation, engagement and eye contact.  Conversations at Laura’s dining room table are typical, her family members sharing the details of his or her day, but when guests visit, Laura’s family often does “ice breakers,” questions ranging from “If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be and why?” to “Where do you see yourself twenty years from now?”  Questions such as these, by giving rise to humor, warm up the room, and those around the table become quickly comfortable with one another, even when the guests are not well-known to all family members. “You would be surprised if you saw how into it everyone at the table gets,” Laura tells me.  “If your response is too short and you don’t go into depth, you will be shunned!”

Three major anthropological methods that I employed to study this kitchen table were participant observation (with the participant being Laura), cultural relativism (in relation to the Mexican culture), and comparison (comparing my kitchen table to Laura’s).  I learned about these three methods in the assigned reading from Week I, that is, Gillian Crowther’s Eating Culture: An Anthropological Guide to Food.  In this introductory guide, Crowther discusses how the various anthropological methods that are used in assessing the historical backgrounds and symbolism behind staple foods of many cultures.  For example: “Comparisons can be made between different members of society, such as by age and gender, and between different cultural or ethnic groups, between different places, and between different times” (Crowther, XXII).  On the other hand, when it comes to cultural relativism: “The examination of food requires cultural relativism be maintained and the range of foodstuffs, methods of acquisition, preparation, and distribution be understood within the broader assignment of cultural meanings and values” (Crowther, XXII).  In other words, it was of utmost importance that I observed and examined Laura’s responses to my questions from an unbiased standpoint, before I carried out the comparison method.

Utilizing these three methods in my study, I gained much appreciation for how the kitchen table is valued across different cultures by families, and so did Laura; in fact, this study  helped Laura learn how special her family’s dinners are, and how their traditional methods are unique.  Moreover, studying Laura’s kitchen and dining room table highlighted the various similarities and differences that hold true between our families when it comes to eating. Every family has their own ‘thing,’ when it comes to eating meals together, and while some families are more family-oriented during meal time, Laura’s family always makes sure to really “pull in” a guest on Taco Night—something that my family has never done before.  My biggest takeaway from this study is the realization that meal time is not necessarily family time for everybody, though it is about conversation. It is social, whether it involves family, friends, or coworkers.  I am invited for next week, for Taco Night with Laura’s family. I will get to observe this firsthand—wish me luck, as I have already begun my preparation for possible icebreaker questions!

Table of Britain (Haopeng Xue)

The famous TV series Downton Abbey introduced the life of British royalties in 20th century, and I was fascinated with not only the ranking systems, but also the strict table culture of Britain—— the proper way for people to dress at a dining table, how people use knives and forks to convey information, how people stand and talk in certain way at the table —— all of these are indications of one’s identity and social class. As global citizens, it is important for us to understand those rules to prevent us from offending other people that are from a different culture, while establishing a favorable first impression. Nowadays, although the table manner are not as strict as before, the kitchen table remains as a cultural artifact to remind us of our past traditions and follow those that have special meanings.

At first, I did not pay much attention to the traditional European etiquette, since I had never experienced those rules that seems strange to me in real life. As soon as I saw two footmen from the Downton Abbey arguing about who should serve the meat and who should take the vegetables to the guests, I became curious about the table manners of British family. It turns out that for footmen of the house, whoever brings the main course to the table, he would be the man of the highest level among all the footmen. This phenomenon drew my attention and I decided to research more about the British kitchen table by interviewing my friend Aaron who is currently studying in London. In order to gain a better understanding about the culture and draw a wider conclusion for how the society work from a third-person perspective, I also decided to implement Participant-observation anthropological method from Eating Culture An Anthropological Guide to Food by Skyping with him when they are preparing for the dinner. The reason why I choose this method is that I am better able to gain insights from Aaron’s perspective of his family kitchen table, but also try to interpret their table from my own point of view.

I became friend with Aaron after we attended the same summer program and kept in touch. On July 14th, I called Aaron at five in the afternoon British time, which is the time that he planned to buy groceries after picking up his sister from her piano lesson. It was the first time I saw the inside of a British supermarket through my phone. Despite the fact that everything seems similar to the US, I still noticed two things that are different. when Aaron was buying the cheese for dinner, there were four types of cheese ranked by its level of creaminess. People are able to choose cheese that contains different amount of milk based on their preference. Another special thing about the supermarket is the wide range of honey and jams. Any fruits has its corresponding jam ready for customers to consume. Aaron followed the list that was written by his mom, and fish and potatoes were the main dish for a cheerful Friday night.

