1. Rice Balls – One of the ways my Lola (grandmother) used to entice us to eat is by rolling freshly cooked rice into bite-sized balls. These would be eaten as is or dipped into a variety of sauces which, depending on our fancy, had included salt, fish sauce, ketchup, and in my sister’s case, even sugar. Sometimes she would stuff them with edible surprises like fish flakes, pieces of cooked eggs, or chopped adobo.
2. Rice Water (?) – I wasn’t sure to call this one, let me describe it instead. Strangely, as a child I don’t remember associating food with my mom as much as I do with my Lola. Probably because Lola was always in the kitchen while Mom always depended on the househelp. I just don’t ever remember her cooking anything while we were in the Philippines. It wasn’t until we moved to the U.S. that I remember her cooking. Anyway, back to my lola and rice water.
My grandparents were farmers and their days always started very early. One of my most vivid memories when visiting them was getting up early while it is still dark and finding them, my grandparents, in the kitchen drinking coffee from enameled tin cups, speaking quietly to each other. I could just imagine what they talked about that early in the morning. Whenever I intruded into this quiet moment, my grandmother would fix a warm drink to break my fast. Kid coffee, my youngest daughter would call it now; that’s what she calls the hot cocoa I fix for her some mornings. My “kid coffee” concocted by Lola is the excess boiling water skimmed from the rice simmering over the wood-fired stove. To this she would add a teaspoonfull of sugar and canned evaporated milk. I always felt special and grown up sitting with them with my very own tin cup and being warmed by the fire from the stove.
3. Cheez Curls, Curly Tops, Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Juice in Fruit Shaped Containers –
Growing up in Baguio, one of my earlest shopping experiences were at the Sunshine Bakery and Grocery Store. It was only a couple of blocks from where we lived and was one of the few places we could walk to on our own (those were different times – kids were still safe walking to the corner store on their own) to spend our allowance. For a few cents we could get any number of treats, but my favorites were always chez curls, curly tops, and chocolate covered pretzels. The juices in fruit shaped containers always amused me too.
4. Street Food – Growing up in Baguio was most memorable for me and street food was an integral part of those memories as it is a huge part of Filipino Culture. Some of the foods I remember are the various Qs: BBQ, bananaQ, and kamoteQ; the green mangoes, sinkamas, santol; the peanuts: boiled, garlic roasted, candied. The list goes on and on. Read about my street food memories here.
5. McDonald’s and School Cafeteria Food – I was twelve when I tasted my first Big Mac. Back then, it really was a BIG Mac. I only managed to eat half the burger before I deemed myself too full for another bite. To my uninitiated palate, that Big Mac and fries were the best! What did I know.
Starting school in a new country as a seventh grader was foreign to me and I to it. It wasn’t easy, but one of the highlights for me was the cafeteria food. Maybe the caliber of cafeteria food was better back then, but I doubt it. I think it was just my under-exposed taste buds, used to tasting mangoes, papayas, dried salted fish and fresh vegetables, suddenly assaulted by pizzas, burritos, burgers, canned peaches, coffee cakes, and push-up (ice cream) bars. Yeah, well what did I know 😉
More memes coming here and Jade-n-Mom as I catch up on all the tags 🙂