K Food: Secrets of Korean Flavors
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This five-volume, slipcased set of books is published in English in South Korea. Handsomely designed, it reveals key elements of how Koreans think about food in their culture.
Edited by former South Korean Minister of Culture Lee O-Young, and with culinary editorial supervision by Cho Heesuk of the internationally recognized restaurant Hansikgonggan in Seoul, K-Food’s five volumes are:
- The Special Flavors of Korea
- Bland. Wrapping. Mixing
- Pickling. Fermenting
- Picking. Digging. Plucking
- Simmering. Boiling. Steaming
As the volume titles suggest, there is a poetic sensibility in these books, supporting a strong conviction that Korea’s distinctive cuisine is inseparable from national identity. This is underscored by the inclusion of historic artwork such as a painting called Barbecue in the Snow from the 18th century and folksongs celebrating the gathering of wild greens.
On the more practical side, there are photographic guides to different commonly used ingredients, profiles of artisans who produce important kitchen tools, and of haenyeo, women who dive without breathing apparatus into the sea to return with seaweed, abalone, urchins, and other edibles.
There are recipes as well, written in precise, idiomatic English and accompanied by crisp photographs of the simply presented dishes.
Impressive and unusual for its rigor, breadth, and handsome design.
Cloth slipcase. 5 cloth-bound hardcover volumes. Color photographs throughout.