Monday, October 12, 2009

#56 The Freezer

Korean Moms love freezing things. They believe that anything can be frozen. I once came home after school and threw open the freezer in search of a snack, only to find a giant ass furry paw perched nonchalantly inside. Yes. You heard me right. A. Paw. PETA would have died, then resurrected, only to die again. It belonged to a bear and was later made into a soup, but that's another story for another time and another therapy session.

I dare you to go home and take a look inside your KM's freezer. There you will find an assortment of breads from 2002, various meats, soups/stews lovingly ladled into precious tupperware, rice mummified in saran-wrap, and perhaps even a dead goldfish for you and your little brother to bury later in the backyard. What? Did I over-share again?

Korean Mom's believe that freezing things save money and time. This is a lie. A lie they tell to justify their addiction to the activity of freezing. They conveniently forget the many hours they spend at Costco buying five cows and a pig, and the additional hours it takes to prepare said animals in order to finally freeze them for later consumption. Later meaning, much, much, later...like, Obama's second term later. Who cares if it is ever actually consumed? The fun is in the Freeze. The Freezer isn't 'fresh'? Forget the conventional meaning of 'fresh'. To a Korean Mom fresh means it doesn't have too much freezer burn or it literally came kicking and screaming from the backyard. Same thing. I shudder even now, recalling the many times I have seen a gorgeous loaf of bread thrown mercilessly into the freezer to die a cruel death next to a batch of frozen Japanese curry from yester-year. Many Korean Mom's have additional freezers in the garage to accommodate their love of freezing things. Holla if you know what I'm talking about. If there is ever famine, run to the first Korean home you know. You'll be set. In fact, bring at least 10 others. No vegetarians. That word does not exist in a Korean Mom's vocabulary. Do not utter it to her unless you are ready to bear the searing power of the Stank Eye (see #5)...and no, you are not ready.

I hope you know I just saved your life biotch.




Entry inspired by: Julie Yeo


47 comments:

Beauty Bitch said...

Yes, my Korean mum does this too. Only this is, we never seem to eat any of the frozen stuff. It just lies in the deep freeze for years to come. Run out of freezer space? Not a problem. She buys another one.


We had an extra freezer in stalled in the garage for the overflow of items from the normal freezer. One hot summer's day, the freezer became unplugged and everything inside defrosted. All the anonymous seafood, meat, rice and Korean food all defrosted. I can still remember the nightmare of the smell when we opened the freezer 3 months later to discover the putrid rank mess inside. I swear a new species was in the early stages of evolution amidst the primoridal stew.

Dory said...

My Popo, (Grandma's) refrigerator looks like a lab freezer. Luckily things tend to defrost fairly delicious and relatively unscary. I have not yet mastered the food freeze yet. Probably better that I don't. lol

Annie said...

My personal favorite was pulling out the ice tray from our old fridge and finding it full of yellowish, minced substance. When I asked what it was, it turned out to be pre-minced garlic frozen ahead of time. See, my mom had bought garlic by the bushel and didn't want it to "go bad", so she pre-minced it and cubed it in the freezer so she could use individual bits without having to hack at a log of frozen garlic later with an ice pick. Ingenious, yes...strange...most definitely. The ice tray in question was no longer used because it produced garlic-y ice for our glasses of water afterward...so we had to buy a new ice tray (much to my KM's chagrin) and label the old one "GARLIC".

Janet said...

that is hilarious. but you know that semi freezer called "dim chae" where they store kim chee and vegetables for months because magically, it keeps produce fresh for an extraordinary period of time.

Julia said...

This is just about the funniest and most loving blog I have ever read...

I am wheezing from laughing so hard - I have seen that stank eye in action so many times... I got it once myself at my husband's dry cleaners when I sassed him in front of them! Whoops!

Keep it up - this is such a jewel of a blog!

dreams2ashes said...

ugh! I hate when bread and rice go into the freezer... mom claims that it is 'still good' ahaha

i still have chu-chu-ppahs in the freezer. they're about the same age as me...

Anonymous said...

My MIL whom we visit once every 1-2 years gives us the same rice cake/coffee beans/whatever in the freezer every time we visit. I am not kidding. I'm afraid to bring her stuff (food items) because I know I'll be eating it the next time I visit.

Kat said...

My KM actually had a separate freezer that was larger than our washer and dryer put together. She'd painstakingly peel and grind/blend an entire years supply of garlic, freeze them, cut them into cubes and then freeze those. I remember thawing out ziplock bags of frozen yuk gae jang and spaghetti sauce when I was hungry.

Anonymous said...

recently, a tree fell on my parent's house and the back half was deemed unlivable by the county. my mom was two refrigerators. aside from insurance issues, construction issues, living arrangement issues...one of the first things she fretted over was the frozen food. she brought it back to an extended stay hotel's freezer to re-freeze.

BRB, Korea! said...

My Korean Host Mom (KHM?) took all the food I had brought from America and immediately put it in the freezer. Now all my chocolate tastes faintly of garlic. Chocolate doesn't even need to be frozen...

Anonymous said...

