While I found myself in the spirit of Easter reflection, I stumbled upon the above bible verse. I was surprised (a very pleasant one at that) that God gave us the privilege to feast: eat and drink to reward ourselves after we work hard.
“Did you get to catch the Glee episode of the grilled Chee-sus (Cheese + Jesus) sandwich” my friend asked when put down my tray on our table. It was one of the episodes from when I was still quite a fan of the said TV series. So I answered an affirmative to her question. Of course, being Good Friday, her question made me think a lot about Jesus more than the grilled cheese sandwich, whose grilled stripe marks were befitting as it was a prisoner to my post-workout voracious appetite last night.
I realized that we, Filipinos, are so lucky that we get to enjoy so many holidays in a year. Aside from the long two-week Christmas and New Year’s holiday, most, if not all, employees enjoy a generous sprinkling of holidays spread across the year.
Today is the beginning of another anticipated holiday spell: Holy Week.
For us Catholics, today is a very special day. Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Lenten season, perhaps is the most important season in the biblical year, even more important than Christmas. Because today leads to Easter Sunday, Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the very cornerstone of our religion, which proves that Jesus is the Son of God.
A good friend’s mom just passed away yesterday. And death is always never easy with family as you are often caught off guard, during moments you do not expect it to happen. This ironically joyful and tragic incident (Joyful because we, Catholics, believe that she / he would rejoin The Creator, but at the same time, tragic because she / he would be leaving behind family and friends.) made me remember one of the most memorable food influences in my life: my grandmother or lola as we grandchildren called her.
Christmas can make you very happy (Imagine all those kids anticipating the tearing-up-the-gift-wrapper-like-a-madman moment) or can make you quite melancholy…This time around ’tis is not the season to be super jolly for me. On top of missing my family and friends back home, I will surely be missing all our food traditions (and many other Filipino Christmas traditions as Mikey Bustos narrates in the above video) on this season of eating…
One thing I’ve observed about the Filipino palette: we enjoy the combination of sweet and salty. I’ve developed the regular craving for a sweet and salty flavor combination because I grew up with a unique family recipe of a Filipino dish (as per research, another Spanish influenced dish. But being literal about the name, I guess it is more Cuban than Spanish?), the Arroz ala Cubana. When I was in Dubai, I asked my father for our family recipe since I wanted to replicate this and enjoy a spoonful (or more. as usual.) of home. But since The Husband and I ended up eating out a lot, I was not able to do so. Although, my family was thoughtful enough to save me a heaping bowl of Arroz ala Cubana when I arrived in Manila two weeks ago.
They say that as the end of the year approaches, one must purge themselves of the old to make space for the new. But there are some things old that I will hold on to as long as I live. Like the Noche Buena meal I’ve been eating for the past 29 years of my life…