Let’s talk about food. By now you know that I love to travel, eat, and cook. Growing up, I have countless memories of me sitting at the kitchen table with my family and watching them prepare food – cutting vegetables, brining meats, stirring pots of yummy goodness. It seemed like every month or two there was a party – whether it was our own or a family member’s or friend’s. Filipinos love to celebrate. There were even times when we would prepare food for a party we weren’t even going to!
My Nanay was a savvy lady, an entrepreneur. To make extra money she would sell arts and crafts, or her delicious food. (She used to make these beautiful photo albums, covered in pretty fabric, and adorn with pearls and lace. When she wasn’t looking, I’d steal some of the scraps of fabric to make outfits for my Barbies. There’s no denying it, my creativity came from her.) She would make empanadas, ice candy, polvoron, lumpia, and all types of kakanin. Everything that Nanay made was amazing. She put so much love into everything. All of her food was a sample of her love and you could taste it, too. She should have had her own restaurant.
There at the kitchen table, watching my family work together to prepare these dishes, I began to memorize what ingredients went into what dish. I learned at a young age how to julienne carrots, finely dice onions, and carefully wrap lumpia. I became the official taste-tester – letting them know if something was too salty, not sweet enough, or perfect as it was. There were tons of laughs, lots of chit chat, and plenty of eating while cooking in that kitchen table. Some of my fondest memories for sure.
Being 3,000 miles away from that kitchen table and no longer having my Nanay or Tatay with us, I wanted to make a few dishes for Easter that reminded me of those memories. Basically to make my apartment a bit more like home. So I called my mom to double check the ingredients, made my shopping list, grabbed my purse, and went on my food adventure to make veggie lumpia and empanadas. A half day later of perusing grocery aisles, I sat down on my kitchen table and started to cut veggies, mince garlic and onions, and separate lumpia wrappers. In my tiny kitchen, I sautéed the veggies, cooked ground beef, mixed dough – you name it! Slowly the apartment smelled like home. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when my apartment smells like food. Hahaha. Either my building neighbors love it or hate it, but I could careless. I love cooking food!!!
Here are some photos from yesterday and today’s food adventure. Hope you take a moment to enjoy those precious moments around your kitchen table with your loved ones this Easter, and every single day.
‘Til the next time.