In today’s industrialized Korea, more than half of the farmers
are still devoted to rice cultivation. With the help of modern
technology, rice farming has never been more efficient, and
twenty men can now do what once took two hundred men to do.
Korean farmers are producing good harvests year after year;
even in 1989 they had a bumper crop, despite a typhoon and
major flooding. Some years there are even surpluses.
Rice is valuable not just as a food staple. After the harvest,
the leftover material—the dry husks and straw—are put to good
use: for cooking fuel, for making rope and rice sacks, and,
most important in past days, for making thatched roofs for
village houses. (Nowadays, tin and tile have replaced the
old thatched roofs, but to me, the sight of straw always takes
me back to my childhood home and our barn where I used to
play hide-and-seek with my friends. We rolled in and out of
those haystacks like a pack of mice, forever giggling.)
Rice remains the single most important grain to the Korean
people. It is the ingredient with which a myriad of Korean
dishes are magically transformed—from appetizers to desserts,
and countless dishes in between. Rice is even turned into
teas, soft drinks, wines, and spirits—the list seems to go
on forever. In fact, Koreans boast that rice can be made into
more than 700 great dishes. Among the many varieties of rice,
Koreans favor short-grain white rice, which has a nutty fragrance
and a tender yet chewy texture...
Ready to prepare one of those 700 great rice dishes? Then
check out Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen.