Updated: Mar 1, 2020
(by Cindy Garrard)
Food is the international love language. My mother took us to the elementary school park and watched us play. She met another lady there who had brought food and shared it with us. This woman became her closest friend throughout our childhood. They shared meals, laughs, a close connection, all with the introduction of food.
My mother was from South Korea, and Abby was from Mexico. So much difference and so much in common. They were both first-generation Americans, both married to engineers and mothers of young kids, living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with a love of cooking and sharing their cultures through meals. I never saw people as their race. I still do not. People are people. People that cook for me are people I love. People who let me cook for them I also love. Food is a way to share yourself, your upbringing. It says so much about who we are.
“Trustworthy people love to eat,” my mother always said. You can imagine what she thought of people who do not love food. All the other mothers brought peaches, pies, and hot dogs to a summer pool party. I thought nothing of my mom bringing kimbap (Korean seaweed rolls, similar to sushi minus the raw fish, sometimes including vegetables). Everyone ate everything, and the kimbap was popular because it was easy to grab and eat without interrupting our game of sharks and minnows. It’s amazing to think how our mothers organized everything perfectly before group texting and SignUpGenius.
I am now blessed with two healthy daughters—Lillian is six and Sophia is four. Our girls love my mother’s Korean food (pure joy for my soul), but they’ve already eaten Mexican, Greek, Thai, Indian, and Italian food. They love food. They may be trustworthy little souls. Every Sunday after church, our tradition is to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant. One Sunday when Lillian was 20 months old, the waiter brought her chicken fingers and fries; she raised her hands in the air in excitement and said, “Yay, Mexican food.” My husband and I laughed. I hope that she and her sister look back on their childhood and see what I see now.
Cindy Garrard is a wife, mother, aspiring author, and vice-president of a bank in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
1 c. raw sushi rice (Nishiki brand recommended)
10 sheets seaweed
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1 t. sea salt
Let rice soak for 30 minutes in a medium pot.
Rinse rice several times until the water turns clear.
Tilt the pot to the side and pour out enough water so that only half of the rice is covered.
Place pot over high until water boils.
Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
Refrigerate rice until cool.
Place a thin layer of oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and lightly toast sesame seeds for about 2 minutes; set aside.
Place seaweed sheets on a cutting board.
Dip a basting brush in the sesame oil, and brush seaweed with a light layer of oil, then sprinkle with a dash of sea salt.
Turn seaweed over with salted oil side down
Wet fingers and spread seaweed with a thin layer of rice.
Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds all over the rice.
Tightly roll up the seaweed.
Slice into 1/2-inch pieces.