The boyfriend arrived in the Philippines last month while I was still on a two-week vacation in Malaysia, so during my last week there, I wanted to re-schedule my flight to an earlier date, but since it would be more expensive, I chose to wait instead and enjoy Kuala Lumpur’s gastronomic treats and sights.
Starting second week of May, Mike and I did the things we like doing together–watching cinema, going on weekend trips, hanging out with our families. But perhaps our favorite of them all is the quiet everyday ritual of eating.
I call it ritual because Mike likes to pray as a thanksgiving everytime we eat. And since I don’t usually pray, I’d watch him close his eyes and say thanks; sometimes though, I murmur a prayer, too, to the Universe or to Mother Earth for letting us taste its wonders; sometimes, I say a quiet prayer that people around the world be able to eat good food, too. That sounds Mother Teresa-ish, but I couldn’t help thinking of food scarcity in Asia and Africa since I eat news of hunger and famine every morning at work.
It’s quite bothering that while I can eat anything I fancy, people in North Korea are dying because food supplies are limited due to global sanctions to its government that has nuclear ambitions; also, while I see and hear news of development programs and billion dollar donations to Africa, every morning would always greet me with news of hunger and food insecurity in this continent; here in the Philippines alone, thousands of our countrymen eat instant noodles and rice flavored with soysauce and fish sauce (no viands) because of the Philippines’ high poverty rate.
So these are some of the things that my mind entertains sometimes, whenever I join Mike in his prayer before meals.
Now, the meals. When we’re not eating out, Mike prepares them all the time. And I thank heavens for a guy who can cook.
Our food cravings are simple. Pasta can complete my day. Rice (lots of rice) makes Mike happy. We love fruits and vegetables, and fish (kilawing cream dory is love). Lemons and olives make cheap and simple meals special.
Mike says he used to buy a bag of olives abroad because it’s cheap there and that he would munch on them for snacks. Lemons, I hope they’re as cheap as calamansi so we can squeeze them on all the meat we grill or slice them open just to smell them.
When we’re in Los Banos, we don’t fry–not because we’re health conscious, but because we lack kitchen utensils to fry! So it’s always boiling, grilling, and steaming.
One time, I was craving for sushi, so after work, we went to the supermarket to buy japonica (Jap rice best for sushi making), salmon, sushi mat, seaweed wraps, ripe mangoes, cucumber, and soy sauce (we forgot wasabi).
While he was boiling rice and cutting fish, I was watching How I Met Your Mother as I catch up with pop culture and drain work-related problems.
By the time he’s done rolling the sushi mat, I have forgotten all my worries when I saw what he prepared.
Isn’t it amazing how you can turn simple ingredients into something grand? When we cook pasta, sometimes we’d just put a can of tuna or sardines, sprinkle it with cheese and olives and we’re good.
For the past three weeks, when we’re not hibernating, we eat and drink with my friends in Laguna (breakfast with Connet and Ryan, late night drinks with Gizh, K, and N, dinner with K & N again, together with Tin Tams and her husband when they arrived from France, and merienda cena with Janet when her hubby Mark cooked for us).
These are the things we are going to miss when we leave elbi soon, but our friends are everywhere and they travel everywhere, too, so we’re looking forward to dining with you wherever!