Memories of Philippine Kitchens

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Yesterday, I attended the best cookbook event ever. Book signings are now more a professional obligation than a fun diversion, but I’m very glad I stopped in at the Bayanihan Community Center to see Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan. This wasn’t your usual book event. Grandparents brought their grandkids, and Tagalog was spoken unabashedly. The tastings were generous—I enjoyed thirds on those adobo ribs—and there was much laughter in the air. Their discussion and demonstration were a powerful reminder of the way sharing recipes, memories, and food keep a community together over time and distance.

Continue reading “Memories of Philippine Kitchens”

Ingredient Shuffle

In this day of confusing health reports and lax public policy, it’s nice to know that there are still some simple guidelines out there. From bread to yogurt, brief is best. You want whole, recognizable ingredients that don’t require a dictionary or chemistry degree to understand. Whether I’m teaching a cooking class for moms in Marin or teens from Chinatown, I always say: Look for short words and short lists.

Lab beakers

How strange, then, to read the latest recipes by cutting-edge chefs. Sure, I’m used to restaurant menus that wax poetic about seasons and provenance, like a rambling culinary almanac, but to see the transformation of recipes into chemistry formulas is jarring.

“Add xanthonomas campestris….Place mixture in blender and add stabilizers….Cover tightly and flash freeze in liquid nitrogen.” Continue reading “Ingredient Shuffle”