Wisdom in a bowl

The seasonal food of Korea preserves the thoughtful wisdom of the people who maintain a traditional way of living. First, there is Suriddeok (rice cake) during Dano (May 5 of Lunar Calendar), which is considered as the first food of summer. This rice cake is made with mugwort leaves and rice flour. According to Korean Medicine, mugwort has been strongly used as a medicine during Dano. Another famous dish during Dano is the Jehotang (醍醐湯). Various traditional medicinal herbs were finely ground, brewed in a double-boiler with honey, and condensed into a jam. When dissolved in a glass of cold water and ingested, it would help you endure the heat of summer. It was the best refreshing beverage that was both tasty and healthy. China has a tradition of eating a customary food called Zongzi (粽子) on Dano during Spring and Autumn Period. It is a proso millet wrapped in broad leaves and molded into the shape of a cone and then steamed, or rice sealed and steamed in bamboo containers. It has been widely used in Korea, Japan, and many countries in Southeast Asia. It is still served to many Asians today. Unlike Korea and China, Japan celebrates Dano on May 5 of the Gregorian calendar.

Fami-lies there pray for the prosperity of their descendants and make Kashi and Mochi (柏餅, かしわもち) that are wrapped in oak leaves. It is a traditional custom handed down since the Edo period. On Yudu (June 15 of the Lunar Calendar) when the heat of summer reaches its peak, the seasonal menus, such as Yudumyeon, Sanghwabyeong, and Borisudan, revitalize the weary people. Yudumyeon is a noodle dish prepared with fresh wheat flour and chicken. Meanwhile, Sanghwabyeong (霜花餠), also known as Seoriggotddeok, is a wheat cake made of wheat flour that has risen with Makgeolli yeast and steamed with red bean, vegetables, and stir-fried meat fillings. Wheat has the richest source of amino acid called Tryptophan among all grains. This substance is great for midsummer as it helps with the generation of serotonin that enhances vitality and passion. There was a reason why wheat cakes were made instead of rice cakes on Yudu. Borisudan, which is fresh barley tea, and Schisandra chinensis with honey, were also popular food during the summer. Schisandra chinensis contains approximately 40 kinds of Lignan and is excellent for protecting the liver and relieving fatigue. Borisudan also replenishes the moisture and electrolytes that your body loses in the summer heat. The traditional people excelled in using seasonal ingredients to create stamina food and functional beverages that are essential for each season. The Korean Peninsula food are prepared with the insights and wisdom of the agricultural people. What we are eating today besides these foods that are tasty, healthy, and attractive based on appearance and name, is something to think about.