Omg, this is my mom. When I was growing up, we had a kitchen refrigerator as well as a "kimchee" fridge in the garage along with a deep freezer. Not to mention the deep freezer in the basement laundry room.

On year, we had a massive power outage that lasted for several days. Mom was so excited that she could get some claim money for the food that was in a semi-frozen state for almost a week. After collecting her check , I asked her when we should start cleaning out the spoiled food...

*stank eye

P.S. I think that money went to another shopping binge at Costco that went straight into the freezers.

P.P.S. Butter that has been thawed will never taste like anything other than freezer burn and garlic to me...

Anonymous said...

your mom has tupperware to put things in it? how fancy is she?
my km doesn't have tupperware. why waste money on that, when you get a perfectly good container any time you got grocery shopping? a perfectly good glas container when you buy jam, perfect for keeping banchan, or a superb plastic container when you ice cream. perfect for kimchi...

tupperware... what a waste of money...

mina said...

you hit the nail on the head yet again. my mom has two refrigerators and though they may not be full, their freezer compartments are ALWAYS bursting at the seams. i have to admit that when she microwaves frozen rice in the ziploc bag she froze it in, it steams itself and tastes like she just made it. but i don't know how safe it is to microwave the bag. and obviously it is cleaned, refilled, and refrozen to double the danger. :D

lisee said...

OMG, the bread in the freezer kills me every time, but my KM is totally obsessed with freezing things, god bless her.

ngf said...

i throw stuff away once it starts to look unrecognizable...my mom doesn't seem to notice...

seitzk said...

YES! This is something my mom does all the time. You can't open the freezer without something falling out of it, in fact. We got another refrigerator, I'm convinced not to store more fresh foods, but for the second freezer it offered.

Luuworld said...

haha. last month my mother found a piece of meat in the freezer. it had been there for a long time.

"why didn't you throw it away?" i asked.

"Why?! "i had to taste it first. it may still have tasted nice"", she replied in a "you're such an idiot"-tone of voice.

the meat was from 1994.

Anonymous said...

The last bit about vegetarians is all true!!! I had to endure months of my KM heckling and saying it was against nature and frowned upon by the rest of the family. I kept it up for two years until I visited my grandmother (my KM's KM!!) in Korea who somehow stuffed meat in my mouth without my knowing 0.0 I dare you to try finding a vegetarian with a Korean mother! It's hard!!

tae said...

my KM freezes everything as well as having a tupperware addiction. Even though my freezer was always packed, at least it looked really neat but the contents of all those containers were always a mystery to me not because I long ago gave up opening them but because she also has a vacuum sealing addiction. I can only describe whats inside those containers as various colors in the vacuum tight sealed packages.

Grace said...

SO TRUE.


But I'm freezing my bread as we speak... uh oh...

maverickandlove said...

dude: true life. most moms have more than one freezer too! one in the garage and the main one in the kitchen. i love your blog!!! how have you been by the way, busy with school?

kev said...

funny, but lets respect our mothers lol and dont forget to eat everything your mom puts in the freezer including bear paws haha

Esther said...

Yes, my korean mom does this too. It doesn't help that my korean mom owns a grocery store and so has an army of freezers.

I also think you should consider, if you haven't done it yet already, the korean mom's obsession with doctors and how marrying one makes you above moral reproach.

Grace said...

This is so true! My mom has two fridges, and both freezers are stocked with things probably from the Bush 41 administration. And she continues to the use the same orange 80s tupperware for kimchee that she has used for the last 25 years. I'm glad you are back, Chiyo! Good luck w/ grad school!

tangiblewhimsy said...

I stumbled across your blog a few weeks back and read through all of the entries posted so far. I was amazed to find that despite the fact that my mother is the Whitest Woman Alive she is, in fact, a Korean Mom. Right down to saving/stealing plastic and paper bags and other things that I never saw any other mom besides mine do.

And so you know: We had two refrigerators and two full-size, upright freezers when I was growing up. My mother is Italian. She would make breads, loafmeals, soups, sauces, etc. None of which would I see until about a decade down the line.

Anonymous said...

This post is precisely why every Korean household has ice that smells like funk.

hanie said...

OMG..topic close to my heart. my mom and I got into huge fight last year after i cleaned the freezer. how can i'm not??? feels like we breeding a new species in there. *shudder*

Poor Mommy said...

Oh sweet Jeebus this is my life! Growing up, my parents had two freezers in the garage, an extra fridge for the kimchi and the one in the house. When my hubs and I moved into a house, my Mom bought us a freezer which I actually do use. I bulk buy meat at Costco and then toss into the freezer to be pulled out for meals. Unlike the stuff that was in my parents' freezer. My Mom just got rid of the two huge ass freezers they had had since the Carter administration and replaced it with a smaller one. God knows why since there is just her!

Joyful said...

Who doesn't like garlic-flavored ice cubes?! Hahaha. I once bought those mugs that you can freeze and have a cold drink in. Yeah... I used it once and then threw it away because all of my drinks still tasted like garlic.

anijnas said...

I'm not even Korean (or Asian in fact... does being southasian count?) and this applies to me! My mom freezes EVERYBLOODYTHINGINTHEWORLD! And keeps nagging my dad to buy her another fridge, we have 3 already. I take the liberty to throw things away at times though.

