Being of Irish descent, and remembering my Grandparents telling me of the Great Potato Famine of their youth, and of their migration to America. I’ll freely confess that in my life Potatoes have been a mainstay in my diet. I won’t list the many and varied ways that potatoes can be cooked or prepared as Mr. Martin likes our articles to be 500 words or more but also not novels, and the list would exceed that of War and Peace. During the story I’ll mention a few, but not all as I’m sure I’d miss too many. But quickly I’ll bring up Twice Baked Potatoes and wonder why anyone would do that? I guess it’s like re-fried beans, that weren’t cooked properly the first time.
Now to the meat of the subject, or I guess starches if you want to call it that. As I said above I like potatoes in most of its forms. But please don’t serve it to me with every meal; the sheer repartition would put me off them for life. Once in a while I like Kanin, but again not three times a day until I can’t stand to look at it. Mix it up.
At Casa Mayang there burns; the “Eternal Flame”, that little red light on the rice cooker glows 24X7 365 days a year. And I wouldn’t attempt in my wildest dreams to extinguish it. My family loves it and that is good enough for me. The other day I made a meatloaf with gravy, mashed potatoes and Green Beans with bacon grease. The family all ate some including the potatoes yet each also had rice with their meal and liked it. When I eat a Filipino meal, I eat it with rice and have never asked for potatoes to go with it. But then there is no “Eternal Flame” that accompanies potatoes.
Now for another situation that comes up quite often, If I attended a function or party, and note there are no Hamburgers or Hot Dogs served, I gladly eat what is presented and enjoy it. But that hamburger is still in the back of my mind.
Fifteen years ago we drove to a tiny village (I think the name was “Wide Spot in the Road”) out towards Eba the Capital of Zambales. We were there for a wedding and arrived on Friday and stayed until late Sunday afternoon, pure Filipino style, sleeping on the floor with twenty five other guests and me wishing there was a Motel “6” close by with the light on.
We were fed Pancit and rice for every meal for three days, except for the wedding reception had other foods and pancit, but that was on Saturday afternoon, but Saturday night? Back to pancit and rice again. Now I’m not complaining (Maybe a little) as I understood the family was on a budget and still had to feed the multitudes with a few loafs of bread and a few fish. So I kept my Kano mouth shut and smiled and said thank you for the bounty I was about to receive.
Sunday morning with a pounding head, (Yes I helped the family by buying a case of Emparaflu and many cases of Red Horse. for the never ending party). But when my bride of a few years asked if I was hungry for breakfast, I answered; “By all that is Holy, you’ll never understand just how hungry your husband is.” So grab the two girls and head to the car, off through endless rice paddies until we hit the ultra small town of Tooley Junction the next town up from Podunk. (I can’t remember its real name) there I found no restaurants, food courts or alike. Doomed I tell you I was doomed! Out of the corner of my eye I spied one of those Burger Machines Trailers with a young girl slightly older than our two girls and asked her if she wanted to make a lot of money today. My eldest daughter translated. The young lady nodded her head in the affirmative.
Off to the market I raced where I found Bacon, eggs bread butter paper plates and plastic cutlery than racing back to the Burger Doodle I asked; “Is the grill hot, I received the nod, and went behind the counter and using the hot burger grill I cooked a real breakfast to include our new young friend “Burger Girl”. Four Filipina’s laughing, one Kano cooking and dancing over the grill even toasting the bread on it, I’ll dare say that no Denny’s on earth could have served me a better breakfast. The young lady got to keep all that was not consumed and a 500.00 Peso tip, not to mention her free meal. I can imagine that someday her future grandchildren will hear the story about the day “The Kano” visited her workplace by the side of the road.
This article was not supposed to be this long, but my mind went off on a tangent thinking about the hunger I lived through. But I really did have a fun weekend, but every time after that, I traveled with a cooler for food, and the other with beer.
So when Joy, our favorite waitress at Sit-N’-Bulls or the girls at Texas Joe’s ask; “Kuya Paul, why don’t you eat Filipino food?” I smile and say; “I do, but not all this time!”
My friend’s twelve year old Daughter told me a joke a long time ago.
Kuya; how do you say rice in Tagalog? My response was Kanin.
Kuya; how do you say rice in Spanish? My response was Arroz.
Kuya; how do you say rice in English” My response was RICE of course!
She smiled and said; “Kuya Paul, Rice in English is Potatoes!”