IMBB 12: Tagilo (Fermented Rice and Shrimp Paste)

Posted by on Feb 19, 2005 in Capampangan, Freshwater, IMBB?, Rice | 30 comments

I wonder if Carlo at my latest supper was thinking of the adage “one man’s meat is another’s poison” when he chose the theme of this month’s Is My Blog Burning? What a way to celebrate the 12th instalment and 1st anniversary of Alberto’s original idea! Something taboo or disgusting – in our part of the world, what could that be short of cannibalism? I didn’t want to argue, or be legalistic around the rules yet I also didn’t want to break the Philippine Animal Welfare law.

It took me a long time to finally decide on this month’s entry. For a while I thought of skipping it but my friend Catsudon, who is the genie of my blogs, admonished me not to chicken out. So, back to the rules. I’ll just pick bits and pieces from Carlo’s stipulations since taken as a whole, they seem to eliminate everything from this side of the world. And because I work on my food entries from Pampanga, a province known for many exotic delicacies even for Philippine standards, close to nothing qualifies as taboo or forbidden.

But as for sharing our unusual food and recording the reactions of those who try it, I had a lot of pictures! I found one taken in December and shows May-May, a four-year old who ate tâgiló like oatmeal where others cringe. However, she wasn’t a “willing victim” but practically begged to have a taste. Does that qualify? Perhaps I should then go back through time, not limited with this IMBB’s timeframe.

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Music in My Kitchen

Posted by on Feb 15, 2005 in Buffet | 4 comments

I was telling JMom that with her tag, my ‘uncool’ taste in music will now be found out. As I was browsing through the entries of those tagged before me, it is confirmed how musically outdated I am. If this blog tries to do a bit of food anthropology, then the music belongs here because one can probably do some anthropology or even archaeology with the age of some of the pieces I’ll mention, hehehehe!

It took me a long time to finally write this here instead of the other blog where I have a category for music. What made me decide was the thought that in our family, food and music are inextricably linked. In my childhood, I would assist in the kitchen with opera arias in the background. My uncles would often bring tapes of live recordings from opera houses which we would play with gusto though we didn’t understand a word. Mom had a book of favourite operas with a synopsis for each scene and I would casually flip through the pages in between stirring and pouring or while steaming the leche flan. On lazy afternoon meriendas, we had the radio tuned to the classical music station (DZFE) or the Business Radio (DWBR) for light movements, some Broadway or songs from yesteryears.

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Semi-Elaborate Pinakbet

Posted by on Feb 15, 2005 in Aquatic, Ethnic, Pork, Veggie Delights | 12 comments

Perhaps I’ve come close to solving the puzzle why we call sitaw (also spelled sitao in Tagalog, câmangyáng in Kapampangan, utong in Ilocano, Badiriya in Lebanese Arabic and die Fisolen in Austrian German) stringbeans while to many parts of the English-speaking world, they’re yard-long beans. I came across a paper from the American colonial period where they were most probably writing the English translations for our native vegetables and what did they call sitaw but “long stringbeans” (trust the Americans to leave us confused, hehehe!). Perhaps through time the adjective was dropped and so we are now left with just “stringbeans”. Now I’d like to pinch my own ears because I forgot to write down the source of the paper and have no idea where I read it. Pardon my negligence this time.

In any case, here is another recipe which makes use of these beans. I was a bit hesitant to post this recipe as it is quite common, most probably found in all Filipino food websites. However, I am a bit amused at requests for me to post a Kapampangan pinakbet recipe. What recipe? Pinakbet is unmistakably Ilocano. The way it is properly cooked, according to my mom and aunties who lived in Baguio, is by stewing without oil until the vegetables have dried up and shrivelled. But since requests persist and I promised Renee on Shiokadelicious! sometime back, I will post how Kapampangans cook it, which I’m certain would make hardcore Ilocanos cringe.

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Salabat: Ginger Brew

Posted by on Feb 6, 2005 in Beverages, Spicy | 21 comments

It’s interesting how people get to this blog. Time and again, I get referrals for searches looking for a salabat recipe (ginger brew or tea). I didn’t bother to write down the instructions since all it takes is a pot of water, some ginger and brown sugar. As far as I know, in Manila salabat is that plain and I assumed this was the standard. They even sell it bottled and powdered in groceries nowadays and that has become the standard. It is all very convenient but the real thing for me is when one can taste bits of fresh ginger with every gulp, as I remember from days not too long ago.

A good part of my childhood memories are of Lola brewing salabat for us. It was perfect for cold weather, as ginger warms the body. It is also perfect for hot days as there is no better way to release heat than by sweating. We had to take the brew very strong if we had colds and if we were singing or reciting poems during school programmes. I wonder how many generations of children are made to do the same.

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