Monday, July 18, 2011

Kain Na!

We are doing my most favorite cuisine in the whole, wide world--Filipino!  It is one of the most nuanced cuisines there is, if you ask my opinion.  It is not predominantly any flavor say as for example Korean (which I also love though not as much as my native Filipino), which is either sweet and/or spicy or Indian--aromatic and full of spice (which is not the same as spicy).  Filipino food, like its people, is a literal melting pot of flavors as influenced by a variety of cultures that came upon our shores. And now, because of the influx of our brothers and sisters seeking to find employment abroad, our food continues to evolve as they constantly adapt to whatever is available wherever they are.
I can wax poetic about my country and my people and am known for getting all riled up with haters--more so, with haters who are actually Filipino (there should be a special jail built for traitors like this). And I try to pass on this love of country to my children as they grow.  Both kids speak and understand (Filipino) fluently even if the primary language in school is English--something which I fought hard to instill.  When the boy was in Prep, he asked me not to speak Filipino to him because I sounded like a "Yaya" (nanny) so you could imagine how I panicked while trying to keep a straight face in front of this six year old boy who managed to insult my native language, my household help and me all at the same time.  From then on, I started to speak to him more in Filipino. If people speak to my children in Filipino, they will respond that way too.  They are also both aware of some history (yes even the 5 year old) about current events, who's good, who's bad.  Well, the little one gets her ideas from me obviously but the boy is able to form his own opinions about known political personalities such that once I had to brief him that we were going to be in the same room of a certain politician we were not exactly fans of. I told him that he would have to keep his thoughts to himself unless he wanted to do jail time in his very young age.  I told him I will not bring him food in jail.  Needless to say, he kept his mouth shut.

Admittedly, Filipino food is one of the last cuisines I learned when I was beginning to cook.  Maybe because then, there were no real recipes.  The old ladies measured by gut feel and it was so difficult to replicate the same recipe having used only the feel of ones hands and fingers in measuring ingredients which roughly translated to an ounce of care and a gallon of love.  I think, that after 22 years of cooking, I finally got that part right.  :-)

Today's lunch: Crispy Bicol Express with Turmeric (Deconstructed-- Bacon Cut Pork with Stewed Chilies in Coconut and Turmeric), Crushed Dried Anchovies (For topping the sauce), Garlic Rice

Kain na!  (Let's Eat!)

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