I got tagged by Scott of Real Epicurean for this meme called, “The Butterfly Effect” It was originally dreamed up by Dan Perlman of Salt Shaker and will give you a good peek into how and why a blog author got interested in food….
Here’s how it works, I pick one most important thing for each category and explain how it affected me, perhaps not in any earth-shaking way. So, here’s the list of catgories:
1. An ingredient;
2. A dish, a recipe;
3. A meal (in a restaurant, a home, or elsewhere);
4. A cookbook or other written work;
5. A food “personality” (chef, writer, etc.) and,
6. Another person in your life
1. An ingredient. This has got to be the Zambales mangoes our family always had more than our share of every summer. My maternal grandmother would go to the farms every year when the harvest season started. She would come back with her trusted driver (who doubled as a nanny sometimes) or my dad in her trusty Willy’s Jeep station wagon and a pull-behind cargo trailer laden with large baskets of fruits, mostly the famous Zambales mangoes. I looked forward to these homecomings and sat in the jeep eating while the fruit was still warm. We ate them as is for dessert, made them into pies and tarts and eventually turned them into jams and spreads. After Mount Pinatubo erupted, my mother went up to Zambales and the farm caretaker gave her a few hundred pesos from the sale of charcoal that were once the mango trees that sustained our family for years. Lahar had gotten to the mango farm my mother inherited and all the trees my grandmother planted as a young bride were just gone.
That simple fruit, so common in our province, played a very large part in our family’s life.
2. A dish, a recipe. Ahhh….definitely “Pinakbet” a vegetable stew from the Northern Philippine region of Ilocos where the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos and many famous Philippine historical figures come from. This dish is my mother’s forte and everytime she cooked it, whether for everyday meals or for large family get-togethers, we all would come to her table and eat in silence….always relishing the richness of that stew. My mom’s “pinakbet” is the standard I will always strive for.
3. A meal. I can’t remember any particular meal that made such an impact on me. The details are fuzzy but I still remember the mood and the pleasures of Sunday meals (that stretched to whole-day affairs) my mother’s side of the family always got together for. Everyone would bring something special and there would be much talk and laughter and teasing. These are the meals that I constantly try to recreate when I’m with my family now, hoping that my nieces and nephews will remember them later in life, the way I do now.
4. A cookbook or other written work. The name of my mom’s old cookbook escapes me now….it was hard-bound, very thick and had everything you could possibly want to make in your kitchen. I think it was called the “American Family Cookbook” but can’t say for sure. If I’m not mistaken, she received it as a wedding present back in 1958. As we were growing up, that cookbook was a constant presence in our kitchen. It was yellow, dog-eared and stained with flour and egg and who-knows-what by the time I was using it. I believe that book, or parts of it, are now with Eldest Sister.
5. A food personality (chef, writer). In the Philippines, the most well-known food personality of all time has got to be Nora Daza. She opened the first French restaurant in Manila and also opened a Philippine restaurant in Paris where it was very well-received. She single-handedly raised the bar in the Philippine culinary landscape, revealed secrets once only known to the best cooks around the Philippines and introduced so many dishes through her restaurant and cooking show. Her early cooking shows on Philippine television were the first and probably the best. She had a few sponsors and used their products so it was a bit commercial but they were always interesting recipes. She also has several cookbooks which many Filipinos living overseas are sure to have in their kitchens.
6. Another person in your life. Ahhh…my Spouse who never, ever criticized anything I cooked for him, who indulges my little whims when it comes to food. He has probably pondered the how and why of my whims but never said nay. He’s the one who encouraged me to go into food blogging as a matter of fact. For years, he insisted I take photographs of our meals. Sounded strange then, but now I wish I had!
Now for the tagging. No one is obligated to take this on, but I’d really love to read your answers. For this meme, I’m tagging my fellow Asian food bloggers:
1. Mae of Rice and Noodles
2. Iska of Iskandals/Edible Experiments
3. Stel of Baby Rambutan
4. Stef of Stefoodie
5. Ritha of Daun Pisang