Without a Korean Umma to Cook for Me.

Bree Yoo Sun Jeong, 정유선
4 min readFeb 23, 2023

A lifetime that never was now lives in me.

Christie at Home

I never had a Korean Umma make comfort food for me.

She never came to my side to make me Tteokbokki.

It didn’t come to me. Not with extra rice cakes. Not with melted cheese.

When I was 20 something I had it and later in my early 30s I became slightly obsessed with it.

My son and I also would eat Tteokbokki flavored chips from Joong Boo.

But we still were devoid a mother to make it at home.

I just buy it frozen. Even though it makes me cry I never show my son how it upsets me and I turn away from him toward our microwave while it heats up.

I love my adoptive mom more than words can explain.

But sometimes there is something I need and it seems

The best I can get

Is microwaved Tteokbokki.

It feels cold and distant.

It feels like a replacement.

It feels different even though I still genuinely love it.

I learn to cook lots of different things Korean for my baby.



Bree Yoo Sun Jeong, 정유선

I was formerly the young mother who leaned into destiny. These days I'm young-ish. I write about race, motherhood, transracial adoption, and hood feminism.