Saturday, October 15, 2011

Be our guest

Filipino hospitality is not only a tourism catchword, but a reality. Practices like communal eating means that strangers who happen on any person at mealtime automatically gets invited to eat. And guests are always treated to the best any household can offer. 

When I was young, I heard that in remote areas, one would proudly be served with canned food such as tuna or sardines. The members of the household would serve this delicacy to the guest because it is expensive and considered a rare specialty. Much later, I have discovered that this practice is still true. I had occasion to watch in envy as members of the household "made do" with a freshly killed native chicken stewed in tamarind leaves while I was honored with sardines -- a whole can all just for me. 

The practice of treating travelers or guests with honor goes back to biblical times. Severe punishment would be meted to those who take advantage of a person who is not in his home town. In the middle ages, those who waylaid and robbed the traveler was called a highway man, the precursor perhaps of the expression now of highway robbery. Later they were called brigands and the crime, brigandage. The Philippine Revised Penal Code states:

Art. 306. Who are brigands; Penalty. — When more than three armed persons form a band of robbers for the purpose of committing robbery in the highway, or kidnapping persons for the purpose of extortion or to obtain ransom or for any other purpose to be attained by means of force and violence, they shall be deemed highway robbers or brigands.

Art. 307. Aiding and abetting a band of brigands. — Any person knowingly and in any manner aiding, abetting or protecting a band of brigands as described in the next preceding article, or giving them information of the movements of the police or other peace officers of the Government (or of the forces of the United States Army), when the latter are acting in aid of the Government, or acquiring or receiving the property taken by such brigands shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium period to prision mayor in its minimum period.
It shall be presumed that the person performing any of the acts provided in this article has performed them knowingly, unless the contrary is proven.

At any rate, canned goods being the epitome of gustatory delights for those in the mountains, in my visits there, I have taken to giving these as gifts, wonderfully wrapped in cellophane and sitting serenely in baskets. In my next visit I plan to bring the ingredients and cook pork and beans for them. Fortunately, I found this recipe online. It tastes great. 


 Ingredients :
 1 lb. dried pea or marrow beans
 6 c. water
 1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed dried hot
    peppers or dash of cayenne pepper
 Onion, sliced
 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
 1 bay leaf, crumbled
 1 lb. lean salt pork, in 1 piece
 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
 1/4 c. catsup
 1/4 c. molasses
 1 tsp. dry mustard
 1 tsp. salt
 1/8 tsp. black pepper
 1/4 c. minced onion
 1/4 c. brown sugar

 Preparation :
1.  Pick over and wash beans.  Put in large kettle and add water.  Bring to
 boiling.  Boil hard for 2 minutes.  Let stand covered 1 hour on

2.  Add hot pepper, onion, garlic, bay leaf and pork.  

3. Bring to boiling again.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until
 tender but not mushy.  Drain, reserving liquid.  Skim off fat.  

4.To 1 cup liquid, add Worcestershire sauce, catsup, molasses,
 mustard, salt, black pepper and minced onion, mixing well.  

5.  Put beans in 2 quart shallow baking dish.  Pour in the 1 cup liquid and
 seasoning mixture.  

6.  Remove any rind on pork.  Cut in to 8 or more slices.  Arrange on top of beans.  
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
7.  Bake uncovered at 400 degrees about 1 1/4 hours, adding more
 liquid if necessary, until pork and beans are glazed and nicely