I think that I failed to come up with words to say to you in person when I finally got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet you at the Dallas Museum of Art that cool evening of May 13th, 2014. I’d like to take the chance to say it in a letter as I think I do better communicating on paper than in person.
All I could do then was to hold you tight in the hope that my boundless appreciation and love for your work would be transmitted through a 5-second hug. Oh, and let’s forget about the pathetic question if you’ve had Filipino food in the past. I guessed that you would’ve had it, but I just couldn’t think of anything else to say.
As you signed my copy of “Delicious!” with your black Sharpie, I wished that all of my copies of your books: Garlic & Sapphires, Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, could magically appear, so that you could sign them all. Unfortunately, every single one of them was left behind in the Philippines. You see, I couldn’t bring them all with me to the US as I came here with only two suitcases of my dearest and most essential personal belongings, trailing my husband who found work here.
But then I guess one signed copy is better than none.
I remember that you mentioned in your lecture that you were the Cinderella from Conde Nast that turned back into a pumpkin when the magazine shut down. But you’re wrong, you’re no dowdy pumpkin. I’d like to think of you as the Fairy Godmother, who waves her wand onto the kitchen stove, the dinner plate and words. You make the act of cooking and eating a magical one.
You were right in saying that the act of writing is a magical experience. And that thought of yours translates to the page because your writing is indeed magical.
You actually inspired me to become a food writer. Though I’m no food writer now, I look to food writing as an inspiration in my writing, hanging on to every smell, color, texture and taste to give life to every experience I pen down. Thank you for writing.
I just finished “Delicious!” and I almost didn’t want the story to end. Like you, I had a problem letting go of the characters. But letting go means a new beginning and hopefully, you’d be starting a new story that I’d be much honored to read.