Throughout this semester I have been undertaking auto-ethnography research, which is both a process and product, stated by Ellis, as a means of exploring a culture other than my own. In making this digital artefact I believed the best way to convey my experience was through a Youtube channel as well as snap-chatting each step in the recipe through snapchat in order to condense the method for the viewer, making it more engaging.
Im a 20 year old english girl who has lived in Australia for nearly 9 years, still visiting England very regularly. Growing up our cooking was very ‘traditional,’ for example, every Sunday we would have a roast dinner consisting of roast beef, Brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and roast potatoes. It was the type of cooking where ‘comfort food’ was very common and cooked often. This was a completely different cooking method to that of Korean.
To understand this new way of cooking I took to a reliable Korean blog/forum which described the ingredients and methods as well as discussions of people who had made the recipe form all around the world. This was a really good example of the way in which globalisation has changed the consumption of culture and cuisine through an online platform. People from all around the world are engaging with Korean food as I means of understanding and experiencing its culture. This made understanding what I was cooking a lot easier, however the method… a continuous issue. At times I tried to turn the dish into something I was familiar with and when it wasn’t I struggled to like it, comparing it to something I was familiar with in order to describe it.
The biggest issue for me was the sourcing of ingredients and the fact that I am allergic to Chilli and seafood, which is two of the main ingredients used in Korean cuisine. I wanted to find all the ingredients in local supermarkets to make it easier for not only myself but other people to find the ingredients. I live more than an hour from any of the Korean speciality stores and I’m sure many people would be in the same boat. This left me feeling as though it was a cuisine that the Korean culture didn’t want to share. I was often frustrated substituting authentic Korean ingredients with things that were similar in Coles, Woolworths or local fruit and veg shops, the overall product didn’t seem to work quite as efficiently as I was fantasising. I felt extremely disconnected from this cuisine because of the lack of ingredients i was able to find, although from what I have researched Korean culture is extremely welcoming and wanting to share their culture with everyone. This is one of the biggest contradictions I found in my research and that of experiencing.
Below is my first attempt at a South Korean dish known as ‘Bok Choy with Soybean Paste,’ this is a dish that is commonly used as a side dish. Rather than having entree etc, Koreans tend to put all different dishes on the table at the same time creating a sharing atmosphere, one that I’m not particularly accustomed too. Here is a funny little blog I came across in regards to Korean table manners.
I really struggled as you can see with the first recipe. I substituted and the outcome was an absolute disaster. A taste and texture I still cant remove from my memory.
My second attempt below is really interesting as I found a Korean section in Woolworths that had pre-made mixes (music to my ears), this was a completely different and lazy way of cooking but I felt as though the product that I ended up with was a lot more authentic due to the flavours and consistency. When questioning the authenticity, I discovered that the ‘Street kitchen‘ company is from Melbourne and made in India. So how authentic does it then become? Its interesting to see the flow of globalisation, we are a country obsessed with experiencing different cultures and cuisines as if they are trends for example, sushi, indian, thai, Mexican etc. At first I though the dish was amazing, mostly because I was eating, enjoying and experiencing completely new flavours that I thought were authentic, but after reading that? I swapped my chopsticks for a fork.
Something I discovered for my own interest was that ginger can be used to substitute Chilli. It packs some serious heat! Which led me to a side project that i have been working on for DIGC202. After spending so much time looking for recipes that didn’t involve chilli or seafood, I made a subreddit as a way of assisting others who had dietary issues in order to find recipes quickly and easily.
Below is my second attempt cooking Bulgorgi Beef:
Due to these allergies paired with sourcing ingredients I struggled a lot finding recipes that I could actually eat in order to experience the culture. In moving away from side dishes and main dishes which mostly consisted of chilli and seafood, I decided to make Kkwabaegi (twisted donuts!) I was really excited to make these donuts because when i was little I visited Spain and had homemade donuts on the beach that they were selling in a paper bag, hot. I know Korea and Spain have nothing to do with each other culturally but every donut I have ever eaten I compare to those I have had as a kid and it destroys the experience EVERY time. Optimistically, I thought they were going to turn out like the ones on the beach as a child, they didn’t. Instead they tasted like sweet bread and had the consistency of scones. Maybe I did something wrong, or maybe it didn’t live up to the Spanish donuts, whichever it was I was really disappointed and they ended up getting thrown away. Below is Kkwabaegi experience:
For previous research and detailed explanations of each recipe please look at the rest of my blog.