I have trouble remembering the title of the show, as for the umpteen time, I cannot associate the theme of this cooking show to a masterpiece, much less an immortal masterpiece.
A check through the internet tells me that the buzz surrounding this drama is a certain member of boy band Shinee. I watched this show on Starhub on demand and was attracted to the theme – food, or more precisely, kimchi.
Kimchi, is no doubt, the star of this drama. The rest of the cast are mere supporting stars who managed to hold the show effectively such that my Aunt E managed to finish all 20 episodes in 3 days.
The drama begins with the remarriage of Kang San-Hae’s mother into a traditional family, famous for its kimchi recipe. San Hae was brought up as a servant girl, not knowing that her mentor is her mother. Her half brother Kim Hyun-Myung was betrothed at a young age to Ji Min, who is jealous of San Hae. In an incident, Ji Min poisoned Hyun Myung’s father and framed it on San Hae. San Hae was thus sent away from the house, clutching a cookbook written by her mother for her. Ji Min’s deed was found out and she was also chased out of the house. Hyun Myung married another woman and has a son Kim Sung-Joon. He took in another boy Oh Gun-Woo who is Sung Joon’s pal.
San Hae married and changed her name. She now runs a beef soup restaurant famous for serving healthy kimchi with her family, consisting of her husband, son and an adopted daughter Hwang Geum-Hee, a Chinese physician.
Geum-Hee and Gun Woo are best pal, with the lather holding a secret crush on her. She meets Gun Woo’s brother Sung Joon, a doctor, and they fall in love, leaving Gun Woo crushed. Gun Woo plots with Sung Joon’s ex Seo Young-Joo to destroy the medical foundation that Hyun Myung has built, to force Hyun Myung to seek Young-Joo’s father for financial help in exchange for the marriage.
Meanwhile, Ji Min runs a food factory with the intention of exporting Kimchi overseas. She learns of San Hae’s famous kimchi and plots to take over her kimchi recipes.
In the midst of all this is a recipe book that needs a successor, which everyone wants.
Korean cuisine is an important theme in this drama and no effort is spared to explain the various health benefits of Korean food. From the display of the food, the attractive colours of the ingredients, the vivid oral description of the flavors (for viewers who have no chance to taste) to the preparation instruction of the food, are all presented in details.
Not only are you hungrier for Korean food after watching the drama, you are left with kimchi philosophy such as : Just like how kimchi matures, our lives will continue to mature with it; or kimchi wisdom : For bitter radish and cabbage, you just need to add salt and mix in seasoning and let it mature to return as sweet kimchi. You are like that, just need a process of sprinkling salt and mixing seasoning. It’s okay as long as you heart matures properly. Just take it as a kimchi jar and buries it in our heart.