Tangled Noodle thoughtfully rebuts the insults hurled at Filipino food that appear in the comments section of SFGate’s recent feature on Filipino food. Check out her recipe for Lumpiang Sariwa (i.e., fresh spring rolls) at the end, an excellent example to counter the bland, brown, and deep-fried stereotype.
To the Man Who Taught Me to Love Food, Happy Father’s Day.
It should come as no surprise that food played a huge role in my family life and continues to this day. My mom was the primary cook when I was a kid, catering to a family with diverse preferences (my dad always wanted some kind of seafood, my mom doesn’t really like fish, my brother only wanted to eat “American food” or pizza, and I ate everything). True to the restaurant business that runs in her blood (she grew up in her parents’ Chinese restaurant in the Philippines and several siblings are in the biz too), she ran a one-woman show in our kitchen for many years.
My mom may have taught me how to cook, but my dad - he taught me how to eat. The surest way I knew how to make my dad proud was to eat all the crazy Filipino food that he offered to me. Stinky, fermented rice and fish. Bile soup with intestines. Blood soup. Every kind of fish and seafood he could get his hands on (especially eel, my dad is obsessed with eel). Thanks to my dad, I fear eating absolutely nothing, and I love to eat almost everything.
It would be disingenuous for me not to acknowledge that my dad and I have had a complicated relationship throughout the years. But when it comes down to it, I love him dearly, and I know that he loves me even though he hasn’t always shown it in ways that were apparent to me. In recent years, he has taken much more to cooking and, now, finally he has a way to show his love in a way that I understand. Despite all our disagreements, the complicated history - when my dad and I come together around food, we are on common ground. And we both know that the meal is about more than just the food, but the unspoken love that it represents.