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.



. said...

Most tables here are filled with WAY more than two main dishes. In fact, there maybe be up to 5 or more of what we call side dishes. When put together, all this food won't even fit on your plate. This usually requires you to fill 'er up more than once because there just isn't enough room for the wide veriety of dishes the first time around.

The cheese and crackers, chips and pretzles, vegitable trays, dips and whatever else you can fit on coffee and end tables in the living room are only there to help you hang on while you're drooling over the smell of the food being set up on the dinner table(s). Some times, a fancey wooden "cart" or another small table is needed for the bowls and contianers of food that won't fit on smaller dining tables.

This is usually do to the fact most guests bring a dish as well. Here, it's just a rule of thumb that it's rude to eat at a get together you've been invited to without brining something. To cope with this yummy delema, most families buy tables that expand to fit an add-on board in the center.

And, in most cases, all this food is set up for only 5 or 6 people. Eight at the most. Larger get togethers require many more dishes. It's usually assumed that most of your guests will want 2nd's (a second plate full).

Or, for somebody like myself (every family has one), you'll have to have 3rds or 4ths, depending on how many dishes there are. But, be sure to pace yourself. You'll want to have enough room in your belly for desert later. :D

Oh yeah, there's usually severl kinds of desert, depending on what type of food the guests have brought to add to the seemingly endless mouthfuls.

blue_butterfly said...

i stand corrected then. actually i have never been to a real american party and just got my observation from those parties i have seen in movies...haha
now, i know better.
damn. you can have four serving?
i have to check my invited guest list then...just wanna make sure your not in it, Lol...!

coupdecoeur said...

a small mark at the time of my passage on your very beautiful blog!
thanks for making us share your moments
you have a translation of my English space!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family
cordially from France
¸..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ ..·´ -:¦:-
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´* ~ Chris ~ -:¦:-


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