As soon as Aaron got home, his mom had already set up the dinning table. It was not as fancy as I thought it would be, but the whole setup was definitely well planned. There were three sets of cutlery on each side with two spoons at the top of the plate. Knifes had different size; the largest one has sawtooth, which is used to cut steak and pork chops; the second knife has a flat cutting blade, which can be used to cut butter or pie; the last knife doesn’t have a sharp edge and it can be used to cut vegetables or fruits. Two spoons can then be used for soup and dessert. Although it is merely a regular family dinner, Aaron’s mother still planned everything carefully. Then she took bags of food and started her preparation and cooking process back in the kitchen. 

During the meal, I was shocked by how well behave the little girl was and her skillful way of using fork and knife despite she is only 5 years old. As she grabbed the large shared spoon with her hand, Aaron’s sister scooped some soup and salad to her bowls. This would be completely different if she was raised in a traditional Chinese family. The mom ushers their children to eat more for everything and help the youngest kids at the table to put all the dishes in their plates. This tiny detail shows that British values and develops their children’s independence starting from a young age. Aaron’s dad came back a bit later than usual, but when he first joined us, he started talking about his day at work and ask how is everyone else at the table. Whenever Aaron had some problems for schooling or for work, his dad always listened to him carefully and offered suggestions, because he believed in his son to make the right choice for himself. The warm family conversations reminded me of my family back in China, and how supportive my parents are to all my decisions that I proposed at the kitchen table. Receiving their trust and encouragement was my greatest motivation no matter where I go. 

After everybody was done with their food, they put their own plates and silverware back to the sink and Aaron’s dad will be in charge of cleaning up. Through my close observation of his family, I experienced how important it is to have everyone contribute to at least part of the kitchen table preparation process. By doing so, it unites the entire family and helps everyone to recognize their roles with certain responsibilities as a family member. With my careful examination of British kitchen table, I was impressed by how manner-centered my friends’ family is. Without the bonding time over the kitchen table, family members will have less opportunities to communicate about their daily life and find someone who really cares for their future to discuss their problems. 

By carefully examine the British table, I finally understand the true meaning of being a polite British gentleman and how society can be shaped to prosperity under the guidance of elite people. The set up of the kitchen table forge the children to follow the rules and become a future law keeper. If the children enter the society, they will know how to behave properly in public to avoid embarrassment. When two strangers is going to have dinner with each other, they will definitely judge the person by how they behave at the kitchen table. Children can also have a place to connect with their families and consult about their daily life problems thoroughly with their relatives. Under this environment, both their mind and body can stay on the road to fulfill their personal values. 

Caribbean traditions in American soil: Nikki Olagbegi

For this study, I decided to interview a close friend whose culture is very similar to my culture. Her family has cultural practices originating from Jamaica and Lebanon. While my family has cultural practices originating from Nigeria. We both have similarities in that many of our cultural practices originate from Africa, yet there are still some differences. I am conducting a study on her in order to evaluate how the differences in our culture are reflected in how we prepare food. In my evaluation of her culture and how the kitchen table is used, I am applying the anthropological methods mentioned in Eating Culture: an anthropological guide to food. Some of the methods I will use include using cultural relativism, participant observation, genealogy, and cultural comparison.

I stood with my friend as she was making meals with her mom and asked her how meals were eaten on regular occasions. She responded: On regular occasions, before and after meals the kitchen table is used for her to study and for her parents to do work. During meals, it was usually just herself at the kitchen at the dinner table and her parents stayed in the living room to unwind. School was the only time that she would have a communal meal and where she would feel normal. This was similar in her family history as her grandparents would also leave her mom at the dinner table with her siblings. It was hard to keep her family together for meals since the adults were always preoccupied with work and other issues. 

Then I asked her about what special occasions were like. She responded: usually, family gatherings were for special holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. During these events, adults and children would sit together separately out of respect for their elders. Even as she got older, her family separated the younger family members from the older family members. Fish Frys are events where her family members would help each other cook. It was also expected for the women in the family to serve the meals to the men but everyone else self serves their food. These occasions people would eat together in the living room to watch TV rather than the kitchen table. People don’t talk as much during meals because most of the conversations happen while making meals or after the food is finished. 

