In The Fourth Trimester, we ask dad and mom: What meal nourished you after welcoming your child? This month, it’s a steaming bowl of miyeokguk from Bon Appétit deputy meals editor Hana Asbrink.
4 hundred and fifty. That’s the variety of consecutive days I ate the identical soup. Possibly it was extra. I ate it within the morning. I ate it within the night. I ate it, fingers cupped across the bowl, on probably the most frigid of winter days. And I ate it, with sweat-beaded brows, on probably the most sweltering of summer season ones. I by no means ate it in a field or with a fox, however virtually at all times, I ate it nonetheless in pajamas. Doesn’t that depend for one thing?
Miyeokguk, or Korean seaweed (miyeok) soup (guk), holds nice significance in Korean tradition. Legend has it whales and dolphins eat plenty of seaweed after giving beginning. Koreans historically eat miyeokguk for a number of months postpartum, because it’s believed to purify the blood, and encourage and improve breast milk manufacturing. Past this time, miyeokguk is a birthday soup for Koreans, meant to be consumed for breakfast with a steaming bowl of rice as an homage to their moms for giving beginning to them.
After I had my daughter, my mom introduced a thermos of selfmade miyeokguk to the hospital, my first style of non-cafeteria meals. Throughout these ensuing days and sleepless nights of restoration, miyeokguk served as a continuing. Whereas my bleary-eyed, bloated, still-bleeding self was ready for my milk to come back in—whereas using the hormonal curler coaster into the world of the “new regular”—I may at the very least depend on beginning every day with the identical meal: miyeokguk, bap, and any assortment of banchan if my mom was round; if she wasn’t, simply the soup and rice, and perhaps some non-spicy kimchi.
This isn’t a standard size. As customized dictates, I may have stopped consuming miyeokguk after only a few weeks or months. However I made the custom my very own, committing to the ritual for so long as I breastfed my daughter. It was the consolation I wanted when my mom was again in Korea, my husband again at work, and I used to be left alone to determine keep nourished and maintain my tiny new nugget alive.