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Philippines: Reminisce with every dish

Spring 2013

This started as a compilation of recipes I personally cooked in my kitchen, and has evolved into a memoir over time. When I write a recipe or think of a dish, it reawakens childhood memories of growing up in the Philippines, especially some mischievous stories from my youth.

I explained origins of some of the food based on what I have personally learned, experienced, or heard. None of this is technically “textbook” accurate, but I’ll say it’s pretty close.

I learned to be creative while cooking due to the limited availability of some ingredients in The States, and I want to share what I’ve learned over the years with you. My goals in preparing evening meals for my family after work were variety and simplicity, meals that were easy to prepare and did not take too long to cook. Many were developed as shortcuts to save precious time in the evenings but focused on keeping the flavor for which they are so well-known.

More importantly, the improvisation and adaptation of many of the Filipino recipes in this book were developed for my American husband, my children who grew up here, their American spouses and/or partners and children, and of course, friends.

Some ingredients I use began as substitutes in experimentations because the original ingredients were not available or were hard to find. Since everybody liked particular dishes and requested them again and again, these substituted ingredients became an integral part of the recipes. I found that some American dishes, which are a conglomeration of different ethnic influences, are comparable in taste to some native Filipino dishes except for some ingredients or particular methods of cooking. So, I combined them into new dishes I can call my own concoctions.