Next, I asked her about the cultural classifications of food and how her family prepared certain dishes. She responded: A unique dish that my dad would make for me in the mornings was called porridge: made of cassava with sweet oatmeals. Her family believes breakfast foods need to be heavy such as beef patties to have energy. It was also common in her family to have sweets in the morning as many Jamaicans believed it was good for energy. Religious classifications for food

I then ask her about any religious practices for food. She responded: Our traditions in a Muslim household included following the practices written in the Quran. Her family would pray before meals. When fasting for Ramadan happened if anyone was participating, out of respect to them, everyone would fast together. Meals could be eating before dawn and after dusk. They pray 5 times a day out of practice and are not to think of food. 

I then ask her about what she thinks is unique to her culture in order to make cultural comparisons. She responded: Traditionally food is cooked outside of the house because it is smoked or grilled. Food is cooked all day or sometimes prepared days in advance and served in big pots/plates. For special events, Jamaicans make a special bread and oxtails. On her mom’s side of the family special tea cakes are made with her mom and her grandma to serve at parties. As for my culture, my family typically makes most dishes inside since most dishes are boiled or fried. Like Jamaicans, Nigerians also prepare food in large servings because we believe in always having more than enough food so that even if guests come there is always plenty of food to go around. In the past, dishes with Hen or seafood used to only be prepared on special occasions since they were hard to get. Now, most dishes made on special occasions are also made on a regular basis at home. 

My questions from this interview have shown me how different cultures can be paralleled. In my culture, we also use the kitchen table to study before meals and usually eat separately during meals but not because my parents were busy. Usually, everyone in my family prefers to eat at different times so we usually just ate separately.  Special occasions were the main times I would sit together with my family. Usually, our family would separate the older family members from the younger family members out of respect. My family is also very religious and typically at any event, we would pray and dance before we would have meals. Overall from conducting this interview, I can see how my friend and my culture have the same cultural traditions related to food done in different ways. 

Journal #2 Simon Crespo

Simón Crespo Pérez

July 15th, 2019

Journal #2: La Cocina de Mi Mamá

  • Establish who you are and why you are conducting this study.

I am Simón Antonio Crespo Pérez, soon to be an alumni of Emory University majoring in political science. The reason I am conducting this study, specifically an interview and observation of my mother, her dining room and her kitchen is to describe and understand on a deeper level the anthropological side of food creation and consumption in my own household, which is affected by our Ecuadorian and Spanish origins. Consequently, the title of the journal, which translates to My Mom’s Kitchen.

  • What interests you about the table that you have chosen to write about?

I have a close friend who is a chef, particularly specialized in desserts for big events, like business cocktails and weddings, but the idea of researching in my own household was more interesting to me since it made me realize that I eat here almost every day and have never taken the time to analyze the creation and consumption of food in it. This journal is the perfect opportunity to do so.

  • What anthropological methods have you employed to study this kitchen table and why did you choose them?

For this journal, I have used what anthropologists would call ethnographic fieldwork since it is based on “empirical and descriptive results, and participant observation” (Crowther in Eating Culture). I used the method of ethnographic fieldwork because it was the most accurate method I have learned to answer the prompt of the journal.

  • What have you observed or learned?

All the following information was gathered via interviewing and observation.

The kitchen of my mother, María Teresa Pérez de Crespo, is an industrial one, which means it is made of stainless steel, and it was equipped by a German company that sets kitchens for restaurants in my area. She decided to do an industrial one in her house instead of a regular one because she only spends her money in what she truly likes. Cooking and serving food to family and friends are one of her favorite hobbies, so having a kitchen that not only looks like the one’s in movies about chefs, but also works professionally was a great investment. The kitchen is composed of different elements made with stainless steel: sink, dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, and pantry. All these elements surround a counter in the middle, which is also made of stainless steel. In that counter is where all the cooking magic happens. There are no cabinets and drawers therefore all the cooking tools and food are exposed since she likes to see everything and make sure they are clean. The dining room of my mother, which is right next to the kitchen and connected by a swinging door, so people can open it without using their hands since they are probably transporting food and other elements, like dishes and glasses. The dining room is composed of a big glass table that seats twelve people in leather chairs. The table and chairs were bought in Ecuador. The walls are decorated with four big paintings of a renowned painter from Bolivia, Mr. Pepe Luque, that portrays a party in a Latin American wealthy household in the 1920’s. For her, the kitchen is the technical part of the matter, so it is made of stainless steel and very organized. On the other hand, the dining room is the social part of the matter, so it is decorated with art. She finds joy in the two rooms. In simple words, in my household, we have two tables for food: the kitchen table or counter were food is created, and the dining room table were food is consumed.

