Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Childhood Food Memories Meme

Tagged by Obachan and Kai this time, I am supposed to talk about the 5 childhood food memories that I miss. I am going to modify this meme of course so that I can talk about 5 food that reminds me of my childhood. Not food that I miss necessarily, but they simply remind me of my childhood.

1. Abal-abal

When I was a kid, my siblings and I would alternate in spending summer with my maternal grandparents in the province. It is the time when all of our cousins from urban places spend time and have fun together. It is also the season when abal-abal are in abundance. We would go to a place near this river where trees abound and where these abal-abal thrive at night. Abal-abal are beetles living in burrowed ground and come out at night and stay on trees. We would shake the trees vigorously so that these beetles will fall off the ground. We'd have to move as fast as we can to pick these beetles up and put them in covered containers or else they will go back to the ground. My grandpapers would roast them in a pan. Crunchy and creamy but I don't think it was really something I enjoyed eating. I enjoyed going with my cousins at night that made this food memorable to me.

2. Simut-simot

My mother was stationed in a place about half an hour from the city when I was young. The place was not so remote but for some reason there was no electricity yet. Mother was entitled to a supply of power from the mining company but she opted to live the way the people in the community lived. It meant us using Petromax (gas lamp). There is a certain month during the year that these simut-simot would come out. They are termites living off rotten trees. Father would bring the lighted lamp out and put it on top of a big basin filled with water. These termites would be attracted to the light and when they start going near the lamp we would try to drive them towards the basin full of water. Father would then roast them and try to get rid of their wings. Like the abal-abal, it's also creamy. Again, it's the fact that we get to play in the dark and do away with our homeworks that made it fun.

3. Chicharon (Kropec)

Nothing extra-ordinary about this one. It's made of flour, shaped in a rectangular form, and deep fried. We would buy a bagful or more of this and me and my siblings would go to our balcon to eat these. My brother will appear with a bowl of vinegar and hot pepper and we would all race to dip our chicharon in the bowl. By the time we're done, our lips would all be white. We introduced this idea to our "city cousins" and my paternal grandmother would always tell us to stop eating them because they're made of "tsinelas ti intsik"(chinese slippers). I still do not get it up to this day why she didn't want us to have some

4. Adobong Palaka

Okey, palaka is frog. Adobo is a way of cooking a meat with vinegar, garlic, soy and pepper. My father's eldest brother has left for the US at a tender age of 21 or younger. The first to join the US Navy in our clan actually and he is about 80 now. He lived his most productive life in the US and as far as I can remember has only gone back to the Philippines 4 or 5 times. During those times, we either visited him in Subic because the ship he was on was enroute somewhere else or he would come up to Baguio for 1 or 2 days. With such a tight schedule, he would request that we cook pinakbet for him and adobong palaka. I was quite amazed because mother or father would scour the market for palaka just for him. It has puzzled me what is in a Palaka that makes him request for this evertime he comes home. No, I am not complaining. 'just wondering.

5. Dinengdeng

Does this surprise you? Well, when I was little, my parents were given a very huge property by a wealthy Igorot. It was free as long as mother served his community. Disgressing a bit, I wouldn't mind going back to that place again but it's a lot different now, I heard. It was massive, really massive. Mother and father were able to raise pigs for Christmas and special occasions. The food to feed these pigs were taken from their garden. Name all the vegetables you can find in the market and mother had them all growing in her garden. Bananas, Guyabano, Calamansi, Avocadoes, oh we had them in our backyard. My parents gave these all up when we started going to school and my parents believed that we needed better education than what the community had. The property was still ours but when my mother died, there was just no reason for us to go back to that place anymore. At that time, city-living was a lot convenient for us.

Anyway, because our house was next to the school, teachers coming from the city would bribe my mother with fried bangus(milkfish) so she can cook fresh dinengdeng for them. The teachers would send a few students to pick the vegetables from my mother's garden. Mother would then cook these vegetables for lunch. Our house would be like a party house all the time. Ah, I miss those teachers very much.

Phew, that was such a mouthful. Now my turn to tag. I am tagging all those readers whose names start with C. No hiding now.


Sari-Sari Winkel said...

Ting, I really enjoyed reading this post. I would like to share this with my husband to better inform him that there are more exotic Pinoy food than the infamous balut;-) Interestingly, some of the food you described seems familiar (except for the name) as I also encountered these when I used to spend summer at my grandparents' in Tarlac. For instance, is Abal-Abal similar to the "salagubang" (black-brownish beetles)? And yes, we were served the adobong palaka and grasshoppers during some of the fiesta parties.

Toni said...

This was a very entertaining read. I would normally be grossed out by beetles and frogs as food, but you actually piqued my curiosity. LOL! Such wonderful memories; thanks for sharing them with us!

ting-aling said...

Sari, I think salagubang is abal-abal. Do you ever watch fear factor? My kids laugh at the contestants sometimes. Not that they are used to the food eaten at Fear Factor but at how Fear Factor really picture these foods to be so gross.

Toni, I could have chosen more sophisticated memories I had pero I wanted to let the world know that somewhere in time, these happened in my childhood days.

Others might think that these are eaten everyday. No, they don't happen very often and that's what made me reminisce all these.

ChichaJo said...

Fascinating memories! I was glued to the was so wonderful reading them! I am always up for trying new food (well, new to me) but sometimes it's hard to find delicacies like these in McManila ;)

Kai said...

That was great, Ting! I knew you'd have super interesting recollections! I could identify with much of them...but I didn't know you could actually eat the "simot simot" after they drown in the water. Would have to take note next time they come out - I heard it is only once a year.