Saturday, March 01, 2003

Grant it, I do love Ranch 99 in El Cerrito and grew up with Chinatown in Oakland every weekend, but nothing beats going to a Filipino grocery store. This time it was Island Pacific in Union City. It's only at a Filipino grocery where you'll find Kesong Puti (carabao's milk) and Valerio's pan de sal in a one stop shop. I just had to get those as a flashback to my summer at UP Los Banos. hot pan de sal and Kesong Puti just melting on the inside! oh, it's orgasmic I tell you!

Anyway, another thing that caught my eye was ready made Filipino food. Kind of like Stouffer's but Filipino. I didn't try it. It looked scary the way canned Dinuguan (blood stew aka chocolate meat) is scary. I mean, Filipino food is already salty/fatty/sugary as it is, then to add more plus preservatives will surely pull our average lifespan to under regular retirement age.

I'll admit, that I don't know how to cook many Filipino dishes, not even adobo, which I've only tried to make once, but the premise of eating canned and hyperpreservative versions of the stuff is should I say...problematic to my Filipino psyche. And this is quite prevalent amongst women.

Perhaps it's the patriarchal society that expects women to be able to cook, who knows. But there's a need in me that says, I gotta at least try to cook it once. Or maybe it's similar to the way Americans want to cook a Turkey for Thanksgiving. Perhaps it's my need to retain and reclaim cultural memory. So tonight, some friends are coming over, and on the menu will be Pinakbet (vegetable stew) (ok, minus the bitter my Ilokano genes aren't that strong). But it will be garnished with...(trumpeting sounds)...agamang (fermented shrimp paste) straight from Pangasinan via my aunt's balikbayan box...oh yeah! Now, this stuff is totally different from the bottle stuff. It's like gourmet agamang.

I am using a recipe from a book with liberal options to guess and modify it. I don't know any Filipino cook who actually measures and times stuff. Wait, I do know one, but he's an anal retentive scientist that must calculate everything in order to replicate his results.

If you can't tell already, I LOVE food. I don't pig out and I don't snack but when I do eat I do appreciate the artistry of it. And I love good food with good friends, a winning combo. So, if I run into a new restaurant, most certainly I'll talk about it. Hey and if it's really good AND cheap the better.

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