  • What are your conclusions about the function, and practices associated with the kitchen table you studied?

From my interview and observation, I conclude that the situation regarding kitchen and dining room in my household is totally affected by the globalized world we live in: the kitchen and utensils were made by Germans, the dining table and chairs were made in Ecuador, the art was made in Bolivia, and the food comes from everywhere, from  imported American meat, imported Spanish cheese, and imported Chinese soy sauce. This last example is “foodscape”, the flow of ingredients and cuisines across the globe. Using “comparison”, the arrangement of that part of my house is not that different that an American household with a similar socioeconomic status. Not only has food gone global, but also where it is made and consumed: the kitchen and dining room.

Blog Post #1

My favorite Korean dish, Kimbap

  As an international student studying abroad at Emory, I usually go back home in Korea during vacation. I spend valuable time together with my family and friends and when it comes time to leave for the upcoming semester, my mom asks me what I want to eat for my farewell dinner. Every time I am asked about choosing the menu, Kimbap has always been my choice of dish without hesitation.

Kimbap is a traditional Korean rice roll wrapped with seaweed including a variety of ingredients. The direct translation just makes sense, as Kim means seaweed and Bap means rice. While Kimchi has been the all-time favorite dish for Koreans, Kimbap also put its name on the list of the national dish for its popularity that comes from having the unique sentiment of the people. It captivated the Koreans with fast serving and high nutrition to meet the so-called ’hurry-hurry’ mentality and the tendency to make more of health. I have been eating Kimbap since I was a child and it has become the signature menu of our family because all the family members loved my mom’s special Kimbap that was quite different from the classic one. Instead of using white rice slightly seasoned with sesame oil and salt, she used rice fried with Kimchi to make the dish more spicy and tasty. Every time I went on a school picnic or family trip, our family sat together on the kitchen table the night before and rolled the kimbap together with my mom’s fried Kimchi rice. By doing so, we could have the family time to share our daily lives and feel connected to one another. Every time I went on a school picnic, I was a popular guy because my mom’s kimbap tasted so good. I gladly shared it with my friends and felt excited just to see them eating deliciously. Even though I could not eat my fill, my mind was full of a precious memory and sincere love of my mom and family. Kimbap is more than just a simple delicacy. It not only has the power to unite our family both in physical and spiritual ways, but also makes me feel nostalgic for my youth and the love of my family.

Kimbap is my favorite dish not only because of its great taste and nourishment, but also for its convenience and variety. Kimbap has the perfect blend of cooked rice and various ingredients including yellow pickled radish, ham, carrots, spinach, egg and fish cake. The more I chew Kimbap, the more flavor I get from this mixture of nutritious fillings. Just by eating Kimbap, I can get all the demanding nutrients for my body like carbohydrates and proteins. In Korea, I can get Kimbap as easily as I can get sandwiches in America. Plus, it only takes about a minute to roll Kimbap, so I believe there is nothing more convenient than this food. The last thing I like about Kimbap is that there are a variety of variations depending on what kind of fillings you put in. Bulgogi, Tuna, cheese, and pork cutlet Kimbap are the most popular ones in Korea. Each variation tastes completely different, so people can choose a certain type of Kimbap of their own taste and enjoy it. Being recognized for its benefits, Kimbap recently started to find its way into the hearts of many foreigners as well. I once visited a Korean restaurant in the United States to eat Kimbap and found out that half of the customers were not Koreans. They were people from all different countries who just came to enjoy Korean cuisine including Kimbap. I felt a sense of satisfaction and pride to see these people who were fascinated with the Korean food saying that this is because it is healthy and tastes good at the same time.

