This is not a food review to start with but I would just like to share and entice you about my personal liking and interest to food and all its glory. I was born to a family with a colorful palate, both on my mother’s and father’s side seem to have that fascination over delicious and sumptuous food as it reflects during meal time and bam, expect what we bring to the table during fiesta. What a king’s feast you will have on that day. The sweet, sour, creamy, salty and all that jazz of taste you will experience!
Having a mom whose got a ton of cooking experience with her mom as well, my dear grandmother Nanay as we call her, is such a skillful woman when it comes to food preparation and cooking. Coming from Mama’s story, she would tell me and my siblings about Nanay’s cooking and her specialties of Pinoy’s kakanins. I would not forget comes every summer vacation, once April month is at hand, that together with my siblings we would pack our things for a week and head to Nanay’s house and take a “staycation”. Our Nanay’s house is just a 20 minutes ride away from our house but spending with her that weeklong vacation is just as same as camping and reconnecting with Mother Nature because of all the greenery you could ever imagine in 360 degrees angle.
Nanay wakes up early in the morning, you could hear her sweeping the yard and after that she’ll feed her chickens and ducks, by the way it is not only me and my siblings she would request to take a stay cation with her but also with our cousins living outside the town, and that’s how she misses us, her grandchildren. You need to spend time with her, you live with her and experience her loving on hand. For breakfast, she would prepare steamed rice, sunny sideup eggs or omelette, hot cocoa choco and fried tuyo or any salted fish with tomatoes. Very simple isn’t it? After that meal, doing household chores is our mission. Playtime would be like incorporated in doing the chores, we share jokes and have fun carrying pails and transferring her potted plants. Comes lunch time, she would serve us with steamed rice, sinigang na tilapia and ginataang kamoteng-kahoy leaves with tinapa. Healthy and balanced meal is what she would feed us. She hates picky eaters but still considers those who really don’t like to eat this and that. I would remember her saying that in time he/she would learn to eat and appreciate it, comes the time that she would feel bad or have nothing to eat at all.
I forgot to mention that she would also serve us snacks but mind you, bread or sandwiches is not of one of her favorites but rather root crops such as sweet kamote, kamoteng-kahoy and saba bananas, all are just boiled and eaten with sugar or freshly grated coconut. So my palate was trained to like and munch into this healthy snack. It was stomach filling and you’ll feel full once you had enough serving.
After lunch, she’ll make sure that we’ll take our nap but sometimes it is the time where we get to gather around her and with the aunts and uncles while she tells stories about anything or she’ll just ask questions as to what and how things are going with us, our studies, our unforgettable experiences and our families. But most of the time, we end up telling jokes and laughing our hearts out, just enjoying her company and getting close to her though she is a bit stern and strict. With all those good memories being talked about and making fun of her antics, she’ll never forget to throw pieces of advice based on her life experience.
To always be a good person, follow and be obedient to your parents, do things the right way and never to take for granted your studies.
Before the sunsets, we are expected to be inside her house and wait for dinner, back then we have a schedule on TV viewing, not that she’s saving up on electric bills but she told us that it is a distraction. Just in my head, I’ll answer her back, oh that’s not true, you only want us to finish the chores instantly. Dinner time has arrived, she would serve us with steamed rice again, some leftovers of our ulam during lunch but here’s the catch, our rice would usually be paired with adobo she made in advance stock in a big jar of what once a mayonnaise bottle. The meat is oh-so-tender, sweet-sour-salty taste lingers in your mouth as you chew on it and the garlicky flavor is irresistibly the scent of a happy meal. Then washing the dishes is the chore all of us dread because the manual water pump is few steps away from the kitchen and it gets a little bit dark there during night time, cousins and uncles would tease and make horror like sounds and sends jitters down the dishwasher, and that’s me.(by this time I’ve written this story, I’m braver than ever!)
P.S. Nanay died four years ago, and I still miss her, this is an ode to her gentleness, strictness and positive vibes. I love you, Nanay!