There are a lot of "old wives tales" surrounding what women should or should not eat when pregnant. Koreans have their own interesting ones such as:
1. Only eat things that are beautiful so you can have a beautiful baby. (this means no leftovers, or unappetizing food, or anything that is simply just not pretty enough.)
2. No duck - unless you want a child with webbed feet
3. No squid or octopus, lest you have a child with no bones.
Now, all of these are pretty funny and ridiculous, and if you ask my Father what he thinks about it all as an OB/GYN he'll shake his head and say under his breath what nonsense it is. (His word choice would be something a bit more violent like ... BS)
However, when I was pregnant with Daughter #1, Maternal Grandmother, upon finding out, called me long distance from Korea to reach me in Hong Kong with the following command from up high, "DO NOT under any circumstances allow anything remotely resembling squid or octopus to enter you mouth. Promise me."
Normally, I'm not a huge squid love anyways, so it wasn't a big deal to promise at all. "Sure, sure Grandma. I won't touch it."
I then had a joking conversation with Husband about it later, and he said, "You'd better listen to her. Those old wives tales are important to the older generation."
"Come on, even my DAD says it is nonsense!" I retorted.
"Nope. Don't eat anything she says not to eat," my husband said firmly. So there I was, suddenly restricted from eating squid and octopus.
It turns out it was a good thing Husband asked me to listen, because suddenly this became a point of conversation between Grandmother and me. "Joanne, did you eat any squid or octopus? You cannot eat it when pregnant!" Grandmother would ask every time she called. (Which became fairly often after she found out I was pregnant.) I'm such a poor liar to begin with, I think it would have devastated her to know that I had disobeyed her request, so I was able to confidently say, "Don't worry Grandma. I'm not eating it."
And so it was with all three Kids. I did not eat squid or octopus with any of them and Grandma would call during all the pregnancies to confirm that I as not consuming said verboten items. She also got Mom in the act and would call HER who would then call ME to confirm that I was not eating them. I did not eat them.
However, there was one day that I remember when I was upset that I could not eat it, and it was when I saw Husband chowing down on Spicy Ojingo Banchan. And I felt a pang. A pang. And then anger. Because Husband chomped it down in front of me, licking his lips and chewing it up, and I couldn't have it. None of it. Not even a taste.
And that craving for it must have gone straight through to my babies, because Son and Daughters LOVE it. Only it is too spicy and they eat a tiny bit and then drink a cup of water. Rather than continually doing that, I thought I'd make them a non-spicy version, and this is it...they LOVE this too, and even for non spicy, I have to say it's pretty tasty. And since I'm not pregnant, I can eat it.
Non-Spicy Korean Squid Side Dish (Ojingo Moochim - 오징어 무침)
8 oz of dried cuttlefish (백진미 오징어) (this comes pre-shredded and I've seen it at both Chinese and Korean supermarkets)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoons plain corn syrup (물엿)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, sake, and corn syrup. Cook until mixture is bubbly.Remove from heat. Add cuttle fish/dried squid to the honey mixture. (which is warm, but NOT cooking the stove.) Working quickly, toss until everything is well coated.
Finish by sprinkling with sesame seeds. Toss again. Serve on a beautiful dish.
Keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Best served with hot rice.
Pregnant women, do not eat this. :)