Jook, Congee, Xifan

When a Korean child's tummy aches, she longs for a nice, warm bowl of "Jook." It is truly a treat, made especially when a child is sick. These days, I know you can order it at restaurants and buy instant mix at the grocery, but when I was little, nobody wanted to stand over the hot coal stove, stirring the mixture of rice and water for close to an hour. My mom, well-known in our circles as a great cook, made ours with chicken broth and tender pieces of boiled chicken.
In Korea, it is known as "jook," but in Chinese as tzuok, conzee or xifan. Most east Asian countries have their version, varying only slightly by what is served with it. The basics are the same - rice, cooked on low heat so that it is a watered down, soft porridge. It is therapeutic for its very blandness.

My mother-in-law, raised on a dairy farm in western Pennsylvania, was served buttered toast, sprinkled with sugar and covered with warm milk. I have another friend, raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, who had a similar recipe for a sore tummy.
What is your comfort food?


AmyP said...

My mom and dad both grew up with the Milk Toast tradition, but the thought of it alone is enough to make me want to vomit. All of us kids thought that was disgusting. In our house we got 7up for an upset tummy. What a treat! It was the only time we ever had soda. Almost made it worth it.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Carla said...

Food is usually the last thing I want. :( That jook looks awesome though!!

Grace said...

For upset tummy, we sometimes were given gingerale...ginger being the key ingredient. I've never heard of cooking rice the way you described. That does sound good, healthy - and gentle - on the tum.

Lora said...

I've had the milk toast, and warm milk (the thought actually MAKES me sick now!), and ginger ale, but what we really loved when we were sick was ungelled Jello. My mom would give it to us warm and in a mug. I haven't had it in probably 15 years, but my brother was sick awhile back and thought that would help him and he said it was absolutely awful. I can only imagine!

I give my son oatmeal, rice, or bananas