This popularity arouses the curiosity about the history of Kimbap that kind of looks similar to Sushi and in fact, many of my foreign friends asked me about the origin of the food. The history of Kimbap is quite debatable and I want to introduce two main beliefs shared by a majority of Koreans. First, some people claim that Kimbap has its origin in Japanese influence during the wartime. Japanese people, who enjoyed eating sushi rolls called Norimaki, may have affected Koreans to develop Korean style sushi roll, Kimbap. Others believe that Kimbap originated from Korean food Kimssam, a rice wrapped with seaweed. Our ancestors may have evolved Kimssam into a more nutritious and fancy dish which is now called Kimbap. I personally think that it is not a single belief, but both ideas influenced the evolution of Kimbap. I cannot deny the fact that Koreans were influenced by Japanese about their life style in general during the war time, so food would not be an exception. However, the origin of Kimbap is deeply rooted as it contains the unique characteristics of Korean cuisine. This distinction is what makes me still proud of Kimbap and the Korean cuisine.

<the classic kimbap>

<pork cutlet kimbap>

<Me on a picnic with Kimbap>


  1. Prepare Kim, cooked rice seasoned with sesame oil and salt, and the fillings including yellow picked radish, ham, carrots, spinach, egg, and fish cake.
  2. Put Kim first and place cooked rice evenly on top.
  3. Place the ingredients on the rice.
  4. Roll Kimbap and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Enjoy it!

Bernard: Food and Family

A dish that is important to me and represents my family is spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground turkey. During my childhood and into adult life, I have shared this meal and experiences with my family regularly. I can remember beginning in my early childhood that my mother made this dish regularly, and my family shared our daily experiences together around the dinner table as we enjoyed this dish together. We typically ate this dish once per week. I can remember the aroma coming from the kitchen as my mother made the tomato sauce and the spices she used to perfect the sauce. She used basil, black and cayenne pepper, salt and garlic among other spices and seasonings to flavor the sauce. When the meal was served, we all used different cheeses to accompany the meal, with my favorites being grated parmesan cheese and sometimes mozzarella.

My favorite aspects of the dish are its richness, heartiness, flavor and aroma. The elements of the tomato sauce and ground turkey merge to create a robust, savory profile that infuses the spaghetti noodles. The spaghetti noodles carry the flavor of the sauce through with every bite. For me, the dish represents continuity, unity, harmony and comfort. More than any dish, spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground turkey has been the meal that my family has consistently enjoyed together. Through family issues and disagreements, we found time to have dinner together, with our meal serving as mediator, reuniting us physically and in spirit. I can remember tension easing and exuberant laughter and cheerfulness growing around our family table as we shared spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground turkey. Into my adult life, I have also enjoyed this meal as I have started a family with my wife. We typically eat spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground turkey once every two weeks. Coincidentally, this meal has become the most consistent meal of my life, providing continuity across time, family and geography, as I grew up with this meal in Montgomery, AL and now enjoy this meal with my wife and hopefully children to come in our home in Mableton, GA outside of metropolitan Atlanta. I now see that spaghetti and tomato sauce with ground turkey has been foundational in my life and traveled with me through life’s journey and my maturation. The ripened tomato and mature turkey and wheat in the meal have nourished me and my physical growth, but also have cultivated my emotional growth and the fond memories I have of my family, both old and new.

My wife’s recipe brings back childhood memories of family unity and harmony, laughter and joy. My wife and I have also created our own memories with this meal at the center. We have shared this meal in apartments where we lived and had the meal for the first time in our first house purchased last year. We have shared this meal during courtship, our year of engagement and now during our marriage. I see this meal for my family both old and new, playing an important role in our memories for years to come.

