I found an interesting article on the LA Times site about a company that mass-produces kimchi, the delicious staple dish in Korean cuisine. The first sentence of the article reads, "David Kim [the owner] insists it tastes like his mom's."
But will it taste like MY mom's? I think not. Everyone's kimchi tastes differently. I'd like to think it's the amount of soul a person puts into making their kimchi, but who knows, since I can't get my mom to show me how to make it.
The article states, "Kimchi-making was once a family affair in which grandmothers, mothers, daughters and aunts would gather for the arduous task of grinding together a peppery paste to be stuffed by hand between each layer in a head of cabbage. Centuries-old recipes have been proudly passed down through the generations."
The sad truth is that many young Korean Americans today will readily buy factory-made kimchi because we're just too busy (or too lazy) to learn how to make it. I personally depend on my mom to make me up a jar whenever I go home to visit. (I currently have a jar of turnip kimchi in my fridge.) It's no wonder Cosmos Food Co. the largest kimchi factory in the United States bottles 8,000 pounds of the stuff every day.
I'm still wary of purchasing a jar of the stuff from an American grocery store. Delicious, spicy kimchi from a Wal-Mart? It's hard to fathom.