July 29, 2006

dinner by Mom

Our most recent summer road trip took us back to my husband’s quaint hometown. It has almost been a year since we last visited. The few days we spent were just too short but we always have the best memories by spending quality time during our stay. This includes the many times we spent together watching the latest dvd’s or just simply talking and catching up on the latest. We value the many times we all sat together around my in-laws’ dining table during mealtime. And yes, we've had countless delicious meals together, past Christmas and Thanksgiving meals, aside from all the delicious breakfast and lunches.

our official roadtrip food - spam, cheese & egg sandwiches

Food is definitely one effective way of bringing people close together. It’s the same everywhere and anywhere, a universal thing. In the Philippines, the simplest gathering isn’t complete without food. Even everyday mid-day snacktime or “meriendas” as we call it, are made special as we share stories and ideas, talk and laugh with our love ones. I will always remember the many meals my mother lovingly cooked and served on the table for us, as well as the many times we, as a family, gathered and had those meals together. I became engrossed in cooking early on and never lost interest. Merienda or snacktime would get me inspired to try some simple new recipes for some variety. I would make apple cake, banana fritters or just something light. There are snack peddlers also, their daily presence around the villages are a common sight. They sell all kinds of local snack favorites from rice cakes to sweetened bananas in bamboo sticks, popularly called bananacue.

A gourmet dinner at a local restaurant owned by a French chef was a welcome treat during our brief stay but the special dinner by Mom was one of the mealtime highlights. She found a recipe from one of her favorite cookbooks for an herb encrusted pork tenderloin. The meat came out perfectly cooked, very tender, moist and flavorful. A combination of dried herbs were mixed with a little horseradish and some breadcrumbs and the tenderloin was rolled and fully coated with the mixture. Baked for almost an hour, the herb coating came out nicely browned and crisp. For the vegetable side dishes, she made some carrots cooked in a slightly sweetened broth, blanched asparagus, broiled new red potatoes and some simple blanched squash. We also had a huge bowl of mixed salad greens to complete the meal. A wonderful and lovely dinner made even more special when shared with family we’re so lucky to have.

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