Tuesday, November 4, 2008

#53 Force Feeding

One of the many unique talents a Korean mom possesses is force feeding; feeding you until you are nearly hospitalized, distended stomach and all. Although you may think this is true about moms across cultures, Korean moms stand alone in how they go about using this particular talent. They are the queens of mixed messages. In fact, they invented the mixed message. It is a form of torture taught to all Korean moms as the mantle of 'ahjumah' is passed down to them. They learn the art of mixed messages in conjunction to purchasing their very first frizzy perm, and as they put on their very first pair of socks with sandals. Korean moms live to confuse you, and force feeding is their weapon of choice. They tear you down, only to build you up soon after...don't be frontin' kids...you know you like it. They will feed you only when they have done their best to lower your self esteem a few notches. It does not matter how fat your Korean mom thinks you are, when it is meal time, she will feed you until rice comes out of your nose. She may be disgusted by the sheer sight of your double chin, buy you herbs and acupuncture sessions to help you lose weight, but she will never let you starve. She will tell you to go on a diet, grab your love handles like she is about to rip them off, give you the stank eye, then proceed to stuff you with sahm-gyup-sahl/bacon, dipped in fatty sesame oil and salt. This is their self created window of opportunity. When your self esteem is lying on the floor in need of CPR. It is only then, at that moment, that their cooking becomes the highlight of your life. Korean moms understand the secret of life...food tastes best when it is the only thing left to live for. If you have the good fortune not to be 'fat' in the eyes of your Korean Mom, rest assured that she will still mess with you then ambush you with food. Punishment (see #52) usually proceeds a force feeding. It is their way of apologizing for whacking you with the rice paddle and asking you why you are crying. Have you ever eaten a great steaming bowl of jjigae/stew with tears streaming down your face? Or had some really awesome galbi/short ribs while making that really sad choking sound where you can't breathe because you're holding back a sob? This is the moment Korean moms live for. The moment when she knows that you may be pissed, offended beyond belief, on the verge of running away, or calling social services, but you will not do so until you finish your meal...because her food is Just. That. Good.

43 comments:

Julie said...

"Have you ever eaten a great steaming bowl of jjigae/stew with tears streaming down your face? Or had some really awesome galbi/short ribs while making that really sad choking sound where you can't breathe because you're holding back a sob?"

Oh man, that cuts to the bone right there! Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes!!! If you put it that way, it sounds pretty messed up, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

cbc radio clip? anyone know?
has chiyo yet to put it up?

o yes, this one was hilarious....
and now i'm hungry...

mikekimchi said...

I am destined to be the big guy who will always need to go on a diet, while simultaneously consuming 4000 calories of my mom's food.

I feel the pain/pleasure.

Sang-A Bae said...

haha, too true. xD
my KM force-feeds my friends like this too, and they join me as i eat the jjigeh with tears streaming down my face from pain/pleasure. haha

Anonymous said...

Lol, yes, my KM grabs love handles HARD.

By the way, I love all your pictures that you associate with your posts =D They're hilarious!

Rob said...

This is too true. My fiancee's mother always loads me up even when I am not hungry. "Ommah, but I don't want a bowl of kimchi-jigae, kimchi, brown soup, fried eggs, tangerines, and anchovies for breakfast! A banana and peanut butter toast will do me just fine."

Ommah says, "Ani, eat it all!"

I say, "Ah re sah, ah re sah..." Not sure how to spell it, but essentially it's "Ok, ok ok, whatever you say..."

ngf said...

food doesn't judge you...but your mom, sure as hell, will...

how did i become the only one in my family who isn't overweight? it's like i'm not related to them...maybe a distant cousin that came to live with them while going to school...

Renee said...

har har har. You are the best. xoxoxoxo

Su Won said...

I didn't call child protective services because my mom's cooking is just. that. good. Suitable that this post follows "Punishment".

Anonymous said...

Amen. Force feeding is my mothers specialty

Shinyung said...

But what if we are turning into our mothers...

Anonymous said...

So. Damn. True.

Anonymous said...

Ohmygosh, my grandma does this everytime I see her.

She complains, 'You need to lose weight. Too fat.' and then five seconds later when I feel like crap, 'Here eat some food! You must be hungry, here is snack!'

T.T

So I top, eat with tears running down my face, because the food is so good...and yet the psychological aspect of it is terrifying.

-J

Anonymous said...

*too

DJ said...

Thanks for bringing up this complex subject and terrifying me about the psyche of my mom

I was just talking to my friends yesterday about how I would never want to marry a Korean guy because I would have to deal with another mom and their drama. Also we were talking about the traditional wedding ceremonies, have you ever been to one?

esae said...

are you a hairstylist, i notice your name chiyo

Connie said...

Love your blog!

You should do a post on the "Korean Moms" who like to wear mismatching prints (ie. flower print top + striped pants)--you can find this look whenever you go to the Korean grocery store!

Anonymous said...

lol so true..

literally need a tummy tuck at 30 with no kids from mother's psychosis induced forced feedings

WhatWeAreWatching said...

love it, love it, love

Your blog makes me smile

Anonymous said...

