IMBB 18: Cheese-Garlic Sticks (Summer’s Flying, Let’s Get Frying!)

Posted by on Aug 28, 2005 in Dairy, IMBB?, Spicy | 24 comments

Summer is long gone from this part of the hemisphere but frying is here to stay, especially in the Philippines, or Asia for that matter where a good fraction of what we eat goes through a form of frying. When At Our Table hostess Linda announced the theme for this month’s IMBB, I was both eager and yet petrified. What would I cook?

As the date drew near I had to be decisive because I told myself last time that I should stop cramming. And so this entry is just almost-crammed, hehehe! I took my inspiration from my university days, from the finger food we had in student organisations. Each time we had to serve something edible to both members and guests, decent but inexpensive food had to be purchased. Resourceful students would usually buy the ingredients and cook the food into something a bit fancy-looking. Cheese sticks were one of my favourites because first I’m a cheese lover and second because they were really inexpensive. I had other plans for the money we’d be saving such as for killer workshops (read: members required without fail) I was notorious for organising.

It amused me no end later, when as a junior government bureaucrat, I found these same cheese sticks served during expensive cocktails, the only variation was to include a few bits of ham. How far it has gone, the tasty morsel of my student years! :lol:

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Marang / Tarap

Posted by on Aug 27, 2005 in Ethnic, Fruits | 50 comments

Normally, it takes me the longest time before posting. But today, I am so excited that I just have to. No obsessive-compulsive researching, no editing, no carefully-taken picture – and sorry I can’t do much better – the other fruit-lovers at home got to it before I found the camera. I just have to show the fruit treasure of the month – the marang!

My aunt just came back from a workshop in Davao and as soon as she alighted from the van, I detected a sweet-pungent odour often associated with planes coming in from that southern province. I knew she wasn’t bringing any durian otherwise the scent would have been stronger. When I found out it was marang (Artocarpus odoratissimus), I couldn’t wait to have my hands on the fruit.

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Lasang Pinoy I: Ninoy Aquino Day – Round-Up

Posted by on Aug 21, 2005 in Buffet, Lasang Pinoy | 24 comments

Nth edition, constantly edited

When some of us thought of launching a Filipino food blogging event in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning? 1, all I was concerned about was the theme should be something that coincided with Philippine holidays or festivals. Since our Independence Day in June had passed, I thought the next holiday was Ninoy Aquino Day of 21 August. Clearly, I wasn’t using my mind.

When one introduces a stranger to a certain cuisine, it has to be something enjoyable. It has to be something remembered. Usually, we Filipinos introduce our visitors to our food during feasts and these are always joyous events. When I thought of the theme for this event, I didn’t realise how much angst and tension was about to be dredged up from the sands of time.

However, when we introduce food to our visitors, it is implicitly an introduction to a way of life. To eat with someone is an intimate activity shared by friends and loved ones. When we share our food with strangers we forge bonds, forming a certain kinship which eases the acceptance of the one who used to be a stranger.

Thus we share with the world our food, our lifeblood, albeit virtually. Just like when we eat face-to-face, we share our thoughts on a very significant event for the Filipino nation. By articulating our feelings about a tumultuous period in our history, when our will as a nation was tested, we open ourselves up and hope that we are better understood. If it is said that the theme for the launching is too heavy and not fit for a food event, we can only smile and ask if something like that isn’t part of life. And we do share life stories when eating. We can neither hide nor run from it. At the end of the day, all our pain and suffering, our small triumphs, dreams, pure laughter and much love is shared around the dinner table. After all, these are what make up the story of the Filipino nation.

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Camaru: A Sumptuous Meal!

Posted by on Aug 21, 2005 in Capampangan, Fauna, Lasang Pinoy | 15 comments


After a short deliberation, my co-host Stef and I decided to post the round-up for the launching of Lasang Pinoy this evening since we’re still receiving entries. In the meantime, I’ll post something which I would give Ninoy if he were alive today.After his assassination in 1983, numerous articles on Ninoy came out in both the government-controlled and the underground press. Many of these articles tackled his private persona – the son, husband and father who happened to have big dreams yet remained down-to-earth. A feature article I still remember vividly is about Ninoy and the food that he liked. Since he was from Concepcion, Tarlac which is ethnically Capampangan, he ate like his forefathers did before him.

Aside from the article I read, Atching Cora also confirmed that one of the delicacies enjoyed by Capampangans and which was known as Ninoy’s favourite is a dish of plump mole crickets (Gryllotalpa orientalis Burmeister). These are called camaru (also spelt ‘kamaru’), which are burrowing insects found in soft ground such as rice paddies.

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Food as Torture: Prison Memories of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino

Posted by on Aug 19, 2005 in Capampangan, Guest Bloggers, Lasang Pinoy | 8 comments

By Cora Castellvi

(Below is an entry sent in by a Filipina-Canadian reader of her encounter with Sen. Aquino as they ate and talked about what else but food!)

Ontario, Canada – IT WAS FALL, 1981. Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was the guest speaker at a symposium organized by a group of young Filipino-Canadian professionals in Toronto. I just wish I had something with me at that time to record the event and the next 24 hours when Ninoy was in town before he went back to Boston, where he was in exile with his family.

The evening was charged with so much energy. Ninoy spoke with so much passion and fire, for about 3 hours, non-stop – and only glanced at his notes, every once in a while to start a new topic.

He did not complain about the discomfort he was feeling right then. It was roughly a few weeks before when he hurt his ankle and he was walking with a little limp and was using a cane.

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