26 November 2005

Soul Food: a Lasang Pinoy 4 post

What food do you associate with a good feeling, or something which makes you feel happy? Such was the question brought up as the theme for November's LP4. Incidentally I have increasingly been posting about food these past few months as I found my waistline increase as well. So much so that I find myself huffing and puffing after three flights of steps. Yes, I realize I am a victim of improper eating habits and need to get out more. I'm hitting the gym soon. But I digress.

It wasn't really that difficult to talk about my soul food. A couple immediately came to mind, in fact. And these aren't elaborate gourmet concoctions, but simple yet sumptous home-cooked food. Things that has a history of sharing and happy times in our family.

When I got sick (especially in my childhood days) my mother would cook arroz caldo, a satisfying medley of chicken and rice porridge. She would give a generous portion in a bowl, with calamansi and patis for flavor. I have since then associated arroz caldo with the caring and love given to me by my mother especially in times when I need her.

I swear, even if you have problems with your taste buds and appetite, a hefty serving of arroz caldo can make you feel good in no time at all.

My second comfort food is macaroni soup: elbow macaroni with diced carrots and ground beef in a soup base with a generous mix of milk and spices.

Macaroni soup is part of our noche buena. My siblings and I (there are five of us) usually get impatient for 12 midnight to arrive. So our Nanay would cook this first so we can get something to munch on in our quick visits to the kitchen while she prepares the other dishes. We have become so accustomed to having this macaroni soup that we would automatically ask for this when we prepare our Christmas get-together with our family which has grown to include their grandkids, sons- and daughters-in-law. And we'd have even more of the macaroni soup after noche buena and while opening gifts, much to the delight of everyone (we have this custom of having my sister's daughter host the gathering, announce the recipients of gifts, and wait while a person opens it amidst oohs and aahs before proceeding to another).

Arroz Caldo and Macaroni Soup: two simple dishes that remind me of the comforts and happiness of home.

Get your recipe at SEAsite for Arroz Caldo! Photo above borrowed from this site as well.
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