Tuesday

Thinking of home sweet home and food!

The sound of cicadas reminds me so much of the scorching heat in the Philippines. The humming chorus of the cicadas was such a background noise as we live in the wood.
Growing up in a very small village in a remote area in the Philippines provided me with a lot of experiences that a person who grew up the bigger towns and cities might never get to experience unless of course if they happen to visit the far flung places.

The very first thing that I remember when I was a kid was those times we had to fetch water from man made stone wells. It may not even be called wells because they are certain kinds of stones where water is sipping through. and when they make holes on them, the water would get collected on the holes and we would get water using tubs to transfer water from these holes to the water containers. In some areas people would make man made pipes made from bamboos with the nodes removed so that water can flow freely. Since there were just a very few number of people, the entire village would share two or three areas of water source. I remember that as a kid, we would sometimes go as a group like it's a group game of hide and seek or a race, who gets to get their plastic gallons full first. And on our way back home we would catch dragonflies. At that time, well, that was almost twenty plus years ago, there's not much invention, so we use whatever we could find around. We would collect the sap from jackfruit tree to catch dragonflies. It is that sticky thing that they use to make bubble gums. We would wound it on a long stick and then use it as an extention as not to disturb the dragonflies. We would also catch butterflies as the place has a bundant butterflies. But nowadays, I noticed that a lot of these wild life are fewer in number compared to when we were young kids due to the cutting down of forests and woods for the purpose of farming.

A lot of these memories were triggered when I was sitting by our patio listening to the sound of cicadas and watching the birds just hop around from trunk to the branches. Makes me feel so close to nature. And then there are the squirrels playing around catching each other's tails. Their nails must be that sharp that they can just go up and down the trees and can even position themselves up side down.

I remember too that we would go to the woods and we would always find fruit trees. We used to go look for passion fruits, star fruits and even palm hearts. Real fresh palm hearts. Bananas, all types of bananas, and even banana hearts for dinner. I remember that we would invade our grandparents yards full of fruit trees such as jackfruits, star apple, pineapples, mangoes, guyabano. And at the back of my granparent's house they have this bamboo tree that is always abundant with bamboo shoots. The edible bamboo shoots. And just a few yards is a pond full of watercress and "gabi" or taro. Also "kangkong", swamp cabbage or water spinach. All these three do best in ponds or swamp. The pomelo tree they have withstand the strong typhoons that they had last year and is always abundant with fruits. It was already there eversince I was a kid. And it's still bearing fruits.

I had such glee when I was back at my parent's place. Just outside the portch by the yard is a mango tree and it has fruits. Although some of the branches have been blown away by the storm, there was a branch that had fruits. I just went out there and picked some fruits.And just by the side of the house are pineapples. A whole bunch of pineapples, almost ripe and ready. My mom, picked two ripe ones for me to bring to my sister's place. There is also a coconut tree right by our yard and some citrus trees. As my dad have been doing some kind of marcotting calamansi with some Australian citrus. These citrus fruits are actually being sold along the Nueva Vizcaya area, in fruit stands and in the market. Of course there are some trees surrounding the house. I guess, that's why I love Georgia because it has a lot of trees and vegetation which reminds me so much of home. It was such an adjustment for me not being able to avail of real fresh fruits and vegetables. I have noticed the difference of taste between foods from back home and what they have here in the US. During my last trip, the fruits and vegetables tasted so much better. Probably they are more organic and freshly picked compared to what they have here that has been refrigerated and/or frozen. Even the meats tasted so much better over there. I don't know if my taste buds are tricking me.I had a craving for Pinoy foods the few days I was back. I craved for freshly picked fruits and vegetables and seafoods. We had to rush to the Filipino store. But i was disappointed, it didn't taste the same. I got frozen tinapa. I loved tinapa when I was there in P.I., with freshly sliced tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt. But of course the frozen one has lost some of it's taste. It was almost bland.Haaaaaaaay!

I actually passed by a place in San Fernando La Union, where they make they manufacture Virgin Coconut Oil. Had I known about this product, I would have bought some when I was there. I am using a certain Indian coconut oil with some other herbs and lemon on my hair. It smells good. I put on my scalp for overnight and then wash it off in the morning. Coconut oil is suppose to have a lot of use. And now the Virgin coconut oil can be used to cook. I have been trying to use olive oil for a while now. It's suppose to be healthier. I do go for corn oil, canola and vegetable oil.I would usually use them alternately. I do sometimes use butter/margarine, it is good when frying up chicken breasts with garlic. The smell is very aromatic.

As a seafood lover I always eat fish and lately, I have been hooked to tilapia and salmon. Salmon has good essential oils good for the skin. Tilapia, I would deep fry it sometimes, bake or broil it. And of course I love crablegs. J would buy my two pounds of them. I just don't like the salt content. So, I avoid it sometimes. Shrimp too are among my favorites.

I have "bangus" or milkfish in the fridge, together with some bitter gourd and eggplant and kangkong. I would probably make rellenong bangus or whatever recipe I could find. Atleast that way I get to get in touch with my pinoyness aside from eating hopia ube and ampalaya and ensaymada.

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