My Mom Has Always Foraged—A Year Into the Pandemic, I Understand Why – Dakota Kim

“Did you eat your ginkgo nuts today?” My mom’s anxious, familiar refrain turned in my head even after we spoke. The next morning, I investigated my crowded freezer, where she stashes said ginkgo nuts. The bag was still full.

The first thing my omma does upon arriving at my home (we don’t live together, but are in a “pod”) is open my fridge and freezer. Like a discerning chef, she wants to know which of the ingredients and home-cooked dishes she brought over last time I actually ate, and which I didn’t. Today, she’s disappointed. She puts the bag back in the freezer and peers up at me accusingly. “You didn’t eat any ginkgos,” she says, her voice heavy with the kind of disappointment that non-Korean parents likely reserve for kids who’ve hosted a kegger while they were out of town. “Ginkgo nuts make your blood circulate and memory sharp,” she reminds me.

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