Wednesday, 26 January 2005

English Meals


Lian's christening: reception at Gateway Hotel, Surigao.

The first meal I encountered when I arrived in England almost two years ago was a bowl of what seemed to me was dried cow food. It was like a left-over from a day's harvest of palay which turned rock-hard from moisture and the baking-heat of the mid-day sun. I looked at my father-in-law, who I only met less than 24 hours, and realised he wasn't joking, and in fact was eating the same thing as well. I demanded for an explanation from K. It was called Weetabix, which apparently could be eaten with sugar and milk or simply dry with a bit of butter or cheese. I didn't touch it but I knew from that moment that I was in for a stomach-churning food shock.

I decided to have coffee instead and looking at the breadbin, I was hopeful and positive that I could go through the morning without a hitch. As soon as my mouth closed for its first bite of a Warburton bread, I felt a well of tears descending my cheeks. The bread was dry and tasteless. K explained that it wasn't sweetened, unlike the bread I'm used to in the Philippines which could be eaten on its own even without the aid of butter, cheese, marmalade of jam. I remembered with longing the precious pan de sal and bohol and even the 'american bread' which is actually sliced bread that I can sandwich bihon with.

My incredulity was turned to hysterical laughter and embarassment as we started discussing how food should be eaten properly. K started to tell his parents that Surigaonons eat pasta sandwiched in two slices of bread, and that hotdogs are added, and that it is, again, like bread, sweetened. And worse, that pasta is cut into tiny pieces which is a crime, at least for the Italians.

I was quick to point out though that in Surigao, we eat fresh food all the time. Fish, meat, chicken, vegetables are all fresh (like an hour old sometimes) and that potatoes are considered veges which are usually cooked with meat in soup and not the main constant dish, like rice. The worst report of K was that Filipinos can eat with gusto with their bare hands. How they can manipulate their fingers to bring rice to the mouth was beyond him.

While all these discussions went on, I welcomed myself to the land of processed food. No blood, no bones. Just clean, ready to cook/ready to eat food.

I wonder where on earth I could find kinilaw na nukos.

2 comments:

Astrantia said...

Oh my goodness! How cruel! I really feel for you :-( Weetabix dry with cheese? How disgusting! I wouldn't touch that within a thousand miles, yuck.

I miss pan de sal... so much I'm going to try and cook it myself.

There's nothing wrong with eating with your hands, nor with a spoon and a fork. Hell, I do!

I can assure you, we don't all think like that.

Soy said...

I know...I've never eaten dry weetabix but after months of getting used to the look of it, it has now become my breakfast favorite, as opposed to the salty Kelloggs corn flakes. I'm not a fan of toasts and i can't be really bothered cooking rice in the morning so i don't have an option.

 
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