summer’s melting like ice cream

August 31, 2006 at 5:43 am (mirepoix)

berry rainbow + water = yummy shake


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slow food movement

August 24, 2006 at 5:01 am (mirepoix)

another book on the shelf

slow food: philippine culinary traditions

erlinda enriquez panillo, felice prudente sta. maria (editors)

anvil press, 2005.


Living the slow life with food as the focus is as rewarding as it is easy, and it can be done daily by each one of us. Living the slow life can also be done with others, because part of the pleasure of slow food and the Slow Food movement is in sharing, which is why the convivia are so compelling. What could be more fun than sharing a passion for good food and wine with other people who feel the same way? Some convivia have only a dozen or so members, while others may have 60 or more, yet each convivium has its individual character and interests. A convivium can be started by simply calling a few friends who enthuse as much about food as you do, and saying, “I’ve got a great idea.” Once you’ve gotten together, the ideas about what can be done will flow. Invite a local farmer to come and give a talk, or arrange a visit to a farm or orchard. Ask someone’s grandmother to show how she makes hominy grits, orange marmalade, or tamales. The resources in all our communities are endless, especially when we look at all the different backgrounds that make up our wonderfully diverse country. The Slow Food USA National Office will be pleased to help you with your convivium application. Slow Food is also simply about taking the time to slow down and to enjoy life with family and friends. Everyday can be enriched by doing something slow – making pasta from scratch one night, seductively squeezing your own orange juice from the fresh fruit, lingering over a glass of wine and a slice of cheese – even deciding to eat lunch sitting down instead of standing up.

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chew on this

August 24, 2006 at 4:55 am (mirepoix)

“What one puts into the mouth is the end result of a process that starts with the sea, the soil, animal life. In the act of cooking, we make statements about ourselves — and about our understanding of relationships between ingredients; about our perception of taste and appropriateness. In the act of eating, we ingest environment, but we do not stop at that, for we Filipinos make eating the occasion for ritual — and ritual the occasion for eating. We build ceremony around it; we create celebration. To quote Eddy in our book Sarap: “We do not simply ingest our environment. We dance to it, dance with it, sing to it, caress it; we are in awe of it, and respectful towards it. Eating is not just ingestion. Eating is the occasion for the rites and rituals of our lives. Eating is praxis in social amenities. Eating is language that speaks to the nuances of what we are.

Eating is making alive the various and variegated conjugations of our lives.”

– Doreen G. Fernandez, Tikim.

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tikim: essays on philippine food and culture

August 23, 2006 at 5:04 am (mirepoix)

checked out this book at the milpitas library, a book i tried to find at the bookstores in manila but failed miserably to do so. 

tikim: essays on philippine food and culture

by doreen g. fernandez 

anvil press, 1994.

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August 23, 2006 at 5:01 am (mirepoix)

amazing weekend in napa with my friends from san diego. we took a last minute trip to wine country and had a great time at the copia center and st. supery vineyard. bought three bottles of wine from st. supery and a bunch of goodies from dean and deluca.

 gotta get on the details soon…  

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daisy dream

August 22, 2006 at 7:12 am (mirepoix)

here are few pics of the cupcakes and gum paste daisies i made for my cousin’s debut a few weeks back. thank you to my entire family for helping me to assemble the lil devils. go teamwork! for any cake or cupcake needs, call me! i also have tons of leftover chocolate cake dry mix so if anyone is interested, let me know as well.

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pan de sal (bread of salt)

August 16, 2006 at 6:18 am (mirepoix)

olongapo, july 2006. 

typical pinay breakfast: 

fresh sliced sweet pineapple, koppi coffee bun, raisin bread, sinangag and corned beef, fried fish, sweet pork tocino… 

there was so much good food, though the only breakfast i ever craved while in the philippines was freshly baked pan de sal (pandesal) cracked open with butter melting in the center. on my last morning there, i had just this with a hot cup of milo with a little sugar stirred in.  

oh, and philippine mango that literally melts in your mouth.

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uji-kintoki milk kitkat

August 15, 2006 at 1:14 am (mirepoix)

on my layover at narita airport, japan i picked up a bag of these candies from the sundry store. i cannot read any japanese so based on the picture on the bag, i figured it had something to do with green tea and azuki (red bean). i waited till i was home and shared the first bar with mom, who loves this kind of stuff. 

 at first taste, my brother told me it tasted sorta like rabbit food. i stuck it in the fridge overnight and on his second helping, he said it was pretty yummy.  

apparently, there are about a hundred varieties of kitkats all over the world and japan seems to have the most varieties spring up on it’s ground. so far, i’ve tried the passion fruit, matcha and now uji-kintoki milk. i remembered that the passion fruit was pretty good, not too sweet and tangy passion fruit flabor. it was a limited edition valentine’s day version created by le patissier takagi, a pastry chef in japan. i think it’s cool a chef is peddling kitkats. the matcha was good as well, though i love anything green tea (except for the matcha frappuccino at starbucks… icck! i had one at the narita airport and it tasted much better.) there was another variety at the airport: fruit parfait. supposedly, it had freeze dried fruit bits in it with a strawberry striped white chocolate. i think i missed out…

check out the scoop on the share-able candy….

