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Philippine Food and Life

Philippine Food and Life

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This is the story of food and how people live in the countryside of Luzon. When talk zeroes in on food one has eaten and smelled, simmering in the old provincial kitchens, it unravels thread of memories — how people knew then what good food was, how nature was provident, how life was good.

Food is as accurate a measure of one's social position. Landlords ate rich, fattening foods and sauces and suffered from bursitis and heart disease. Peasants grew strong on lowly brown rice and the milk of coconuts planted on land they never hoped to own. It was the provinces with the earliest contact or collaboration with Spain, such as Bulakan, Pampanga and Cavite, that imbibed the art of European cooking best. It colonized the native palate. The foods are what we now call our heirloom recipes.

Much of the farm life that the informants remember is gone — the cycle of the agricultural season (miracle rice did it in), the pests they are (not pesticide-laden), the stone sugarcane crusher, the women in place in front of the stove, dreams dissolving in endless stews that was their lot to prepare. I thought these memories should be handed down since there are few ancestral houses left to go home to. Who knows? Some kids may never see a one-bamboo bridge or a makopa tree in bloom.

  • Author and Publisher: Gilda Cordero-Fernando and Manuel Baldemor, Anvil Publishing (1992)
  • Condition: Used, good condition / Paperback
  • Language: English

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