Welcome to the first blog post from Nomad! We just wanted to thank you for your interest and love for kimchi and we hope to teach you some skills that you can pass on to your friends and family, or at least save you money on your kimchi habit.
Richard and I are just two friends, living in Kansas City, who share a mutual love of good local food and for the art of food preservation. I’m Abbi, people have called me the kimchi lady and I just wanted to start out and tell you a little bit about kimchi and why we do what we do!
For thousands of years, our ancestors have been preserving and storing food to stay alive over long winters and to support and feed their families. Different methods of food preservation evolved throughout nearly every culture spanning the globe and in every age of modern humanity. If you think about it… none of us would exist if it weren’t for our ability to store food.
One of the oldest means of food preservation dating back as early as the Paleolithic, is fermentation, which is our jam here at Nomad Kimchi. In Korea, historians believe it most likely began with the preservation of fish by salting, which later evolved into the salting and curing of vegetables for storage over the harsh winters.
It has been documented as a food of the early kings, and always touted for its deep connection to health and longevity. It was a food tradition shared by both the elite and the poor, a food that is indivisible from Korean history and modern culture. In fact, if not for Kimchi, I would not exist on this earth today, I’m quite certain. That’s a whole story for another time…
Historically, most Kimchi was traditionally produced in the fall at the end of the growing season at cabbage harvest time. Throughout the year, Korean women would make many different types of kimchi from seasonal vegetables, some quick kimchis and those meant for long time storage. The time of year and the kimchis made during this time are known as “Kim-Jaang”.
The cabbages are all harvested, and everyone gets together to celebrate (rage out hard) and make enough Kimchi to last through the winter when fresh vegetables were not available. And of course, because it’s delicious and who wouldn’t want to make an entire event all about making, eating and celebrating kimchi?! Everyone drinks soju, preps vegetables, and prepares the kimchi to go into ceramic pots underground to last through until the following season. There’s always lots of singing, storytelling, and shoving fresh kimchi into the mouths of your friends and family.
I remember preparing kimchi this way with my grandmother. I was lucky enough to learn the skill directly from one of the best traditional kimchi makers in Korea. She passed on not only the skill but the DNA to be an exceptional taster. I got to learn from both her and my mom, and I now understand how truly lucky I am for the experience.
To most Korean families, kimchi recipes are sacred and skills are only shared with the family elite. Of course, today, not everyone has a Korean grandmother to teach them to make kimchi, so I’d like to help teach you the tradition and break generations of secrecy. I am sharing the techniques passed on to me by my mother and grandmother.
Sadly, the art of kimchi making is dying. Youths in Korea are less interested in learning to make it from their family, and more interested in all the things that come with mainstream modern societies: music, cars, fun and cheeseburgers… all things Western. The art is disappearing, and I feel deeply honored that I can pass it on to as many people as possible. Try out our kit today and make some of the best kimchi you will ever have, that was made by your own two hands.