THE signs of Christmas are coming closer and closer; stronger and stronger.
People are bent on celebrating Christmas with food. As we all race each other to the finish line, which is the cash lane, let me share with you some of the new things I came up with. I created new meaning to the Christmas food we eat. Do I get an approving applause? Can you please clap your hands? Hello, people, are you there?
RICE CAKES. Sticky food made with rice and other delicacies are often served during the Christmas meal. Some cultures offer sticky rice cakes to the kitchen god to keep his mouth shut. In principle, the sticky rice will stop him from gossiping about your bad behavior.
HAM. I learned that Iberico hams are salted away for a year or more! The flavor becomes intense. I think hams represent preservation of Filipino traditions and values. When you eat the salted meat, think of all the good values and traditions we have as a people: inviting people to dinner even when they visit unannounced; keeping family ties close, and more.
FRUIT SALAD. Sweet and cold. Colorful and tasty. I wonder if there’s anybody who hates fruit salad. I believe this dessert represents the diversity of the Filipino people. We are a mixed race, whether we admit it or not. And that makes us a wonderful nation. Part of our character is sweetness of spirit and the ability to just stay chill when trouble strikes.
NOODLES. A very popular Christmas fare—there are other pasta dishes but the most commonly served is spaghetti. It’s easy to prepare and can feed 30 people. One neighbor makes her spaghetti with just two kilos of the noodle, four packs tomato sauce and one-half kilo hotdogs.
Noodles represent the Filipino’s ability to extend what little he has. He makes do with flying colors. His economy of resources is admirable.
CHICKEN. Roasted chicken is the go-to food for those who can’t think of anything else to serve during Christmas. Some people don’t serve chicken during New Year’s because it is said to represent difficulty in finances or kakha tuka (lit. scratch the ground and eat what you find).
On the contrary, chicken represents the perseverance and industriousness of the Filipino.
LECHON. The “rolling pig” is almost always never absent in any celebration. Lechon is a crispy and tasty pig roasted on the pit. How does this famous pig represent the Filipino? Cooking lechon is a community effort. From the pig raiser to the butcher and the two men roasting the pig over hot coals, this great food needs cooperation.
Ah, I have to go. I have a meeting and I must be a lechon, I mean, cooperative. I don’t want to be late.