My mom always has to say that whatever food she's prepared will not taste good, a not-so-subtle prompt for you to say, "but, that's not true - mah shi it suh yo!" First she'll tell you to eat a lot, forces you to eat a second helping. Then she'll start complaining that you're eating too much and to stop eating. My mom like to tell everyone how to eat too, even tells you where the bowls and plates need to be on the table, not to put your elbows on the table, etc.

Janny said...

lol- i'm reading this as i was force feeding my 3 mo old with his last 2oz of milk!

newly Tiger's mom 08/10/08

Michele L Meyer said...

Ok I am not almost peeing in my pants!

LOL - How come I did not know of this site before.

It is so nice to be understood -LOL

Anonymous said...

Love this site... Hilarious!

Other things KMs love:
*knit suits
*referring to each other only as "so and so umma" (e.g. your mom's friends only call her Chiya umma). KMs never know their friend's first names.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant as usual, Chiyo. In fact KMs love all sorts of contradictory mandates, not just "Why are you so fat - lose some weight! Eat all my cooking now!" For instance, my KM is always telling me to "pahli-pahli" hurry up and get ready, but then in the next breath "chun-chuni, joshimheh!" (slow down, be careful!)

wevegotseoul said...

Chiyo,

Is your mom force feeding you turkey? Is that why you left us? Come Back!!!

Anonymous said...

i totally agree!
kms give you wrong signs everywhere!

Anonymous said...

OIC. Now I totally understand why my bf's mom keeps telling me that I need to lose weight..yet she feeds me so much food! lol. I'm glad I'm not alone! =) thanks for the blog(s).

-C

Kristal! said...

Uh! I love your blog. I read about it in KoreAm magazine and read my KM a few of your entries, she tried so hard to deny that they were true and of course, starting complaining about how much of a terrible mother she is (even though she's the best) and how much she wants to eat bimbop! Hah. I've never connected to something so real before. Thanks for everything!

Anonymous said...

Geez... you nailed it right on the dot! My Korean mom not only stuffs you full but has to feed EVERYONE who enters our home! All she wants you to do is eat, eat, eat BUT the funny part is that her portions are two times smaller than everyone elses! AND she doesn't eat until everyone is served and all the pots and pans have been cleaned. Gotta love that woman!

chartreuse velour said...

not only has my mom told me i'm too fat my whole life, whilst simultaneously forcing me to eat more, now, when i am fatter than i have ever been before, she thinks i look "just fine". maybe because i'm finally, at almost 40, married?

monkeypiglet said...

i like your blog but can you consider changing your background colour? the harshness prevents me from reading more!

Allen Doberenz said...

OMG!! Tears are pouring down my face right now - in laughter!! I can't count the number of times I've laughed myself to tears reading your blog. Your Korean mom is my Korean mom...

JijiN3k0 said...

I want to cry now.

jijineko.blogspot.com

John said...

HOLY COW!! I'm so stuffed full of duk-guk right now I can hardly breathe. This blog soooo hits it on the nose. I'm 42 with 3 kids of my own now, and I see how my mom does the "food is love" thing with my kids too. She tells me I need to loose weight, then tells me to eat more. And the holidays make it worse!

Just so you younger ones know, my KM still tells me to loose weight while stuffing my face, still tells me what to wear, and still tells me what to do. It NEVER stops, no matter how old you are!! But I love her anyways.

sandra said...

omg my mom force feeds me, my dad, and my own friends. *headdesk*

semiotech said...

My Korean mum in law does this to me everytime I visit.

I shall continue to study your site so that I can understand this culture which I have inherited better.

Gloria said...

i can't stop laughing at this one. but i'm crying inside cause it's too true ... =P

Sarah said...

hahaha this is sooo true!!
but you also can't forget about the "everything is good for you" along with the force feeding. For some reason, everything my mom forces me to eat is supposed to "make me smarter", "make me grow taller", "make me more prettier/nal-shin-hae" and all that good stuff.. Even something that she deep fried, froze (for storage), and re heated by deep frying it again, was supposed to make me "smarter". a very big "O.o .. what..???" moment for me. it makes me so frustrated at times, since she said that i am obliged to eat it.. but at the same time i find it very amusing how she comes up with these ideas loll

Anonymous said...

OMG I thought we were the only children chased around the house w/ rice paddles or backscratchers. Then asked why we're crying. If we don't stop crying, she'd really give us something to cry about. Does that even make any sense? Stop your back talking!!! Yes, mom.

Anonymous said...

OMG. Thank you a million times over for writing this. This post had me in stitches from the first sentence to the end... Just.That.Good.

Having a KM myself, I understand and have lived through every single moment listed here.

Again, thanks so much for writing this post.

Anonymous said...

I just love how my mom always practically shoves food in my face, and then says i'm to chubby.

My lovely korean mom<3

unchienne said...

I was reading this blog entry with eyes wide and mouth open...I can't believe this was about someone else's mother. I thought mine was the only one who did these things. LoL Everything was dead-on...the smacks upside your head coupled with barks of "why you cry?" The hissing threats lobbed at me if I was sulking in my room after a punishment and refused to come down to dinner. I use to resent how my mother would be so upset with me one minute and then expect me to just drop any anger, guilt, or embarrassment and act as if nothing happened once dinner was served. Now I know it wasn't just her.

arystarca said...

In tears after this one.... from laughing so hard. It's so true...