Home kitchen after travel — a poem

Kim chi fermenting in plastic container.

Kim chi fermenting in the foreground. Kombucha takes a back seat.

Travel may broaden the mind but
my mind shrinks when I return
and I wallow in the narrows
of my bed my own my own
my ABC my darling Zed

my own marigolds on the window ledge
my own hodge-podge in my own fridge
and I make silly salads with redundant veg
and I wall myself inside
my home, my sweet retreat.

But there’s something missing from my larder
so I crash the border to retrieve
the colour and the heat
and the flavour and the jolt and the wallop
of the land of many Ks

and I fling into a frenzy of salting
and rinsing and slicing
and mixing and spreading
and pressing and sealing
my very first batch of kim chi.

24 thoughts on “Home kitchen after travel — a poem

  1. Love this! Minus the Kim chi this is exactly how I’m feeling after alighting from a month away.

  2. We will often bring home a recipe or a new favorite taste from our travels. I’ve never been to Korea, but I have had kim chi… not a fan. But, I’m glad you enjoy it and are able to recreate the taste.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It grows on you:)

  3. Elizabeth says:

    How adventurous of you. I wonder what local food a visitor to your home would try to recreate in Seoul.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I wonder too! I just can’t think. Forty years ago it would have been pavlova.

      1. Elizabeth says:


  4. Prue Densem says:

    a snuggly return to the fold! Perfect

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you Prue. Yes, highly domesticated too.

  5. V.J. Knutson says:

    There is definitely a period of re-adapting. I always miss my tea (hot with milk and sugar).

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      This time I was surprised by the number of things I did not miss. Serious things like wine and coffee for days on end. I noticed but did not suffer a jot. So some of these comfort foods or drinks may become irrelevant in a different situation. It’s odd.

  6. Sadje says:

    Looks very colorful indeed. Everyone has a similar reaction after coming back to home. It’s after all our castle and safe haven. It needs to valued! All the best with Kimchi!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Good thoughts, Sadje.

      1. Sadje says:

        Thanks Rachel.

  7. lbeth1950 says:

    It makes you wonder why you roam?

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I am fascinated by that very thing.

    2. It is because some of us are wired to do so. A long genetic predisposition. Not forgetting that it is damned good fun.

  8. We continually adjust our food and drinks to where we are, though to go without coffee, that is unlikely. Readjusting to one spot, now that is going to take a bit longer.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It is different indeed.

  9. lifecameos says:

    Fun to experiment with foreign foods but kim chi just did not so it for me.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You are not alone among my readers.

  10. Ally Bean says:

    I enjoy trying new recipes at home in my own kitchen. So fun to do your own thing to that which you liked elsewhere enough to try it at home. Sounds like you’re onto a good idea here.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      This time at least my Kim chi turned out yummy.

  11. hilarymb says:

    Hi Rachel – well done on your yummy Kim chi … I’m pleased you’ve given it a go on your return. Being home always takes time to adjust … just enjoy – cheers Hilary