Posted in Home Cooking, PotPourri

In Which Food Brings a Community Closer…

From this month's potluck brunch...

Growing up in the southern suburbs of Manila, I’ve noticed that community building seems a lot easier to do in these parts as opposed to just about anywhere in the big city.  Most suburban subdivisions have at least one parish church that brings the community together under one roof every Sunday without fail.  Within these parishes are smaller groups brought together by similar interests or singular ministries.

Since March of this year, I’ve been part of the Mother Butler Guild, a group of womenfolk dedicated to helping keep the main sanctuary of the parish church clean and beautiful along with taking care of the priest’s vestments.  We usually meet every second Sunday of the month and it’s always a brunch meeting where the birthday gals of the month share homemade dishes with all the rest of us.

The bulk of what is served at meetings is classic Filipino party food.  Pancit is the most likely dish, usually pancit Canton, though some prefer the more flavorful sotanghon (cellophane noodles) sauteed with chicken and colored with anatto seeds.  Sandwiches also come into play, as well as various kakanin (native rice cakes) which run the gamut from the multi-colored and textured sapin-sapin to the heftier biko.

Today’s repast was a bit different as it featured a hot dish, a cold salad, a different take on the usual run of sandwiches, and two desserts.

As shown above, one member brought a cauldron of her pancit molo.  As stated in a previous post, molo is a specialty of Negros province down south.  It is a clear chicken broth flavored with a bit of ginger, chives, and a hint of garlic with wontons floating in it.  Normally, the wontons are made with minced chicken, but the ones here were heftier and more flavorful as they were stuffed with pork mince and shrimp.

There was a chilled pasta salad with finely diced pimentos, tomatoes, and shredded basil dressed with mayonnaise.  It provided a rather sharp-tasting contrast to the savory soup.  Someone also brought a rather tasty version of that old classic chicken ala king served in cunning toast cups.  Chocolate cake and biko rounded out the meal.

While we ate, we discussed the upcoming activities, the pending change of parish priests at the end of the month which will be affecting every church in the Diocese, and we shared thoughts about the day’s Gospel.  We may all come from different backgrounds, but a shared ministry, the umbrella of our Faith, and lovingly prepared food have brought us together as one community.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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