Filipino Food Stuff and Memories

tag: a quick guide to filipino food and cooking, cris abiva

 After doing my groceries I’d usually dropped by National Bookstore. I’ll look for discounted books which they’d normally sell at very low prices to clear their shelves for new titles. This morning I found a few good titles and I bought some.

Surprising catch is this cook book, “A Quick Guide to Filipino Food and Cooking” by Cris Abiva. This inconspicuous book is a treasure throve of forgotten Filipino foodstuff.

It lists the following types of traditional Filipino jamon: jamon china, salty Chinese ham boiled in beer and pineapple, glazed with sugar; jamon de sierra, well-cured Spanish ham serve in small rectangles; jamon en dulce, cooked jamon en funda covered with sugar that’s carmelized to form a glaze; jamen en funda, ham wrapped in a cloth sack that looks like a pillow case and jamon Serrano, Spanish ham cured in mountain air during winter.

Today when ham comes to mind, we think of fiesta ham from Purefoods Corporation.

Other curious entries were the breads that once rolled out of our local panaderias: pan de agua, water-sealed bread shaped like a half-moon; pan de aragon, bread similar to small crusty French bread; pan de bonete, crusty reddish brown bread shaped like a bonnet; pan de caña, buns that are sliced then re baked making the edges curl like bamboo canes or caña; pan de coco, bund filled with sweetened grated coconut; pan de limon, plump bread with a smooth crust; pan de monja, nun’s bread, large and yellowish, it later became known as monay; pan de Navarro, a large loaf bread with a hard crust; pan de sal, literally “bread of salt”, small, oval buns that are crusty outside and fluffy inside; pan de suelo, pandesal baked on oven floor making the crust very hard and crisp; pan de San Nicolas, not a bread but a special biscuit…also called sanicula and made to celebrate the feast of San Nicolas Tolentino; pan de Vienna, round bun with a cross cut on top and pan gaseosa, a flat mushy bread used for emparedados, a kind of sandwich. Biscuits like jacobina and hojaldres are rare nowadays but ensaimadas and  empanada has taken new taste and forms.

What’s a book about Filipino food without citing the diversity of pancit we have. Pansit bihon, buko, canton, efuven, luglug, malabon, marilao, meycuayan, molo, palabok and sotanghon. And these are just some of the more popular variety — every province is known to have their own style when it comes to preparing pancit!

There were also old entries that the present generation have not seen, like the banggera, a wooden (most cases made of bamboo) window used for drying dishes. Comedor are now kitchen and dining area, another word we no longer use.

Here are some interesting items from the book:

Kinchamsay, dried banana flower used in paksiw na pata

Zarzuela de mariscos, stew of fish and seafood with olive oil, tonatoes and saffron and wine.

Tungkos, a bunch in local market language

Bunuelos, fried bread snacks

Pepitoria, chicken cooked with sauce of liver and gizzards

Chupa, a measure of rice equivalent to .375 kilos (that’s before the meaning was hijacked!)

Pescado en salsa agrio-dulce, fish in sweet and sour sauce

Pavo embuchado, stuffed turkey

Salchichas, white sausages

Machacao, old bread toasted to a crisp.

Cocido, boiled meat and veggies,

Cascaron, fishballs before meat balls on sticks

Cabeza de jabali, boars head, deboned. Spiced and marinated with wine, lemon, then stuffed with sausages, ham, pickles. Sliced and served cold.

And these are just samples of words we hardly hear, or probably will never hear, will never get to taste, in our time —

Just imagine how our abuelos prepared and enjoyed these wonderful, delectable creations. They’d be very proud of us if only we continued from where they left off.



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