Sunday, April 23, 2017

on love and food



“Do you ever wonder who started the whole garlic-onion power combo? Like did some random housewife from the 20s try it once and then it just sort of caught on or was this something our first ancestors passed on to us?” I was in bed thumbing through cookbooks, hell-bent on learning about my culinary heritage from the masters of Filipino cuisine.

“I don’t think that’s how you’re meant to use a cookbook,” he reports from the kitchen. “You’re supposed to be in here, trying it out for yourself.” Various scents and sounds of spices in symphony wafted through the air. It was a Sunday afternoon and my lover was making me brunch. I know of few pleasures that could come close to this.

“Well, you gotta start somewhere. I’m sure even…” I said, scanning the cover for a credit. “Nora Daza started somewhere.” I just don’t think I should be trusted with flammable things until I know at least 20% of how these things work. Need I remind you what happened last week when I tried to fry an egg?”

“No,” he chuckled. “Although the fire department might appreciate the caution you’re taking.” I could hear the sounds getting louder, the smell of gisa filling the tiny 19 sqm apartment we were in.

“Gawd, that smells good. Ugh. I just don’t know how you do it. You make it seem so easy.”

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan. These things take time, patience, and a little bit of magic.” I peered up from my book to see him with a sachet of Magic Sarap. “Plus, if it smells so good, we’re in trouble. You know what they say: Ang mabango mag-gisa, magaling mag-sinungaling.

“What? I literally know no one who says that!”

“My lola used to say that all the time. She’d say never trust a good chef. But then again, she was shit at love and cooking so maybe that was more rationalization than actual advice.

I put the book down and dragged the covers all the way to the kitchen. He was sautéing garlic, onion, and some random vegetables I wasn’t confident I could name. I wrapped my arms around him as he stir-fried.

“But the real secret to any good dish cannot be found in your little cookbooks. If you really want to know, here’s the secret ingredient.” He set the spatula down, took my hand, and placed it on his chest. “Do you feel that? I’m cooking with love.”

I pulled my hand away almost immediately. “Ang baduy ha!” I said between fits of laughter. He puckers up and makes air kisses. I wiped his sweat away and planted a solid one right in the lips.

Whether his made-up saying proved true or not, I’d always have this memory in my head and in my heart. That summer, I learned exactly 26 of the 304 dishes in Let’s Cook with Nora. The novelty faded after the book called for ingredients like beef kabilugan, ox tongue, and tripe. And while I can now sauté like the best of them, none of the dishes I’ve made have ever smelled as good as that one little dish he made with love.

♫: Yael Naïm | New Soul (2007)

Postcript: While this is mostly fiction, I really did try cooking my way through Let’s Cook with Nora. Documented [here], I channeled the stresses of “funemployment” into developing a new skill. Shortly after I published the sole cooking post, I signed a job offer and that was that.

The POST: April 2017
"Food"

17 comments:

  1. Tangina. May kasagutan sa paghihintay ko ng 4 na taon. Go pick up the spatula and start cooking again.

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    1. D: I have been cooking! Just not from this book. Too hard eh. Lolz to the only follower of that failed food blog, a million thanks. :)

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    2. I re-read this again. Di ko na-catch yung part about being a good cook and a better liar. It must be true though. Do cook again, I promise it's worth it.

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  2. ang sweet sweet naman! kainis! haha

    things take time, patience and when the right time comes
    that is where the magic happens. ano daw... hahaha

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    1. Ahmer: It's so interesting that you would say that. There's this old song called When The Right One Comes Along that I kept hearing when we first started dating. The parts in this story that are based on my current really hearken to it. :p

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    2. yan kasi pumasok sa isip ko. when I read the 6th line =D

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    3. Ahmer: That's the part too! haha

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  3. mahilig din akong magluto (meron ako ng librong yan!) at napansin ko, ang lasa ng mga niluluto ko ay naaayon sa kalagayan ng emosyon ko. naniniwala ako na kapag nagluto ka nang may pagmamahal, magiging napakamalasa ng niluto mo. paniniwala yan partikular ng mga taga-bikol sa pagluluto nila ng laing. sa pagpipiga pa lang ng gata, kailangan may pagmamahal na. :)

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    1. Aris: Ang ganda nun! OMG it's so Like Water For Chocolate but without all the horniness. haha

      Matagal ko na ambition gumawa ng cookbook cum short story collection. Ang hirap lang humanap ng inspirasyon.

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  4. Lola ko nagturo saken magluto. Tas nagawi ako saglit sa pagbe bake. Tas tinamad na (mag bake, inde magluto.).

    Love that book. I even have this folder, sa FB, dedicated to my Lola and Tita (from LWFC). Nakapaloob sa folder na yon mga attempts sa pagluluto.

    And yes. Love. Wala na akong maiidagdag pa. Kummeron man, yung thrill nang pag aantay sa pag uwi niya (Dahel. LAHAT ay luto mo, ganyan.).

    Pasensya na ang gulo ko magsulat. Pero gets mo naman. Ang inet kasi sa earth.


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    1. YRAG: I have such a high respect for really good bakers - master bakers. lolz I think cooking is instinct, baking is compliance. Obviously, I'm not good at following rules.

      Post mo yung food stuff! Haha I would love to see your journeys.

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    2. ...cooking is instinct, baking is compliance.

      Correct, sir. Magkamali ka lang nang konti, iba na agad ang result.

      Post mo yung food stuff!

      Will try to, time permitting.

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  5. HAHAHA! I am not sure what to feel about the "ang mabango mag-gisa, magaling magsinungaling." I easily fall for people who can cook well, and now I feel like need to be cautious around those kind of people.

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    1. Kirby: Men who cook will be the death of me. Because kilig fades but gutom is forever. haha I finally just learned how to cook para di naman ako patapon forever. haha

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  6. Naisip ko diyo yung Lime Water for Chocolate pero mas malambing at hindi masyadong hayok sa seks. Tapos magiging part ngbpelikula na ididirehe ni Dan Villegas. Hahahaha!

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    1. OP: That was what I was going for in the blog kaso di ko makuha yung magic ni Ms. Esquivel. haha

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  7. Typo errors. Sorry. Hahaha. Phone gamit ko.

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