Sunday, August 24, 2008

TV shoots, Halo- Halo and Double Visions

What I am starting to observe in this blog is that it is no longer a 100% food blog as it should be- but more of a personal diary. I have been keeping diaries since I was twelve years old and I confess that the last one I had was a dilapidated Starbucks planner where I wrote April notes on the November pages. And that last diary has been flavored with scribbled notes on the perfect mashed potatoes, the perfect pesto, Jaime Oliver's perfect French side salad (is there really a 'perfect' recipe for anything?)... and daydreamings of a very handsome lover.
And better yet- this blogging - apart from talking, is an ultimate release of my thoughts of this cooking profession.
The past few weeks have been some of the most mobile days of my little existence. Used to the sweltering heat of the kitchen, my earlier cooking years were most quiet and nonchalant and, as a Food Huntress who ate chicken intestines in the vast wilderness, I believed that the television lights should be the last thing to ever glare at my face. It was only recently that by some strange phenomenon, I have been dragged around for TV interviews- whether to be asked about the secrets of the perfect sinigang and to be featured yet again about the secrets of the perfect barbecue. Wait, is there really a 'perfect' recipe for anything? So went my few minutes of Tee Vee. No, I didn't emanate the aura of a sexy Giada nor a smart Rachel, but more of a dumb hybrid of Beavis and Butthead doing America. Why, I am a cook, not a celebrity!
There is something about TV shoots that stirs my wonder, though, and which, as a matter of fact, I seem to enjoy. First, I did enjoy the magical hands of the makeup artist who turned a rat into an empress. Then there's this lights- camera- action thing, and where, at the slightest mistake of your move, the director would cringe silently at the corner. Hahaha. And then, at the diffused lights of the studio, I almost had this urge to play act - forgetting that I was in fact wearing a cook's jacket- and try on different poses, from that Iron Chef cross- armed- serious- look to a kitchen god's paramour, to imitating my sister's playful stares at a dessert restaurant.
In between tossing vegetables in a wok and thinking of something to write about, I realize that my philosophy for sanity these days has been likened to that of a favorite dessert- the halo- halo. There's no perfect recipe for halo- halo, I'm telling you. No standard measures either. A heterogeneous mix of beans, tapioca pearls, candied fruits, custard, milky ice... etc, you are actually free to put anything into it- boiled squash, if you like. Whatever makes you feel good, everything would end fairly in you gut. Next to a precious glass of water, it is the perfect panacea to boredom, heat, and double visions brought by the bright studio lights. You'll get that delicious high and at last, in spite of the director's instructions, you are free to speak. No scripts required.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shut up and eat!

My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you eat last night?
In the plants, in the pines where the sun don’t ever shine
I’d shiver with hunger the whole night through…..

When you’re a bachelorette middle child and your older sisters have ridden away with their knights in shining armor, how would you handle your fate taking charge of a little sister who’s got a tongue pierce, is an ex- skateboarder, a hard- liquor drinker, a college student forever and, having disappeared at night, would knock on your apartment door the following morning just in time when you’re up sweetly recalling dreams that you were flying over a poppy field and broken glass? You put on your robe and open the door and… just give thanks that she is alive. You figure out what power this little nag has got over you because she was the reason why two years ago you declined the invitation of your ex to shack in with him because you had said: ”I can’t leave my sister… like this.”

Is this little snip worth the tears when your lover didn’t come back?

Without saying a word, you bun your hair, heat water and start cooking. Before you knew it, you came up with the signature apartment breakfast: fried rice, gooey egg yolks, some beef and mushroom stew leftover from last night, and a vegetable dish- from a shiitake stir fry to a hopeless ratatouille without the courgettes. Never mind if there aren’t courgettes- you just have to have the breakfast veggies no matter what. Then thanks to the little pots of herbs at your verandah, you were able to make the dish more fragrant and tasty. Laid out on the table, you notice that your breakfast is not a toast and a cup of coffee but like a portion of some feast. Bring on some bread and butter, hot coffee or chocolate, and a whole slab of gigantic fruit like pineapple or papaya.

You sit down on the floor and eat. You remember, once over a McDonald’s breakfast, you and your old lover were discussing (arguing) breakfast. You innocently confessed that you actually have vegetables for breakfast at home. Boiled squash- on your rice. Spinach on your omelet. Stir- fried bean sprouts.

No wonder, why restaurants don’t serve your rabbit food for breakfast because, honey, they just don’t sell!

-Oh, shut up and eat.

Your sister starts telling you where she was last night. You tell her to… just shut up and eat. This is breakfast, darling, not confrontation time.

Somewhere during the day over coffee at the backdoor, you get your sister’s whole story where she had been last night. Down to the last detail. Apparently, you realize that you can give up your lover - but not breakfast veggies -whether it has a missing ingredient or not. And neither your sister, whether she’s got a tongue pierce, ex- skateboarder, a hard- liquor drinker, a college student forever… By choosing not to leave her, that choice actually saved you from a lot of trouble.