There have been discussions by historians that spaghetti originated in China and was taken to Europe through trade. There is also thought that spaghetti was migrated by Berbers through Europe. However, many accounts state that Marco Polo during his travels brought spaghetti to Europe from China during one of his trips in the 13th century. Spaghetti most likely traveled the Silk Road from China on its way to Europe and then to the Americas. Noodles such as spaghetti play an integral role in Chinese and Italian cuisine and culture. Noodle focused meals are at the center of family meals, traditions and history. Chinese and Italian culture share the various noodle types that have shaped global cuisine and memories for my family and other around the world. On the other hand, the tomato used to produce the sauce for spaghetti and tomato sauce with ground turkey is from the Americas. The tomato, coming from the Aztec word “xitomatl” was likely brought to Europe in the 16th century. The tomato now serves as a staple for sauces fused with noodles to create Italian cuisine, which is also enjoyed globally, particularly in the United States. Turkey also shares a closeness with the Americas and traditions of the United States. Thinking of a dish that represents a country, none stand out more than Turkey and its representation as the symbol of America and the tradition of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in America represents a certain unity, bringing together groups of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and histories around a common goal: giving thanks with our families and friends. The fond memories I have of sharing spaghetti and tomato sauce with ground turkey include the memories of festive family times and remind me of food’s ability to produce harmony, continuity and joy.



1 Briggs, Deborah. “Pasta with Meat Sauce.” Epicurious, April 1992,


1A recipe for spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground turkey:


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground turkey

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

16 ounces spaghetti, freshly cooked

1 cup grated Parmesan


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until brown, breaking up with fork, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer turkey to plate. Add onion and garlic to skillet and sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper and continue cooking 1 minute. Return turkey to skillet; add tomatoes, tomato sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until sauce is thick, about 30 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Toss pasta with sauce and 3/4 cup grated Parmesan in large bowl. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over pasta.


Blog #1 Ceviche- Francesca Cabada

Being that I am originally from Peru a staple dish that never fails to remind me of home has to be ceviche. Ceviche is a seafood dish typically made with a raw white fish and lime juice base. ceviche is central to Peruvian cuisine and unique because it is a raw dish that is cured/cooked by leaving the fish in the lime juice for about an hour or so. I mostly enjoy ceviche for its refreshing and tangy taste. The best way I can describe it is citrusy Poke like dish with accompanying flavors of sweet potato, Peruvian choclo (giant corn), and fresh herbs. As a kid I spent many summers in Peru, where my family would go to this beach called Punta Hermosa. All the kids would spend hours swimming and playing in the ocean, until we were exhausted, and we’d come running back up the beach to bask in the hot sun. Towards the end of the day my family would always order this huge dish of ceviche that could be brought out to us at the beach. Ceviche is a very sharable dish, being that it is usually brought out in a big bowl that is placed in the center of the table and everyone uses their own forks to eat from the bowl. This method of serving and eating the dish always brought everyone together and has left me with some really great memories of that time in my childhood.


I’ve inserted a photo of my mother and I, because i have a very large family and unfortunately I don’t have a photo that includes everyone. I have also inserted a photo of where I would spend my summers in Punta Hermosa, Peru.

After researching I found that ceviche resembled a very ancient dish that had been eaten in Peru up to 2,000 years ago around the civilization of the Moche. Its origin is widely debated but it is central to Latin America, particularly in the Andes region. It is most commonly consumed in Peru, Ecuador, and Chile but they are all different. Ceviche also has roots in Spain from a region called Granda, that may have originated during the time of colonization. Japanese-Peruvian chefs have also helped develop ceviche to what it is today and have combined traditional Japanese styles of cooking Sashimi in the preparations of ceviche. In particular there has been a fusion of ceviche and sushi, this blend of cultures has resulted in traditional sushi rolls with ceviche in the them (it’s delicious if you ever have the chance to try it). Currently, ceviche has become widely popular and has made its way into many restaurant’s around the globe.



  • 1 ½ pounds very fresh and high quality fish filets (corvina, halibut, escolar, hamachi, mahi-mahi)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 35- 40 key limes, or 15-20 Peruvian limes
  • 1-2 habanero peppers, cut in half, without seeds and deveined
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Finely chopped cilantro to taste


    1. Cut the fish into small cubes, place in a glass bowl and cover with cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt, cover and refrigerate while you prepare the onions and juice the limes.
    2. Rub the thin onion slices with 1/2 tablespoon of salt and rinse in cold water.
    3. Rinse the fish to remove the salt
    4. Place the cubes of fish, half of the sliced onions, and hot peppers in a glass bowl and pour the lime juice over the ingredients. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt. To minimize the acidity of the limes you can put a few ice cubes in the mix.
    5. Cover and refrigerate for about 5-15 minutes.
    6. Remove the cilantro sprigs and the hot peppers from the mix. Taste the fish ceviche and add additional salt if needed.
    7. Use a spoon to place the ceviche in each serving bowl, add additional sliced onions to each bowl, sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro, and diced or sliced hot peppers.
    8. Serve immediately with your choice of sides and garnishes.

