You might be thinking, what does a first generation Korean American have to say about Ragu Pasta sauce? Plenty! Growing up, my mom had two staple American dishes that she made: tacos and spaghetti and meat sauce. The meat sauce was always made with Ragu Pasta Sauce.
Our Immigration Story
My family immigrated here from Korea in September 1974. I was 2.5 years old. Here are my lovely parents during their engagement:
Here I am – this was my passport photo for when we came to America.
We lived in California and acclimated easily as young children. My parents tell us that we learned English by watching Sesame Street and playing with the other children in our apartment building.
Ragu Pasta Sauce: Bringing Cultures Together
Being first generation immigrants has the benefit and cost of blending two cultures. Food was one area of crossover between the two cultures. Our normal dinner consisted of rice, soup, banchan (little side dishes), and fish or beef. However, we loved it when we ate American meals because it was a completely different experience for our taste buds!My favorite meal as a first generation immigrant https://ooh.li/5cc41ed #simmeredintradition #ad Click To Tweet
One of the American meals we had on a consistent basis was spaghetti with a meat sauce. My mom worked at a hearing aid factory for many years when we were growing up. She learned to make all of her American recipes from co-workers. Her co-worker taught her to make it with onion, celery, carrots, ground beef, dried parsley, and sauce, slowly simmered for a long time.
My parents always bought Ragu pasta sauce. They didn’t know about Assunta’s immigration story or her entrepreneurial spirit, but they would have resonated with her story. My parents were loyal to Ragu because they connected with the great tasting sauce and familiarity of the brand.
I have vivid memories of my dad eating spaghetti with kimchi, a fermented cabbage that is commonly eaten with every Korean meal. Eventually we didn’t think anything of it – and sometimes joined him in eating our spaghetti with kimchi. Pasta, sauce, and kimchi – the blending of two worlds.Spaghetti and Kimchi? You bet! https://ooh.li/5cc41ed #simmeredintradition #ad Click To Tweet
Today my family eats spaghetti and meat sauce weekly. It’s one of my sons’ favorite meals. It’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner with prepared sauce. I love my mom’s effort in adding additional veggies to the sauce, but we’re in a season where we don’t have the time for that. I’m so glad Ragu’s sauces have 2 servings of veggies for every serving. This one is my favorite.
My sons actually won’t try kimchi at all, so the tradition of spaghetti and kimchi stops with me. We usually don’t have a fresh supply of kimchi in our house, but you can often find me eating my spaghetti with a pickle or two.
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What was a staple in your home growing up?
Thanks for this touching story! You were a serious little thing!
Your parents are lovely.
Thank you Melinda!
Your parents are so very beautiful and handsome. I’ll have to ask our three Korean babysitters for our children about kimchi. Funny.
My parents were immigrants along with my older siblings. I was first USA born.
Staples were beef stew, fish on Friday but we also had pork n beans until one friend was shocked that mom served it. We all wanted Chinese one night seeing our neighbors come home with boxes. So Mom called her dinner that night Chinese, said it was Pot Tea Chen Wa. We were thrilled. Years later at a work pot luck I brought my Mom’s Chinese dish only to have co-workers tell me it was Sheoherd’s Pie (French.Pate Chinoiserie ). Mom had a great sense of humor!!! 🙂
That is so funny! Thank you for sharing your memories as well Mimi.
I loved reading this! I can picture your mom learning new American recipes to share with her family. This is so sweet!
Thanks Abby! We used to eat tacos with carrots too which I don’t think is the norm. I’m pretty sure she was taught that as well!
Andrea B. says
What a sweet story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And the pictures – you’re so adorable!
Thank you Andrea. I love looking at older family photos !
alexandra @ my urban family says
Your photo is adorable!! And you have such a sweet background story 🙂
Thanks Alexandra – I appreciate your comments!
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says
What a great story! It’s so interesting how food can really create connections. I’ve never tried kimchi but I bet I’d enjoy it with some pasta and sauce!
It’s certainly an acquired taste Janelle! I’d try it with Koream food first! 🙂
Liz Jo says
I needed a passport just like you at the same age. But that was because my mom traveled all over when I was young and I was super serious too. I love the background with why you love pasta 🙂
liz @ sundays with sophie
Thanks for commenting Liz. It sounds like you got to travel with your mom which sounds like quite an adventure. Thanks for sharing!
Michelle @SimplifyLiveLove says
Love the pictures of your parents and you as a baby. What a great story. We moved to Germany when I was 6 and I learned German much the way it sounds like you learned English. Great post and recipe. 🙂
Thank you Michelle. I appreciate you dropping in and commenting. I think many languages are learned via children’s shows and neighborhood children!
Laura VZ says
I love this story! And I especially love the photos you shared. I would totally do kimchi and spaghetti – kimchi with everything! It just makes everything better, doesn’t it? 🙂
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories says
Aw, this is so sweet, your passport photo is adorable! My parents immigrated from India and I was born in America. I love hearing stories about the immigrant experience. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you found some great posts to visit this week!
Thank you Tanya. I love hearing immigrant stories as well.
Oh I LOVE your story! How amazing to have such a direct connection and tie in with this brand! It is definitely one of our favorites!
Thank you Branson. Yes, I was excited to write it because it was naturally part of my story already. I loved your recipe too – I’m going to make meatballs!
Heidy L McCallum says
What an amazing #Simmeredintradition story. I love the family photos and btw I adore Kimchi! I love your recipe and can’t wait to add it to our menu!
You love kimchi Heidy! That’s great. It’s definitely an acquired taste…and smell. I think the smell turns my kids off from trying it. 🙁
What a LOVELY website you have, Angela. I have gone dancing through it. This page is beautiful. Your parents and you are very beautiful. And the spaghetti sauce looks delish!!
Thank you Brooke! I appreciate you coming and spending time here. I especially appreciate you commenting and hope to see you again!
What a great story! Thank you for sharing, it’s so fun to learn a little history about others.
Thank you Rashel. I agree, it’s fun to hear people’s background stories and how they might connect with ours.
Gaye @CalmHealthySexy says
I loved reading this story of your family, Angela. Thanks so much for sharing it with the Let’s Get Real party.
Thank you Gaye!
Lisa @ Fun Money Mom says
What a great story and your recipe looks amazing too! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
What a great story! I like be hearing immigrant stories, as both my parents are immigrants, too (from Italy). Food is such an important part of our lives and stories! I love it!
I agree Patricia. I love hearing immigrant stories as well – they are the stories of America!