Guest Reviewer: Stacy A. ; Cook Korean!

COOK KOREAN! by Robin Ha
January 28, 2017

A Comic Book with Recipes
I loved Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley, which came out a few years ago, but never really expected to find another graphic novel with recipes. I was wrong. Apparently graphic novel cookbooks are now a thing.

There was a really interesting article on eater.com about it, Why Cookbooks are Looking More Like Comicbooks. They point out:

But comic cookbooks can do something for home cooks, too — make recipes less daunting and easier to follow. Cookbooks are still in demand, but many — with their overly aspirational food photography — wind up as coffee-table books for the kitchen.

An interesting point, for sure. And click through to an older article, The Golden Era of Food Comics is Happening Right Now. Also interesting.

When I heard about Cook Korean!, I knew I had to take a look at it. I don’t know a lot about Korean food. Korean BBQ restaurants are around, and kimchi is hugely popular pretty much everywhere now, so it seemed like a good time to learn. And learn I did.

Table of Contents:

Introduction
Kimchi and Pickles
Vegetable Side Dishes
Meat and Poultry
Seafood
Soups and Stews
Porridges
Noodles and Rice Cakes
Snacks and Street Foods
Cocktails and Anju
Korean Fusion

I included the introduction because it’s not your typical “here’s why I wrote this cookbook page.” Instead, it’s 20 pages or so of ingredients used in Korean cooking, the Korean refrigerator, the Korean pantry, Korean meal guide, Bap: Cooked Rice, Rice and its delicious by-products, Korea’s regions and foods and finally Dengki’s dress. In other words, lots of super useful information. With illustrations.

All the chapters are heavily illustrated, thus the graphic novel genre. I mean if you just picked it up without knowing it was a cookbook, it probably wouldn’t occur to you as you glanced through it. No, it’s not a novel, it’s cookbook/memoir and nonfiction while we usually call fiction books novels. But what I called comic books as a kid are now called graphic novels, regardless of whether or not the books contain fiction or nonfiction. My library shelves them in the nonfiction. I have noticed that some graphic novel memoirs are shelved in biographies, and I’m not sure who is making that distinction (Library of Congress? The Online Computer Library Center, better known as OCLC?) or why that distinction is being made. Congressman John Lewis just won a bunch of awards for the third book of his graphic novel trilogy memoir, March: Book Three (congrats!) which is shelved in biography. But I digress.

Other things I noticed when looking at the table of contents. I admitted up front I am pretty ignorant about Korean food. I didn’t know there were stews or porridges, for instance. Now I do. Kimchi Stew, for starters. And a Spicy Fish Stew. I learned that pine nuts are not just for pesto and are used in Pine Nut Porridge.

So kimchi. There is a little gastro pub near my house that makes killer kimchi. And by killer I mean they warn you if you try and order it that it is very hot, so I haven’t tried it. A kimchi loving friend (hi Dave!) has had it and really enjoys it. So everything I know about kimchi is that historically, it was made from cabbage in clay jars and buried in the dirt. The smell was supposedly horrific. And is very, very spicy. But after reading this book, I learned that my suppositions were correct, but there are ways to make it much more palatable for my delicate American taste. Use less Korean chili, for starters. I also learned that kimchi can be made from a variety of vegetables, not just cabbage – radish, cucumber and green onion, just to name a few. I feel kimchi educated now.

Noodles are big in Asian cooking and Korean food is no exception. The recipe for Handmade Knife Noodles is about as close to pasta as you can get. Rice cakes are called Tteok and there are dozens of different kinds, mostly eaten as snacks or dessert.

The cocktails chapter includes a lesson in Korean Drinking Culture, including the admonishment to “always pour your elder’s drink with both your hands,” to never refuse a drink from your elders and “always refill drinks for others and never refill your own drink. You must wait for others to fill it up for you.”

The recipes are all explained and illustrated so that even someone as ignorant of Korean food and customs as I am, could successfully prepare anything in this book. I loved the watercolor type paintings that illustrate each chapter title page, and the drawings throughout the book really added to my understanding of technique. It’s funny, I never really cared for illustrations in cookbooks, for instance the beloved Silver Palate Cookbook, as I much prefer photographs. But for some reason, I love the illustrations here and didn’t miss the photos at all.

