Saturday, October 20, 2007

Seaweed soup everyday

Traditional Korean Seaweed soup or Miyakuk is so easy to make. We're eating it everyday as per the Korean practise for a new mother. It's cheap, delicious and nutritious.

30 grams of dried seaweed (make sure you get Miyak seaweed and not kim or some other variety used for other purposes) It will look like long thin strands which will thicken up immensely once hydrated.
2 Tablespoons Sesame oil
3 Tablespoons Soup grade soy sauce (look for Jorim GanJang (GanJang means soy sauce by the way) on the bottle)
Some meat (we use dried pollock)
Soup stock

Hydrate the seaweed in water for 5 to 10 minutes, then discard the water and whatever dirt might have collected in the bottom of the pot. Cut the seaweed into squares using scissors (much easier to do with the wet seaweed than the dry).

Fry the meat in 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, add half the soy sauce and the seaweed. Fry all together for 2 to 5 minutes.

Dump the whole shibang in a pot add the stock, salt and heaps of water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

We leave the pot on the stove and have the soup with every meal. It's fantastic. We're also eating kimchi with every meal. Gabi loves the soup but she won't even consider eating the kimchi.

Meanwhile, things are going pretty well with the family. Gabi is sitting most of the time for the majority of meals now and she's eating heaps. Her crap is coming out quite solid. Some day soon I hope she'll try the potty so we can stop buying those diapers. Speaking of which we've run out of the 99.9% cornstarch baby powder that we'd been using to keep down her diaper rash, completley impossible to find in Korea.

Luckily, I found out that zinc oxide makes an excellent antibacterial and the local pharmacist is willing to whip up a batch for cheap. Managed to get Gabi to wear a scarf today which involved not a little bit of crying but then she got over it. She absolutely hates having things around her neck with the exception of her toy cellphone. And I broke out my winter jacket today because of the bitter cold North wind.

Abi as I mentioned earlier had a giant crap for her first time in about 7 days, much to our relief. And she doesn't toot so much anymore either. I had the week off from work because my students were doing midterms. Good thing too as I needed to dash off to Seoul to apply for Abi's passport and citizenship. A guarantor would sure help me save a lot of travel time but I don't like doctors, lawyers, judges, nor cops and that's all the choice they give you for overseas passports!

I had to rush for Abi's passport because the typical xenophobic Korean immigration department requires that you register your newborn within 30 days of her birth!!!!

Next week I only teach 10 hours at my high school as the first years (grade 10s) are off to Jeju island for a week long field trip. Lucky us! Then starting next Saturday I'm working extra hours at the Uni. I don't like to take the time away from my family but at the same time they sure do eat up a bunnch of money and so we've been living from paycheque to paycheque which I absolutely hate!

Poor Gabi is so jealous of all the attention her mom is paying to the new baby. I'm trying to compensate by giving her as much of my time as I can but I just don't seem to be hard-wired for those 4am cries that need a changed diaper or a bottle of milk! Anyway, I'm trying and I am losing lots of sleep in any case. I've heard lots of folks in both Korea and Canada tell me that one and a half year olds shouldn't be drinking milk at night and so with much cajoling I've managed to convince Rosi that our best policy is to begin watering the milk and eventually in about 2 weeks we'll just be giving her water at night -- no more milk.

Acutally to be truthfull I couldn't get anywhere with my arguments so I just put my foot down. Just like I did when we moved Gabi from that sickly sweet Filippino formula to regular milk and giving her less milk in each bottle so that she would stop throwing up three times a day. Well she wasn't throwing up that often but it seemed like she was doing it at least once a day.

Speaking of which I saw her intentionally stick her finger in her mouth when she was crying and induce herself to vomit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole reason we started giving her less milk was to get her out of that bulimic toddler scenario to begin with and then I observed that intentional behaviour in her just last week. I naturally gave her hell and whenever she begins to cry now I make sure that she keeps her fingers well clear of her mouth.

Actually, today I shut her mouth when she started to gag (she wanted to walk around while she was eating and I had a different idea so the tears and then the gagging ensued) so that she would think twice about letting it all come up. I know, I'm a bastard but I think being hard on her where it counts is how I can help her to be healthy. Sadly, it seems that both the Philippines and Korea have similarly ridiculous ideas about how to raise a child.

At any rate, I sure don't have any trouble with making a child cry when it involves valuable lessons. Child reaches for a very sharp knife -- SLAP! No! BAAAHHH WAAHHHH and lots of tears but at least there's no blood. That's exactly how I'm treating Gabi's reflex to throw up when she gets upset. Except, I'm just keeping her fingers away from her mouth and when it comes down to the last moment, keeping her mouth firmly shut may just stop the Technicolor torrent and prevent her from becoming a full blown bulimic toddler. I sure hope so anyway.

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