Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Food galore, Filipino style.
I am a Filipino and I am cursed…
Ha ha. I just want to get your attention, you goof!
Well actually there is a bitter truth to it, as it takes so much more time and so much more money to be a Filipino. You see, when Americans host a party, they only serve one or two main dishes and a lot of crackers and cheese, but for Filipinos, we are somehow always expected to serve six, eight or more main dishes.
Perhaps, it is due to Filipinos penchant for fiestas where the poor are forced by culture and tradition to borrow money they don’t have just to feed and entertain their guests during the affair. Then they would spend the next year paying off their loans only to borrow money again for the next fiesta.
This Christmas season is no exception. Rich Filipino families and maybe some middle class families who can afford this extravagance will have lavish foods in their Noche Buena table. Unfortunately, even those who cannot will still, bend over backwards to try to put more food in their table, because tradition dictates it.
What then drives Filipino to carelessly spend so much on gastronomic festivities?
Is it the combination of climate, geography and history of occupation by foreign powers that has fostered in our culture a unique attitude to life?
Yes, we Filipinos have developed a love to partying along with that sense of fatalism that aspires for living big in the present. In fact, delayed gratification seemed to be a foreign concept to most of us. But instead, “Bahala na ang Diyos”, roughly translated “ the Lord will provide” is the mantra of the religious.
And unlike our Asian neighbors which have four seasons, like Japan, China and Korea, we Filipinos don’t have to struggle to gather food for storage during the spring, summer and fall to have enough food during the winter. Our complacency was brought about by the fact that the sun always shines in our country, thus, people do not need to save for a future contingency. In fact, farmers would lament of what's the point of saving for a rainy day when that rainy day typhoon will wipe out their home and everything they worked so hard to save for anyway.
Now, don’t ask me what dish will be on my table on Christmas Eve as it will stretch this blog to another page.