Food and Wine

Food and Wine, Kimchi Chronicles, June 2001

“Our kitchen became an unimaginable place of absolute madness at feast time, when more than a hundred might be served,” Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall writes in her upcoming first cookbook, Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen.  For Hepinstall, a prizewinning Korean novelist who came of age in the sleepy town of Ch’ongju in the 1940s, banquets were memorable occasions.  All the women in her family participated, hand-rolling noodles, boiling huge cauldrons of flavorful broth and preparing myriad side dishes.  During these week long cooking frenzies, Hepinstall learned the family recipes she shares in her book, including mandu (stuffed dumplings), chapch’ae (noodles with stir-fried vegetables) and kimchi (the fiery pickled cabbage dish that is a must at every meal).  Hepinstall also offers revelatory glimpses of everyday home life – the tyranny of her strong-willed grandmother, the influence of Confucian rituals and the way the hierarchy of family members was reflected by what they ate.  Clear instructions, a glossary of ingredients (like ssukgat, or crown daisies), and helpful suggestions of substitutions for hard-to-find items make this introduction to the world of Korean cooking as practical as it is evocative.  –  Susan Choung