My Omoni’s big, bold adventure began in 1963 when she left behind her family, friends, and country and arrived in Indiana. As a child, I asked her what she missed most about Korea and she surprised me. She said, “The food.” In those early years, there were few sources of Korean food and products. She often told us stories about how BIG Korean grapes were! How JUICY and round the pears were! After a while, they seemed like fairy tales to my brothers and me.
Finally, one day my mother handed us giant Korean pears. As she stared at hers, holding it in both hands, she looked as if she were in another world. Another time. Maybe she was a young girl in her Omoni’s kitchen sharing a meal with family and friends. I bit into the fruit and the juices flowed down my chin and neck. I spun around to hide the tears streaming down my face, salt mixing with sweet, both taking me by surprise. “Do you see now what I was talking about?” I nodded slowly with a new understanding. My Mother was sharing more than just a piece of fruit. It was her history, her culture, her family, her heart.
My Omoni offered her family fresh, wholesome, and satisfying foods to nurture the body, as well as the soul. She was bold, adventurous, and passionate, much like the food she cooked. Anybody who sat at her kitchen table left with a full belly and a smile on their face, always eager to return.
With OMONI, I want to share these bold, adventurous, and fresh flavors of my childhood and pass on to others what my mother shared with me. It is more than just food. It is powerful and full of heart.
Omoni (left) and friend before leaving for America
Celebrating family birthdays together
David's first birthday in Korea 1963