NOT MY BOWL OF RICE
This candid and heartwarming look at life (and food) in the Philippines, and the long journey to America, where life (and food) mark the days and years, whether in joy or grief, or just plain living (and eating).
A fast read, but an interesting one. Of all the cultures and mores in this melting pot we call America, perhaps the least understood is that of the Filipino. Even our own slang and expressions come to light in an interesting way-"not my cup of tea" translates, well, into the title of this softcover book of 192 pages.
This book was unusual in two ways. Firstly, the author is male but the story is told in first-person narrative of a female. And very realistically, I might add.
Secondly, while the story is fiction, set in the 1980s, the Filipino recipes which punctuate each chapter are real. Utilizing the typical mainstays of the Filipino diet-chicken, pork, eggs, bay leaves, raisins and, of course, rice!-each recipe is described with its traditional holiday or occasion of use. Like many cultures, food is the sustenance which sees us through good times and bad times, and provide the setting for family gatherings, the breaking of bread. From the refreshing "Halo Halo" ice and ice cream confection on a sweltering summer's day, and the Filipino version of the spring roll called "Lumpia" to the Filipino interpretation of meatloaf called "Embutido" and the decadent dessert "Sans Rival," a six-layer meringue crusted cashew cake, you will feel as if you've taken a giant step in meeting another culture head on!
Although I tried to entice my resident chef to "branch out"
and attempt a couple of these recipes so that I could share the epicurean
results here, he declined. Obviously, for my German-Hungarian husband,
this is precisely not his bowl