Mom’s Relationship with Food

Dec 13

I’ve talked about my mom’s cooking before but feel that I need to devote another post to it so you can truly understand how her cooking has impacted my life. Mom loves to feed people. My siblings and I all likely share the same earliest memory, which is our mother chasing us around the house with “just one more bite!” of whatever food she’s made for us. It’s a sexist cliche, I know, but I honestly will never see her happier than when she’s in the kitchen whipping up a meal for us. In addition to being an ace Korean food chef, my mom also cooks many delicious ‘western’ meals. At family gatherings, her dishes were always quick to empty while jealous Caucasian women watched in the background, begrudgingly eating while their own bland dishes sat untouched and collected a glossy, filmy sheen. If you visited our house and she was home, you didn’t leave hungry. Eventually our friends caught on and would “randomly” show up around dinner time to catch a good meal. Mom was more than happy to have guests over, though. Even if she didn’t know you, she’d still make you eat. (Case in point: one time Mom fed leftover spaghetti to some delivery guys who were dropping off a package, and they happily ate it.) Naturally, my mom went ridiculously out of her way to make meals just the way her kids liked them. She’d sooner die than let any of us go underfed, so as a result I got away with being a little asshole when I was younger because I was a picky eater. Since she worked nights at the Ford Motor Plant, a regular sight for me whenever I’d come home from school would be a separate plate covered in saran wrap that was labeled with the following message: “Rebecca. Eat. Good. No onons.” (The word “onions” was always misspelled.) She made my school lunch for me every day through my senior year of high school. My friends were insanely jealous – one was always quick to point out that I had “the best lunches” out of anyone else. When my brother John got the stomach flu and told her he couldn’t eat anything, she still showed...

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Mom Catches Me Red-Shouldered

Dec 07

Mom Catches Me Red-Shouldered

In August I completed my second Ironman. The first time I raced that distance was in 2010. As you recall, that time Mom was unconvinced I’d finish in one piece but was relieved I had finished alive and well. She was once again worried that I had signed up to do another “Macho Man” race, but I assured her that I would be fine. The day before the race, I called Mom to remind her that I was racing. Me: “My race is tomorrow.” Mom: “Yeah?” Me: “Yeah, I’m doing another Ironman, remember?” Mom: “Really? Where?” This woman never remembers anything I tell her. Me: “The same place where I did my race two years ago.” Mom: “…Toronto?” Me: “No, Penticton.” Mom: “Oh. What kind of race? Swimming, same thing?” Me: “Yeah, swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles.” Mom: “Gahhhhhh. Better be careful. Really! Honestly.” Me: “Don’t worry, I will.” Mom: “Without break?” Me: “No, it’s all back-to-back.” Mom: “My gahhhh. Don’t forget to eat pasta…and beef…and chicken! Give you energy. If you were with me, I’d feed you good food.” Me, laughing: “Okay, I’ll be sure to fuel up before my race.” I did the race and posted an improvement over the last time I did it, but I also crashed early on in the bike leg and sustained some injuries (scrapes, bruised ribs, a concussion). Afterwards I put off calling my mom because I didn’t want to freak her out by telling her about my bike accident, so I kind of avoided the little Korean woman for about a week. Unfortunately, my brother John is a gigantic butthole and ratted me out. I had sent him this picture of my shoulder via text message: The day after I sent it, he met my mom for lunch and showed her the damage. Shortly after that, I noticed a missed call from my mom. It was Labor Day weekend and I was in Vancouver for the holiday to do some post-Ironman R&R, so I didn’t check my voicemail until I was back across the border. When I finally listened to my mom’s voice message, my reaction was a mixture of horror, fear, and great amusement. The following is a verbatim transcription of the message my mom left for me: Mom: “REBECCA!!!!!!!” She screeched my name so loud that I...

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