Here is my interview with Mere Marshall and the photos of Korean dishes that she made.

Jamie Frater introduced her to Korean food. She has always loved cooking but Korean food was something she had never cooked, so Jamie helped her by mailing some ingredients to her house.

I was impressed with her interesting story, her positive attitude, and her genuine love for cooking.

What is your name and where do you live?
My name is Mere Takoko Marshall; but Mere or Marie is what I’m usually called. I live by Lake Rotorua on the outskirts of Rotorua city in the North Island of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
What do you do and how many family members do you have?

“The baby is my mokopuna- granddaughter Abigail. She is now 3.”

“..with our great grandson Alexander – (Xander) his parents call him for short.”

I write. I’m working on Greek myths currently in collaboration with Martin Tissink, my artist husband. There is only Martin and I at home these days. Oh, and three cats. However together we have a large extended family all living fairly nearby and we get together often, especially to share a meal.

I am a person who has been a keen home cook virtually from childhood. My first favorite cook and teacher in the kitchen was my grandmother; my father’s mother – Lillian. She cooked for her big family and for the hungry workmen who came to the meat factory canteen where she worked until she was 70. Then Lillian took a trip around the world.

I have worked with people with disabilities; tutored their teachers; been a community art worker and trainer, community facilitator and latterly I have had a naturopathic practice.

Five years ago a long standing condition I have had since childhood caused me to become an oxygen device user. At that time my specialist informed me that my life expectancy would be significantly less than for others. This brought me to a halt for a while! I felt very sorry for myself and disappointed that I had failed to stall the disease in spite of my efforts through natural remedies, nutrition and physical activity. I immediately went out and bought myself some very expensive lipstick and perfume.

After a period I realized that I had a choice to make – I could stay sad focusing on what I could not do, or I  could concentrate on what I could do. I chose the latter. Throughout my life I have always read and written prose and poetry between the reports, essays and proposals that I was required to do. And there has always been cooking. My diagnosis and prognosis is not something I celebrate but I am grateful for the prompt it has given me to do what I love with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. I write full-time now and cook more than ever! I have been particularly fortunate in having the support of my husband and sister and close friends.

How often do you cook Korean food following my recipes?

Big feast! You will see rice, doenjang jjigae, steamed pork buns, yangnyeomjang, seasoned fried chicken (yangnyeom tongdak), and kimchi on the table!

What are your favorite Korean dishes? Choose 3, please!
It’s hard to choose only 3 favourite Maangchi recipes -actually impossible! But I’ll try to keep the number down.

[1] Maangchi’s kimchi Jigae – kimchi pancake- in fact all the kimchi recipes!!


kimchijeon (kimchi pancake)

[2] Maangchi ‘s Doenjang jjigae – I cook this at least twice in a week – so tasty and healthy. Sometimes we add dried hot chili peppers.

Doenjang jjigae

[3] Bibimbap -really like the gosari (fern brake) in this dish but love it all.
[3a] Soondubu jjigae – I like this as much if not more even than bibimbap. Nice and spicy!!
[4] Jjinppang mandu – Steamed pork buns: everyone enjoys these. They are fun to make too although I am not very expert yet.
[5] Maangchi’s side-dishes – I make one or two most days even if we don’t have a Korean main dish. Doljaban muchim (seasoned seaweed); sigeumchi namul (spinach side dish); muwoo namul (cooked radish side dish, and myulchi bokkeum (stir fried anchovies side dish). I thought making side dishes would be too much bother to do regularly. I find instead they are often quick to prepare and any effort is more than rewarded by their fresh delicious taste.

Tangsuyuk (sweet sour crunchy pork or beef)

Sigeumchi namul (spinach side dish)

Myeolchi bokkeum (dried anchovy side dish)

Japchae (stir-fried starch noodles with vegetables and meat)

What’s your best Korean dish, the one that everybody?
I have to say the dish I am most complimented on is yangnyeom tongdak (seasoned fried chicken). I have made it for a celebratory lunch with family and friends; for my daughter-in law’s birthday, for friends get together, and for my son and family when visiting.

Last time I made it two people asked for the recipe. It is so crunchy and the sauce hot and sweet but I have to keep the sauce to the side for some family members who don’t enjoy the hotness. They still enjoy the crunchiness though.


  1. KrynauwOtto2 Pretoria, South Africa joined 9/13 & has 54 comments

    Kia ora Mere,
    Your food looks so delicious!

  2. Maha Jordan joined 12/10 & has 29 comments

    wow your dishes looking great & delicious Marie ^_^

  3. mokpochica Michigan joined 1/09 & has 89 comments

    Your food all looks so delicious. I think it’s fantastic how you have embraced Korean food so quickly–I know how addictive it is and with people like Jamie and maangchi guiding you, it was bound to happen! Now that we have seen your fantastic cooking, I hope we will see some of your writing. Maybe on a blog or on the forum? Keep living life to the fullest–you are an inspiration. :)

    • Mere Marshall New Zealand joined 5/11 & has 16 comments

      Kia ora mokpochica, Thank you for your kind comments. I hadn’t thought about a blog for my myth poems and prose but maybe that would be a good idea. Whatever thanks for the encouragement. I’ve been lucky with that; encouragement – as you rightly mention with Jamie and maangchi and now you it seems. Meanwhile I’m very excited about Emily’s visit here 29th October- and getting to meet and cook and share food with her. Jamie is coming too -it will be a fine time! so yes life is full and I love it that way – a little more energy would be useful and a few more minutes in each hour helpful but even with out these its pretty good around here. Sometimes ordinary people like myself get to experience the extraordinary and the surprising and it makes for rich moments and memories too – I do find that inspirational. Nga mihi from New Zealand

  4. dr.moongyeunyoung Philippines joined 6/11 & has 11 comments

    You should be an inspiration to those who just wants to give up on life. Great looking dishes too. May God bless you more =)

  5. MariskaLim Jakarta, Indonesia joined 2/11 & has 55 comments

    Your story is touching me..(T-T). I had the same feeling when I know that I had giant cell tumor in my leg. Later, I decided to choose something that i’m really love to, is to cook, despite crying for all my dream vanish because of my tumor.

    Your dish is amazing! And i become your fans now. ^^

  6. JamieF New Zealand joined 1/11 & has 120 comments

    This is a great fan page! Mere you are an incredibly inspiring woman – despite adversity you are following your dreams. I can’t wait for us to get together to cook a huge Korean feast! Next time I am going to Rotorua I will let you know well in advance :) And your food pictures look amazing by the way – I can’t believe how addicted to Korean food you have become in such a short time :)

    • Mere Marshall New Zealand joined 5/11 & has 16 comments

      Kia ora Jamie. That’s a nice thing to say. I’m a fairly ordinary character really. I would love to cook and talk Korean with you. Haere mai very welcome any time – Addicted me? Absolutely! By the way in no small measure this is due to you!! And I thank you for it. And Maangchi …you have made it a very enjoyable addiction indeed. Kia ora

  7. bo Hawaii joined 7/10 & has 49 comments

    Nice to meet you Mere! Your outlook on life is so awesome

    It’s curious. Mokopuna is grandchild in Maori. Grandchild is Mo’opuna in Hawaiian! (I live in Hawaii…born and raised)

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