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Filipino Recipes – Testaments to Filipino Culture and Identity

The words “Filipino” and “food” go together–you cannot truly know the first without knowing the latter.   n a recent visit to the Philippines for his show No Reservations on the Travel and Living Channel, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain observed that Filipino cuisine is “the only one that has both Chinese and Mexican influences.” Aside from these two, Philippine cuisine derives its flavors from Spanish, Japanese, American, Indian, and Arabic cuisine. These flavors have crystallized into what is now distinctly Filipino food–a cuisine that is inspired by so many cultures, it has become unique–a delightful fusion all its own.

We Filipinos are very much a food-centric people, so to speak. Consider these:

 

  • We take at least five meals a day. Aside from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are the requisite snacks in between which we call merienda.
  • A wedding or baptismal is rarely just a family occasion, but a community gathering–from the cooking preparations to the actual reception itself.   During such occasions, particularly in the rural areas, every woman known to the family within a kilometer radius takes it upon herself to come down and help in the cooking. It goes without saying, of course, that they she and her family are welcome to partake of the feast that she helped prepare.
  • Each year, every town honors its patron saint in the form of a feast–an entire day in which every house welcomes and stuffs visiting relatives, friends, and friends of friends with food.  It is no matter if money is hard to come by. Filipinos will find a way to fill that table for the visitors come fiesta day, even if that means borrowing money and paying the interest long after the last chunk of caldereta or paella has been savored.
  • We consider it bad manners to welcome a visitor into a home without serving him food. Just as we consider it good manners to offer others the food on our plate should they come upon us in the middle of a meal.

 

To us Filipinos, food is more than sustenance.  Pinoy Teleserye It is an instrument for showing goodwill, fostering friendship, and strengthening families. It is no wonder that Filipinos consider Filipino recipes as more than a list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions.  Different provinces or communities might have different versions of a particular Filipino dish.  A family might have its own secret recipe for it. As such, a recipe often becomes a marker of identity–a testament to a family or people’s traditions–defining the Filipino’s attachment to family and community, telling stories of bonding and friendship.

We take at least five meals a day.  Aside from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are the requisite snacks in between which we call merienda.

A wedding or baptismal is rarely just a family occasion, but a community gathering–from the cooking preparations to the actual reception itself.   During such occasions, particularly in the rural areas, every woman known to the family within a kilometer radius takes it upon herself to come down and help in the cooking. It goes without saying, of course, that they she and her family are welcome to partake of the feast that she helped prepare.

Each year, every town honors its patron saint in the form of a feast–an entire day in which every house welcomes and stuffs visiting relatives, friends, and friends of friends with food.  It is no matter if money is hard to come by.  Filipinos will find a way to fill that table for the visitors come fiesta day, even if that means borrowing money and paying the interest long after the last chunk of caldereta or paella has been savored.

We consider it bad manners to welcome a visitor into a home without serving him food. Just as we consider it good manners to offer others the food on our plate should they come upon us in the middle of a meal.

To us Filipinos, food is more than sustenance.  It is an instrument for showing goodwill, fostering friendship, and strengthening families.

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