We each have our favorite foods and, truth be told, there are some foods we seriously cannot do without. There are foods that bring out our darker, more selfish side. There are foods that provide comfort when everything seems to fall apart. And there are foods that are so hard to come by that we end up hoarding the stuff – and, of course, we make sure that said foodstuffs come to hand as soon as they’re needed and/or craved for.
For most Filipinos, I am sure that the list will include Choc-nut peanut candies, chichacorn, garlic peanuts, and beer. Since I had the [mis]fortune of being brought up differently from everyone else, I guess the list below may prove to be somewhat, even completely, different from everyone else’s:
- Crunchy-style peanut butter I was introduced to chunky peanut butter at a very early age and I still have this weird habit of eating the stuff by the tablespoonful. I eat it on toast with a slight drizzle of honey. I also add half a teaspoon of the stuff to add richness to instant hot chocolate. May I also add that it’s also fantastic on bananas and adds a smoky flavor to my Indonesian satay marinade.
- Ginger ale I love the nose-tickling spicy-sweetness of a very good one like, say, Angus O’Neill, but even the sweeter MixMate kind works. Add a couple scoops of mango ice cream to an icy tumbler of ginger ale and you have what I call my Summer Float. I also like non-carbonated ginger drinks like The Ginger People’s Ginger Soother: a rejuvenating sipper when one is under the weather.
- Asian pears The round, brown-skinned Korean kind are best: so crisp and sweet and moreish. They’re perfect for munching on their lonesome, but they also make a good addition to salads or for nibbling with cheese after dinner.
- Bagoong It’s the condiment that pretty much separates Filipinos from the rest of the world. I need this odoriferous reddish-purple shrimp paste to go with a steaming bowl of kare-kare (oxtail and/or tripe stewed in peanut sauce) or to mix into an ensaladang mangga (diced green mango salad) or ensaladang talong (grilled eggplant salad). Plus, a teaspoon mixed into steaming hot rice also has the power to cheer me up.
- Whole-grain Mustard I can’t think of anything better to go with roast pork, grilled sausages, fried chicken – well, it’s perfect with meat!
- Late July Organic Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Probably the only brand-name food on this list, this is the cookie at the top of this post. It’s more expensive than your usual Oreos or Hi-Ros (P 45.00 for a pack of four cookies), but these are so rich and decadent that they’re worth it.
- Dark Chocolate Enough said. 😀
- Rice Do I even need to explain?! I also feel sorry for those dieters who shun rice. Just to annoy friends and family who do this, I sit right across from them with a heaping bowl of hot rice topped with a stew or a grilled pork chop. I grin evilly, enjoy my food, and watch as they start to cry. Yes, I’m cruel like that.
- Potatoes One of the things I agree with Nigella Lawson about: when it comes to depression, have potatoes not Prozac!
- Sausages I like them all, come to think of it. From garlicky longganizas from Lucban and Vigan to veal bratwurst, Hungarian sausages, Belgian cervelat, and even English bangers. They’re so good just grilled in a pan, sliced up, and served with a dab of mustard. Oh, and coleslaw and mashed potatoes.
So, what are your non-negotiable foods? 😉