This website is where I found a recipe and where I got my images of ceviche from.


This website is where I got the image of Punta Hermosa from:—lima

Alex Shen journal #1

Alex Shen, CHN-370W, assignment 1

I was born and raised in Suzhou, China, where noodles plays an important role in both the culture of the city and people’s routine life, therefor it is no surprise that my favorite dish of all time is the noodles in Suzhou. Both my parents came to Suzhou after they graduated from college, and have been living here since then. For almost thirty years of living in this city, they were adapted to the food here and that is one of the reasons why I can enjoy the noodles. Among food of Suzhou, noodles is one of the most important and famous. There are countless noodle restaurants in Suzhou, which half of the citizens of Suzhou spend their time in them for breakfast. It’s like a tradition, a habit that is owned by all of the citizens. Noodles is also popular in north and west of China, where it is considered the staple food. But unlike noodles in these regions where people favor the texture of the thick noodles, noodles in Suzhou are thin and long, and the flavor of the soup is more important. My father has been a fan of noodles in Suzhou since he came here, and that greatly influenced me, and he is also the one that first led me to one of the noddle restaurants. It’s somewhat like an unspoken “rule” of this city to pass this love for noodles from generation to generation. I still remember that until high school, my dad would take me to school every day, with a stop by a noodle restaurant. It became a daily ritual of our family, and my dad and I could not start a day’s work or study without a noodle breakfast. 

When I tried the noddles here for the first time, I became a fan of it simply because it was delicious. Noodles in Suzhou is quite different from that of the north——it’s thinner, longer, and more smooth. The soup is also important, it’s made from fish and pig bones, combined with soy sauce and other spices. Finally, there are so many kinds of toppings for it——beef, pork, bamboo shoots, fish and so on——I could literally have different kinds of toppings for half a month. So my journey with noodles started because it was so delicious. But as time went on, it became more than that, to a way of my life. I know that it was totally unscientific to say I couldn’t start my day without noodles for breakfast, but it’s a way of saying how much noodles means to me. If I skip a noodle breakfast, I would be constantly thinking about it for the entire day and couldn’t focus on anything. My dad was busy when I was young, so “noodle time” was also the only time I had with my dad every day. It might be strange that the conversations between a father and a son happened mostly over breakfast, but those little conversations actually partly made me who I am today. My dad would always finish his noodles first and then start to talk to me, and since I would still be eating, I listened most of the time while my dad did the talking. He would ask me about school, about mom, about girls I like, and then talk about his own work, although I couldn’t understand a thing at that time. After we finish it and get into the car, we would listen to to the morning news from the radio and comment on them, but mine were naive and straightforward while his were more insightful(I assumed it was since I also couldn’t understand what he was talking about). This kind of daily activity lasted till high school, when I had to get up at 6 am to get to school and only had time for a quick breakfast at  home, but over these years I was able to learn the way my dad looked at things and people, and that helped a lot for my building of values and the way I see the world. Right now I am studying at Emory University, but the first thing I do when I get back home is to go for a noodle breakfast with my parents.

About the history of it. Due the difference in climates, rice was mainly grew and cultivated in south and wheat in the north, so noodles was not a popular type of food in Suzhou until the Song dynasty, when the capital of the country was move to Hangzhou. A capital is always the center of all kinds of culture, so wheat was brought to the south by business men from the north. Because Suzhou was a rich city back then, those business men stayed here to further development. As they grew acclimatize to Suzhou food, they also made people of Suzhou to start growing wheat and consuming noodles. After some modification to noddles, making it thinner and longer, and the soup sweeter, people of Suzhou created their own kind of noodles that it different from any other in China. Right now, noodle consumption in Suzhou can be comparable to that of cities in the north, which could show how much people of Suzhou love noodles. 

Recipe for noodles of Suzhou:

First use pig bones, chicken, beef fat, sugar, broad bean and ginger to make the soup for noddles. Second, make the toppings. There are several most popular toppings, but actually you can make anything you like. Finally, put the noodles in boiled water for two or three minutes and then put everything together.