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Dinner is Served

A Food Fusion Experiment

I miss the days of collecting and reading cookbooks. Now I find recipes online which does not have the same romance as paging through the pretty pictures, but it has solved my conspicuous cookbook storage problem. Plus, food and families morph so much over time, what I choose to cook has had to evolve as well. I still have a shelved cookbook I received as a wedding gift with several recipes marked “Do NOT make again.” 

Recently I was scrolling through social media perusing many of my much loved food accounts. From stunning photography to time lapse videos that are a marvel, I’m often on the hunt to find a new favorite to add into the rotation and those that make it all the way to Instagram have been thoroughly vetted. 

However, even recipes these days are subject to heated debates and angry comments. This recipe, from chef Melanie Hye Jin Meyer for Kimchi Carbonara drew both praise and criticism. Some felt this should not be called kimchi since there is pasta involved. Others are offended that it’s called a carbonara because it contains kimchi. But the photo was compelling.

As someone who is Scandinavian and Asian and grew up with allegiance to both lutefisk and beef broccoli stir fry, such food fusion issues do not bother me in the least. Personally I’m only interested in two things when it comes to recipes. Is it reasonably easy to execute for the home cook? (Because none of us needs to be plucking Cornish game hens.) And is it going to be family friendly level edible or will we be having cereal for dinner after this failed project? 

I found all of the necessary ingredients at the grocery store and it took me less than 30 minutes to make start to finish. I bought prepared Kimchi and there were plenty of options. I chose the mild option because it’s friendlier to my Scandinavian tastebuds. The local Wine Shop recommended a nicely priced Chardonnay that could be used for cooking but also for sipping. And drum roll…it turned out very well. It's a creamy pasta with a hint of a bite. The kimchi is not overpowering and the egg and parmesan make it a familiar texture. My children ate it without knowing what kimchi was and even after I described fermented cabbage at length, they still gave it their hard-to-earn stamp of approval. 

As for the debate on who should declare ethnic claim on this dish and what it should be rightfully called, I don’t know who wins. Wait, it’s me. I win. Winner winner, I just made dinner.