Food for thought


Jullie Y. Daza

April was International Food Month, and as PBBM pointed out, it’s good to chew on the fact that Filipino food is in a list of the top 100 cuisines of the world.

How far near the top or the bottom, who cares? Filipino food, with its rich ingredients of history, culture, tradition, and multicolor influences, can’t be beat – especially when you consider the hundred and one sauces, dips, and seasonings available to every gourmet and gourmand. What is Filipino food without the “sawsawan” to go with fish, chicken, pork, veggies? It may be a personal choice, but one man’s sauce can turn out to be a whole family’s memory of what a full/filling meal should taste like.

I’ve just come from a neighborhood restaurant where the signature dish is grilled chicken inasal – now, that’s one “local” dish (imported from Bacolod) that’s not complete without a helping of a multiflavored dip combining toyo (for saltiness), vinegar (sourness), calamansi juice (a taste of lime), red hot chili. When the staff of the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles held a family-size fiesta not long ago, the star of the show was chicken inasal. Not lechon, not adobo or sinigang, but inasal. Time to show the world that our inasal is chicken barbecue with a difference, and what makes the difference is what goes into the marinade, and how that combination of salty-sour-lemony-garlicky is our very own.

Inasal, according to Cook who is Visayan, translates to “inihaw” or grilled/barbecued. Sooner rather than later, should we begin a campaign to let the world recognize inasal as a dish that’s as Filipino as adobo?

Meanwhile, as hard as it may be to digest, while a class of pre-teens in the Philippines are growing obese with fastfood cooked in fats, there’s another group who are showing signs of stunting. In the experience of the head of a conglomerate whose managers are forever searching for the right people to hire, the young applicants are “growing shorter, not taller.” Employers are worried, stunting being a result of the wrong food fed babies (starting with when they were in the womb).

This can be very worrisome as we’ve been told that girls as young as 10 are getting pregnant in the age of Woman Power!