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food for soul

August 13, 2006 at 6:05 am (mirepoix)

– fire cooked lunch after a 5 mile hike through the pamulaklakin forest trail/binicticlan drive in olongapo.

fish, bamboo steamed rice, sinigang manok, fresh buko juice, sinigang broth


Doreen, The Revolutionary

We knew Doreen Fernandez as a respected and multi-awarded teacher, prolific writer, author and editor of many books, historian, journalist, literary critic and sought-after lecturer on food, theater and Philippine culture. But the gracious and ever-smiling Doreen as a radical and closet revolutionary? A supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF)?


We all knew Doreen Fernandez, the food critic. Her weekly column in the Inquirer served as an infallible guide for many of us looking for a good place to dine.

We also knew Doreen, the respected and multi-awarded teacher, prolific writer, author and editor of many books, historian, journalist, literary critic and sought-after lecturer on food, theater and Philippine culture.

But the gracious and ever-smiling Doreen as a radical and closet revolutionary? A supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF)?

Well, why not?

Doreen Gamboa-Fernandez died of pneumonia last June 25 while vacationing in New York. She was 67. Her death came as a shock to many at home, especially her friends, students and fellow writers whom she had inspired and supported through the years.

Last Tuesday, it was the turn of Doreen’s “comrades” to give her a tribute.

Organized by the University of the Philippines Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), the “Luksang Parangal” was held at the UP Faculty Center in Diliman and was attended by a hundred and so activists, professors, cultural workers, artists and writers.

UP Prof. Edru Abraham, who emceed that evening’s affair, opened the program by noting that many write-ups on Doreen failed to mention her activism. Thus, that night’s task of bringing to light this significant part of her life.

The entire evening was filled with the militant and nationalist music and rhetoric commonly associated with the Left, punctuated from time to time by Doreen’s words herself, written by her and read by one of the performers.

Describing her transformation from housewife and teacher to activist, she had this to say: “I came to the Ateneo in the ’70s a housewife — the kind who went to Inner Wheel Club meetings. The activists wondered what I was doing there — was I serious? I did receive some criticism for not being politicized at that time. I joined a few discussion groups, though it was mainly to learn since I was so ignorant. There were some friends who said, How can you sit there and do the burgis (elitist) things you do? So I said to them, Teach me. And they did.”

Martial law did not stop Doreen from pursuing her newfound activism. She involved herself in theater and founded the theater group Babaylan which dared to stage plays critical of the Marcos dictatorship.

She was also instrumental in organizing the Cultural Research Association of the Philippines which advocated studies on nationalist culture. Both organizations dared to challenge the repressive culture imposed by the fascist regime.

Again, in Doreen’s own words: “That was the time of political theater — our political theater was very advanced. Theater was a fighting weapon: you could say things in theater that you couldn’t in a novel.”

Even Doreen’s articles on food bore the stamp of her patriotism. She often wrote about food consumed by the common tao (person) — the worker, the peasant, the fisherman. She introduced her readers to their tastes and, in so doing, introduced them to values and ways of life of the ordinary Pinoy (Filipino).

“(W)ith politicalization came the idea that food doesn’t have to be the way it is in the best restaurants of Europe. One should put food in the context of the culture,” she once wrote.

Thus, Doreen wrote not only about food, but about the distinctly Filipino in food. She treated the subject with apt reverence. “Food punctuates Philippine life, is a touchstone to memory, a measure of relationships with nature and neighbors, and with the world,” she wrote in a yet unpublished essay.

Doreen herself loved to cook. Among those who enjoyed her cooking were members of the NDF and other underground personalities who frequented her house during those dangerous years till the late ’80s.

In a letter read during last Tuesday’s tribute, NDF’s Mela Castillo Zumel remembers Doreen as a warm and gentle lady comrade who welcomed to her home those who resisted the fascist terror. Among her most frequent visitors was then CPP secretary general Rafael Baylosis, who shared with the audience his group’s delight as Doreen always served them a minimum of five delicious viands per meal.

In one of the most poignant parts of the program, Mr. Baylosis narrated how touched he was when, during one of his clandestine visits to the Gamboa residence, Doreen asked his permission to clean his fresh bullet wound sustained in an encounter with government soldiers.

Doreen valued and nurtured her relationship with the revolutionary movement, taking on special tasks in the resistance movement against the Marcos dictatorship and helping out till the late ’90s.

She even took such small tasks as inputting into the computer Jose Maria Sison’s ten lectures delivered at the UP Asian Center from April to May 1986.

In 1999, Doreen helped prepare the menu for the NDF’s 25th anniversary celebration which was timed with the return to the Philippines of NDF leaders Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma. She wanted to be sure the food served was in keeping with the nationalist and democratic aspirations of the revolutionary movement.

In a message read during the tribute, Coni Ledesma remembered spending an afternoon with Doreen last January, where she expressed keen interest in the NDF’s work, especially among overseas Filipinos. A few weeks before her death, she sent Coni several of her books on Philippine food and culture to help in the work among Filipino compatriots abroad.

Doreen was well respected as an intellectual, patriot and kind comrade by the progressive people’s movement. She was a sterling example of a transformed burgis, with her quiet but strong conviction for a Filipino culture that is at once democratic and liberative.

Her gentle presence will be sorely missed.

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