Finally, I was trying to figure out how many recipes there are but it was difficult as so many have variations included. The author does mention in her acknowledgements that her mother helped with 64 of the recipes though. Always nice to acknowledge your mom!

If you are curious about Korean cuisine and culture or you love Korean food and want to try making some yourself, this is the book for you.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

See more reviews from Stacy at BookBitch.com.

COOK KOREAN! by Robin Ha. Ten Speed Press (July 5, 2016). ISBN 978-1607748878. 176p.

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Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (Film)

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 comes out in theaters this weekend!

Need a refresher? Check out Guardians of the Galaxy on DVD or Bluray.

Can’t get enough GotG?? See what’s available at your local library!

Avengers Assemble
Avengers Assemble
By Bendis, Brian Michael
Illustrator Bagley, Mark
2013-01 – Marvel Comics Group

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A perfect jumping-on point, featuring the cast of the summer blockbuster–but in Marvel Universe continuity! When the brand-new Zodiac rears its many heads, the Avengers must assemble to combat them. But who is behind the group’s return? None other than Thanos, the mad Titan, who has claimed Earth as his own. Collecting “Avengers Assemble” 1-8.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude
Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude
By Abnett, Dan
Illustrator Alves, Wellington
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Lanning, Andy
2014-07 – Marvel Comics Group

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Prepare for Marvel Studios’ newest big-screen blockbuster with these all-new stories taking place just before the film Who is Nebula? What tragic events forged her unbreakable allegiance to her dark lord? And how does Korath the Pursuer fit in? Then, as Gamora begins her quest for the Orb, see firsthand why she is the considered the most dangerous woman in the universe Plus, relive the Guardians’ individual debuts as Gamora and Star-Lord burst onto the scene, Drax and Iron Man take on Thanos, Rocket Raccoon meets the Hulk…and Groot tries to enslave the earth COLLECTING: Marvel’s Gua rdia ns of the Galaxy Prelude 1-2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic 1, Iron Man (1968) 55, Strange Tales (1951) 181, Incredible Hulk (1968) 271; material from Tales to Astonish (1959) 13, Marvel Previ ew 4; Handbook profiles.

 

Cosmic Avengers
Cosmic Avengers
By Marvel Comics
Illustrator McNiven, Steve
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Bendis, Brian Michael
2014-04 – Marvel Comics

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There’s a new rule in the galaxy. No one touches Earth No one But why has Earth suddenly become the most important planet in the galaxy? That’s what the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to find out Join Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot and the invincible Iron Man as they embark on an explosive and eye-opening adventure.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1
By Bendis, Brian Michael
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Marvel Comics
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Bendis, Brian Michael
2015-05 – Marvel Comics

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Why has Earth suddenly become the most important planet in the galaxy? The Guardians of the Galaxy plan to find out Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot – and the invincible Iron Man – embark on an explosive adventure The secrets they discover will rattle readers for years to come But while Earth deals with a brutal Badoon invasion, the Guardians’ fate has been decided millions of miles away Then, Heaven’s most fearsome angel comes for the Guardians And when Gamora battles the mysterious Angela, the universe hangs in the balance The Guardians find themselves at a crossroads when Thanos’ master plan takes shape. Can Angela’s power help combat INFINITY ? And will Star-Lord betray the entire universe? The cosmic blockbuster hit begins here COLLECTING: Guardians of the Galaxy 0.1, 1-10; Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow ‘s Avengers 1.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard, Volume 1: Emperor Quill
Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard, Volume 1: Emperor Quill
By Bendis, Brian Michael
Illustrator Schiti, Valerio
2016-12 – Marvel Comics

