My Memory : Grandma said, "I want SWEET PUMPKIN PORRIDGE."


I want Sweet Pumpkin Porridge.
said my grandma with a diaper, lying on the corner of her room.

It’s been around a month since she discharged from hospital. She stayed with a carer hired by government. She could hardly urinate and defecate properly. She took laxatives and diuretics every morning and evening. She also needed a help for supporting her to the toilet. In the end, she lost her energy to stand up and wear a diaper for hygienic reasons.

She had to eat porridges since her condition was not as normal, She needed soft food easily digested. And her gum no longer sustained her teeth on the right position. That came to porridge for her meal. Since then, our refrigerator was always filled with numerous kinds of porridge. 

pumpkin porridge

I want Sweet Pumpkin Porridge.

said grandma, looking into the refrigerator, sustaining her body against her walking frame. And then she stared at mom, both frowned. Mom worries about grandma’s blood sugar level more than anyone. Grandma was diagnosed as diabetes about 10 years ago. Mom was concerned about negative effect from sugar and strictly banned buying any sugar added food for grandma.

But the situation was different. Grandma was dying. We could not assure whether grandma would stay alive until next winter or even summer. Mom thought for a while and promised her to buy pumpkin porridge but less sweet one sold by a store she trusted.

Pumpkin porridge was laid on the second layer of the refrigerator, the day after. Grandma should’ve been so glad to see it. But after the day, it was there, and few days more passed, it was still there. Grandma must not have found it yet. Because she could no longer reach to the kitchen anymore.
pumpkin porridge
I decided to eat pumpkin porridge and took it to the microwave. It smelled so delicious. I felt guilty, because I seemed stealing her food somehow. So, feeling sorry for her, I retuned half of it to its place of the refrigerator. I brought warm yello bowl to my room.


One spoon.
It tasted sweeter than ever. I felt like I was soaking an enormous amount of sugary pumpkin candies. There I found few white rice balls, that was chewy and comforting.

Soon, I recalled grandma grunting for sweets forbidden. Everytime she held up snacks, she always asked me, “Is it sweet or not?” with a wanting look. I had to tell her unfortunate truth. “Grandma, almost every snack contains sugar in it. So you must think there’s no snack you can eat.” Grandma put down a cracker on a cover of which said ‘health-friendly, containing a hint of real pumpkin.’

Another spoon. It still tasted sweet. It looked healthier with dim yellow pumpkin fractions. But strangely, I hardly feel the texture of it.

Again, I heard grandma crying, lying on her bed. She said, “I can hardly feel my leg. It doesn’t move as I want.” It was the moment her walking began to be awkward. My parents discussed and concluded that she would better stay at the hospital cared by professionals. She stayed almost one month in the patient room.


Another spoon. It tasted less sweeter than before. Its extraordinary sweetness must have numbed my taste-buds. Studying blander yellow liquid, I found red beans inside. I crashed a red thing with a spoon.

Again, I recalled grandma wailing and said, “My legs hurt so much. My back hurts.” again in her room, but lying on the floor since she preferred a lower place where she could crawl on. She was home not because she had recovered, but the hospital had no treatment left to fix her. She had to bear her excruciating pain by herself relying only on pills. She had some sleepless nights, moaning in the darkness.

pumpkin porridge

The last spoon. It tasted blank. Nothing left in the bowl. It showed white bottom with a hint of yellow spots of pumpkin. I scarcely felt things but a bit tiredness. I could not find the sweetness that had once impressed me.

Grandma summoned me to her room with a low voice. I didn’t respond. She called me again with a bigger voice and I didn’t answer. She furiously shouted at me again and again as she bursted out her anger. I wanted to shut my ears. I did’t want to hear it.

But She seemed never to stop calling me. I trudged to her room with a glum look. She smiled at me, with a feeble smile and asked me to fetch a wet-cloth to wipe herself. And I automatically moved.

like an empty vessel that used to have pumpkin porridge.  



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Korean Food : Red bean Noodle Soup, Pat Kalguksu : Azuki bean Noodle Soup

red bean noodle soup
It was drizzling outside, my b-friend was driving my home to pick me up for dinner. I was choosing dinner menu. It is the most difficult topic, what to eat, for us. The reason is that I want all food. Last time, he chose one, so it was my turn to select our delights.

It was dark, dim, damp, drooping, depressing outside. On the day like this, I feel cold and craving for hot soup. I fell into deep thought to find the novel menu among soup category.

A hundred menus floated on my mind, but I wanted adjacency to sooth my starvation as soon as possible. I drew a virtual village map and browse all restaurants. And suddenly red bean noodle soup restaurant, that I had been nearly 5 years ago, just hit my head. It locates 10 minute far from my home. It is yummy and hot. Finally, I made my decision.

My b-friends and I hurried on to the place. We took a seat on the corner table and ordered two bowls of noodle soup, called Pat Kalguksu, and one plate of dumpling. Soon they arrived.

red bean noodle soupAt first, it seemed not to have any noodle.
But the nuttiness swirling from soup did not at all dishearten me.

red bean noodle soupStirring, I could see green tea mixed noodle submerged in the red bean soup.
More nourishing with anti-aging ingredients.

red bean noodle soupIt tastes best with newly-made fresh kimchi.

red bean noodle soup
I wanted it Sweeter and Sweeter

Red bean noodle soup served here was stuffed with red bean. It was a bit under-seasoned, and I assumed that owner intendedly add less salt for health reason, compared to unconscient owners pour an enormous amount of seasonings.
I feel thankful for her considerate thought.

But, apart from her intent, my taste was a lot different. When I was young, grandma made red bean porridge on winter solstice, but I disliked its blandness without any stimulative sweetness. I refused to eat it, so grandma added sugar in it so that I could eat blithely. Since then, I got accustomed to sugary red bean soup. So I wanted this red bean noodle soup sweeter and sweeter.

After finishing half bowl, I asked the owner a bit of sugar. She immediately brought me a small bowl of it. I didn’t seem the only one who required it. I put a small spoon of sugar on it and gently stir it. When it melts underneath the soup, I ate soup again. This was it, that my grandma used to give me.
Red bean in Korea

In the past

Red beans, also known as azuki beans, are used frequently in Korean dishes. The red color is traditionally considered to repel evil spirits. Red bean rice cake is placed on the tables of babies' first birthday parties, house warming parties and other ceremonies like that.

On winter solstice, the shortest day with the longest night of the year, Koreans eat red bean porridge in Korea. They believed that red color of porridge will block the devils from their family.

The traditional role of defeating evils disappeared and just habitual customs remained, while the red bean’s health effects had more highlighted. It is known as a super-concentrated store of nutritions such as protein, iron, fiber and antioxidant.

It is famed as a diuretic food, that means it’s an effective diet food. Koreans drink red bean boiled water daily, and even eat in place of rice. Red bean also helps blood circulation, so it lowers cholesterol level and treat hypertension, diabetes, and blood related diseases.
Based on these popularity, red bean have been applied to various product categories including snacks, doughnut, pastries, drinks, and even cosmetics. 

The perspective and usage of red bean have been changing as time.
But it is obvious that it is always lovable food for Korean.


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