Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Odds and Ends

I found that I have been baking more often now, grabbing a couple of hours after work or in between writing assignments and photo shoots and court hearings. There is nothing like putting ingredients together and watching people devour what you have made, happily asking for more. Its almost as satisfying as hearing a "Not guilty" verdict.

Of course, there are failures too. The puto that was made with malagkit rice and not regular rice flour tasted like a cross between kutsinta and steamed coconut milk. The kids ate them anyway. Thankfully, they haven't developed gourmet tastes yet. Or that time I ended up misreading the label and using cornstarch instead of flour for my blitz torte. My son actually asked me to repeat that because he liked it so. He claims he likes the regular torte just as much, though. Maybe he's just saying that to make me feel better.

Then there are the web discoveries. Unlike our grandmothers' time when recipes were traded or learned painstakingly, the net has made sharing so much easier. Of course, every recipe you grab off the internet must first be tested, no different from when you try out the ones I post here. Lola also had to strive for authenticity. Thus, her dinugguan had to have very precise ingredients lest her guests think that she had taken too many liberties with the pork blood. Her tulingan had to be more Batangas than the Batanguenos, so she kept kamias trees in the backyard for that real fruity sour taste you can't get from vinegar.

We have it a bit easier in an era of globalization with certain foods acquiring a universal appeal and adjustable for local our household tastes. However, in general, I have found that recipes I discover on the web are pretty good except for slight adjustments for climate and temperature, bread dough rises faster in Manila, for instance than it would in San Fransisco.

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