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Peter Quill has abandoned the Guardians and his role as Star-Lord to be emperor of the Spartax Now, Rocket has grabbed the reins as team leader – backed up by Drax, Venom, Groot, Kitty Pryde and brand-new Guardian Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing But what could put the team into the crosshairs of Emperor Quill and his Imperial Guard? Another old face is back, too – but will it be a welcome return for Gamora, or have circumstances changed in the eight months she has been away? When friends like these cause complications for Rocket and the gang, who needs enemies? They don’t, but they seem to attract them anyway. And the newest threat to the galaxy is a doozy. His name is Yotat the Destroyer – and he will have blood. COLLECTING: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 1-5.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy; Tomorrow's Avengers Volume 1
Guardians of the Galaxy; Tomorrow’s Avengers Volume 1
By Drake, Arnold
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Gerber, Steve
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Claremont, Chris
2013-01 – Marvel Comics

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Captain America, Doctor Strange, the Thing, the Hulk and other familiar faces join the star-spanning heroes in the greatest war the future ever saw Then, as the Guardians help a planet in turmoil rebuild, threats rise from two other worlds: one of them living, the other gone mad It’s cosmic action as you like it, as the Avengers of tomorrow face their baptism of fire Featuring the introduction of Nikki and the origin of Starhawk Guest-starring the Silver Surfer COLLECTING: Marvel Super Heroes (1967) 18, Marvel Two -In-One (1974) 4-5, Giant -Size Defenders 5, Defenders (1972) 26-29, Marvel Presents 3-12.

 

The Trial of Jean Grey
The Trial of Jean Grey
By Marvel Comics, Marvel Comics
Text by (Art/Photo Books) Marvel Comics
2014-06 – Marvel Comics

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The arrival of the original X-Men in the present sent shockwaves through the Marvel Universe, but we’ve only seen the effects on Earth – until now When an alien race discovers that Jean Grey, host of the destructive Phoenix Force, is back on Earth, they decide to hold her accountable for the heinous acts of Dark Phoenix Now it’s up to the spacefaring Guardians of the Galaxy to help the all-new X-Men save Jean Grey from twisted intergalactic justice A surprise ally from one character’s past comes to help, but is that enough against the most powerful army in the Universe? You won’t want to miss the first encounter between two of the biggest franchises in the Marvel Universe. COLLECTING: Guardians of the Galaxy 11-13, All -New X-Men 22-24.

 

Rocket Raccoon, Volume 1: A Chasing Tale
Rocket Raccoon, Volume 1: A Chasing Tale
By Young, Skottie
Illustrator Parker, Jake
2015-03 – Marvel Comics

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Rocket Raccoon has been a hero to the weak, a champion of good, a heartthrob to many intergalactic females…but his high-flying life of adventure may be a thing of the past when he’s framed for murder – and the authorities aren’t the only one on his tail (Get it? Tail?) The real killer is an imposter who seems to be one step ahead of Rocket at every turn…now, it’s up to our hero and his best pal Groot to find the truth With Macho Gomez and the Ex-Terminators tracking him, can Rocket make it out alive and clear his name? Superstar creator Skottie Young brings his A-game as writer and artist on the series we’ve been waiting decades for. Because really, this is the only Guardian of the Galaxy you actually care about, right? COLLECTING: Rocket Raccoon 1-6.

 

Legendary Star-Lord, Volume 1: Face It, I Rule
Legendary Star-Lord, Volume 1: Face It, I Rule
By Humphries, Sam
Illustrator Medina, Paco
Illustrator Williams, Freddie
2015-02 – Marvel Comics

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Exploding from the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy Peter Quill battles the Badoon, fights to save an orphanage, and still finds time to flirt with the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde – all in a day’s work for the legendary Star-Lord But when Peter is captured by a bounty hunter with a strange connection to his past, can the two make amends before he’s fed to a giant alien? Sharing a Badoon jail cell with a criminal and a child isn’t exactly Peter’s idea of a good time…luckily, he’s got an ace named Kitty up his sleeve. But Star-Lord soon encounters the all-powerful Titan responsible for so much mayhem in his life: Thanos It’s the battle to end all battles, but can Star-Lord possibly get out alive? COLLECTING: Legendary Star-Lord 1-5.