Poor Mommy said...

My Korean Mom IS a vegetarian. She has a huge ass freezer. Stocked with vegetarian stuff, kalbi and bacon. You read that right. Kalbi and bacon. Why? So that when my kid, hubs and I visit, she can feed the two males and I can have the scraps. She makes an entire package of bacon (the megapack) for my hubs and thank God the little guy likes it because my hubs was worrying about congestive heart failure from eating 28 pieces of bacon.

Ann said...

My mom does this to everything, including COOKIES. She claims it makes it stay fresh longer, but when she brings it out it's like eating a rock. But of course if I mention that, she gets all huffy and thinks I'm a spoiled brat, mehehe ;P

Betsy said...

I'm with you. KM has 2 fridges and 1 freezer. I am following in her footsteps with 1 fridge, 1 freezer, and 1 minifridge.Maybe someday I'll grow up and finally upgrade from the mini.

btw, freezing my bread right now and cookies;) (p.s. cookies work well if you freeze them before you bake them. so easy then to take care of your cookie/chocolate craving)

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA!!!

Yes 2 fridges and 3 freezers (one of them being a kimchi freezer; of course there has to be a separate one for that!)

Anonymous said...

holla!

Becky Seo said...

holler!

Grace said...

I just moved to Columbus, OH for 2.5 months for an internship. When I left home, my mom packed me a gallon-sized ziplock bag full of the teeny tiny mul mandoo, and like 3-weeks worth of wang mandoo rolls. I told her I take over the entire freezer at my sublease.
Last night, my parents came to visit for a day. They just left. I now have frozen rice (in single-serving clumps in mini ziplock bags, frozen marinated bulgogi, frozen fish patties, and 2 plastic containers of soup, a HUGE tupperware of cubed watermelon, and sauces in smaller containers. O.M.G. I need to eat half the fridge before my roommate returns tomorrow!

And, my KM has 2 fridges at home, and 1 fridge off-site, where my parents keep the mini-boxes of frozen fish they buy when the korean grocery stores have big sales and left over pizza for all those times they inevitably order a whole large-pizza more than anyone can eat.

But who am I kidding? I religiously freeze half the loaf of bread when I buy bread, my left over blueberries, and meat...yes, my mom's trained me well.

dit said...

LOL, my host mom has 2 fridges and once I found a frozen sauce packet from 2001. Yum.

Anonymous said...

In addition to all the tradition KM stuff my mom freezes, she also freezes the Halloween candy that she gives out. She has been giving out candy from the same sale pack of Reese's PB cups for years. It has an advertisement for a sweepstakes from "Star Wars; Phantom Menace" on it.

Jullietta said...

I think my mum has the horns from that dear that your bear killed in our freezer.

Anonymous said...

I married a 30- something Korean lady and we have a five month old baby.

Now she has become her mother.

I'm afraid to open the refrigerator because I don't know what anything is or was.

And, yes, she freezes fresh bread! Why? She didn't do that 6 months ago. She only started after giving birth.

I'm sure she's saving it for our daughter's future.

*sniff... and that's not the end. All of a sudden, we need a kim chi refrigerator? The Korean mother-in-law makes the kim chi. We consume it in a week or less, return the tupperware and pick up our new (old) kim chi supply.

Anyway, I had a care package sent to us in Korea. Among the gems were a few dozen packs of dry dill pickle mix and dried Mexican spices.

When I went to make a kim chi taco, where do you think my McCormick's dried spices were? That's right, the freezer....

Anonymous said...

I married a 30- something Korean lady and we have a five month old baby.

Now she has become her mother.

I'm afraid to open the refrigerator because I don't know what anything is or was.

And, yes, she freezes fresh bread! Why? She didn't do that 6 months ago. She only started after giving birth.

I'm sure she's saving it for our daughter's future.

*sniff... and that's not the end. All of a sudden, we need a kim chi refrigerator? The Korean mother-in-law makes the kim chi. We consume it in a week or less, return the tupperware and pick up our new (old) kim chi supply.

Anyway, I had a care package sent to us in Korea. Among the gems were a few dozen packs of dry dill pickle mix and dried Mexican spices.

When I went to make a kim chi taco, where do you think my McCormick's dried spices were? That's right, the freezer....

Neo Choudhury said...

My Bangladeshi mom does this LOL

Anonymous said...

LOL! This post is spot on. My KM could single-handedly end the North Korean family if only she emptied out the 5 freezers at her house.

Dori Dori! said...

omg....this is surreal....

ARE ALL KOREAN MOMS EXACTLY SAME ?! my mom does this too, she freezes every fucking thing.

Jamie said...

My kiwi mom does this too. But now to make matters worse, I am male and recently switched to entirely Korean cooking. For the first time in my life the freezer is not big enough and I am trying to find the best chest freezer for my needs. Is "Korean Mum" somehow a disease that can infect anyone?

Karate Los Angeles said...

I think KM's and Midwestern Moms share that trait. Growing up, every grocery went in the "outside" freezer (which was really in the garage.) What I want to know is do they ever clean it out?