Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mangan Tamu

Our province is known for it's tocino, sisig, halo-halo, Cabalen Restaurent, h-less dialect and Lito Lapid. When I tell people that I am a Kapampangan, there are only a few things that are usually asked.

No. 1. Are you related to the President. (No. Thank God for that.)
No. 2. Where in Pampanga? (It's capital.)No. 3. Do you know how to cook. (Yes.)

Nasi. Some kids learn karate or swimming during summer. But in the case of my sister and I, we learned to cook during summers in my Lola's place. The first thing that we learned to cook is rice or nasi in Kapampangan. Which they call the same thing in Bahasa Malay and Indonesia. For starters, my sister and I will cook rice UNTIL we get it right. Regardless of how many 'gantas' we burned or drown with water, we have to do it until it is perfectly right. Take note, we were never allowed to use rice cooker. We cook it in our old 'kalderos' where we have to estimate the amount of water by using the interphalangeal creases of our fingers.

Asan. Our training in cooking of viands/ulam (asan in Kapampangan) started with frying. I remember dreading this. I feel like the hot cooking oil can smell my fear and will chase me to death. I suffered several minute 2nd degree burn from my first few att
empts of frying eggs. Just enough to teach me to keep away or be brave.Non-stick pans were not invented yet then. If they were, they haven't reach our barrio yet. So my Lola has a few tips to ensure that a fried fried won't stick in the pan.

  • Pre heat the kawali before putting the cooking oil.
  • Heat the cooking oil but not to the point it smokes and smells like soap. Then put whatever it is you need to fry.
It may have started with frying, but it didn't finish there. My passion for cooking continued and I have my family to be thankful for. Every time I cook my killer spaghetti or wrap my 'healthy' siomai, I remember that I leaned all these because I was trained early.Tradition. The Kapampangan's fame for cooking or coming up with amazing food doesn't only root from the well measured ingredients or secret spices that we put into our cuisine. I don't remember my Lola or Tita measuring anything at all when cooking or looking at printed out recipes. In fact, they laugh at me when I freak out whenever I can't find my measuring cups.

It all boils down to a tradition where food is usually associated with family. Cooking is a family affair as much as eating. Food is something that serves as a glue to most of us. Food is not just something that we biologically need. It has become a social event for most of us.

Mangan tamu. Let's eat. When we hear this, we all know it's time for a break. To stop what we are doing. May it be as trivial as a PC game or TV show or something as major as a fight or emergency call. Everything stops when we are all invited to eat. No, not because we always hungry for food. But we are hungry for the family bonding that comes with the food in the table.

We sit, eat and talk. We are all equals in the dining table. We are one family.


This is a contribution to The Blog Rounds 11th ed being hosted by J.A.


J.A. said...

Hi! TBR 11 is up here:
Thanks for joining!

rey said...

hey, i've enjoyed reading some of your entries...stumbled upon your blog while surfing...kapampangan atsaka doktor kurin...nice, i should start my own blog too, too lazy i guess...ciao!