Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hah! The chatelaine puts my cooking third on her "Three of my favorite dishes"...and am trying to remember what I've served her before...hhmmm yes, kare-kare with bagoong, adobo,teriyaki salmon, leche flan, etc. But perhaps her memory of my cooking reminds her of the company she had shared it with in my home on several occasions: Joey Ayala, Michelle and Rhett, Reme, Jim and Lily, Ianthe Brautigan, and others.

I never think of my cooking as notable. Still, it's nice to be regarded as a good cook. As a Kapampangan (Filipino national cuisine is basically Kapampangan-inspired!), cooking should be in the genes but in my case, I've always thought that my other sisters cook better than I do. But I must have inherited my mother's non-chalance around food. No flair, no gourmet tricks except she made everything from scratch. At 12,she taught me how to go to market and learn how to bargain. Bring home the live chicken (or live fish, or jumping shrimps and frogs), kill, and clean it. Adobo. Tinola. Asado. Kilawin. Pochero. Dinuguan. Pancit palabok, guisado, sotanghon, canton. (i'm getting hungry writing this). Just the other day, I was thinking of how she taught me how to properly take the shell and head off the fresh shrimps so as to keep the fat intact... pound the shells in the stone mortar and pestle and then squeeze the juice to flavor many of the sauteed vegetable and meat dishes. There were no instant mixes in those days and to this day I don't use them...a lot (i do use the tocino marinade once in a while).

There is a growing "slow food movement" that I would like to be part of. So we are getting ready to plant our spring and summer veggies. Although I've yet to learn how to grow Japanese eggplants, at least last summer we enjoyed the bounty of heirloom tomatoes, basil, swiss chard, arugula, and mesclun. Friends in the Philippines who are already into the "slow food movement" tell me that the idea is to harvest the ingredients from your own organic garden, cook together with other friends, and then be willing to discuss a social justice issue...like Poetry!

Kare-kare would just be the kind of "slow food" that would fit in nicely, no? Now we just have to set a date...

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