Stinky, delicious, spicy, hot, sweet, endless varieties of Kimchi...
Much of Kimchi is made in the fall as a way of preserving the vegetables for winter.
Women from families would go around in round robin style to help each other with kimchi making all within short period of time. It's not possible to make it alone when hundreds of heads of cabbages are involved! Every family had their secret family kimchi recipe. My grandmother busily went around and saw to it that every family made perfect amount of perfect kimchi at perfect time.
Afterwards kimchi is stored in beautiful, hand made clay crocks some with simple swishy designs. Hard to find the vintage kimchi crocks anymore... and if you did, you'd have to pay dearly for them and use them to decorate the house as they also do now with old clay chimneys.
Kimchi crocks are buried in the ground to prevent freezing in winter or stored in the cement vault as our family did. I think we were pretty advanced at the time with this method. In fact, I don't recall any others like our big cement box.
These are our crocks on top of the cement storage box my parents had built in our front yard. You can see in this older photo before the storage was built with crocks on the ground.
It appears in this photo that winter kimchi hasn't been made but soy sauce and denjang (Korean miso) are made and tightly stored. The empty crocks will be used for kimchi later in the fall to be stored underneath, inside the vault. I am guessing that the thickness of the wall kept things from freezing inside. There were many other foods stored in there but I don't know the details of exactly how this box was used.
Typical Korean dinner menu:
Rice - sometimes with barley and/or azuki beans
Soup - huge varieties including tofu
Meat: small amount of fish/seafood, chicken, beef, pork of varied recipes
Seaweed - roasted, salad style, etc
Several fresh seasoned vegetables - spinach, bean sprouts, cucumbers and other more exotic ones that I don't know the English names of...
At least 2 different kinds of kimchi, cabbage, daikon (my favorite), etc.
I am trying to resurrect and revisit my childhood diet as I now realize how healthy it was although I eat very little meat now and not so spicy... It is the original macrobiotic diet.
October is the most brilliant season in Korea!
Photo by my father; Seoul, Korea. Fifties