Making Gimbap

Kim Yu-ra from Suwon, Korea


I liked eating gimbap when I was young. On a picnic or sports day, my mom always made gimbap for me. So I took it for granted that I should eat gimbap on a special day.

Time passed, and I became a mother. I, too, decided to make gimbap on the day of my child’s picnic as my mom did. But for the first time, I realized that it’s not easy to make gimbap. I shopped for groceries the day before, trimmed the ingredients, woke up at dawn on the day of the picnic to cook rice and fry ham, fish cake, carrots, and eggs.

After preparing all the ingredients, I finally challenged making gimbap. I spread cooked rice thinly on a dried laver and put the ingredients one by one on it and rolled the laver sheet. But it was not as easy as I thought. If I rolled it a little tightly, its side was broken, and if I did it less tightly, it loosened that the ingredients fell out while cutting gimbap. After trial and error, I learned how to roll it properly and finished the lunch box in time.

After my child left with the lunch box, I looked around the kitchen; it was just like a battlefield. Reclining on the chair, exhausted, suddenly I was reminded of my mother. Actually my mother has a problem with her hand. She had an accident where her right index finger and middle finger were cut in half. Despite that, Mom made me delicious food and braided my hair every morning.

As she showed no sign of difficulty, I had never thought that it would be hard for her to do such things; rather, I was ashamed when my friends asked about my mother’s hand. Looking back over my past days, I was sorry for her and so ashamed of myself that tears welled up in my eyes. She must have endured all the hardships as she loves me so much. It took too long time until I realized my mother’s love from the heart.

Even now, my mom sometimes makes gimbap. Her grandchildren say that her gimbap is the best. My mom is happy to see her grandchildren eating gimbap and she says, “Thank you for enjoying it.” For my mother, I would like to make gimbap though I’m lacking in cooking skill. So far, I haven’t expressed my gratitude enough. This time, I will surly say to her, “Thank you, and I love you.”