childhood food memories meme

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For somebody like me who is new in the world of blogs & bloggers, it’s a pleasure to be tagged by Karen for this meme, which by the time I was informed about it, it was like whoa! What is a meme? I was absolutely clueless. I don’t even know how it is supposed to be pronounced. So I quickly researched for the meaning & came up w/ this (just for the few people out there like me who doesn’t know).

Then I began reading all that came before me, started taking notes of my own memorable dishes or specific food habits & picked the top 5 that stand out but not necessarily in this order:

1. Fruits of the Loom
Here is my sketch of our childhood home. My dad, who has such a green thumb, planted lots of fruit-bearing trees around the house that one may get lost finding our house. Star apples, coconut trees (including macapuno, freak coconut full of soft meat), chico, santol, mangoes, papaya, guyabano or soursop, atis or sugar-apple, banana (finger-like senoritas & cooking variety saba), guava, & even kamias or bilimbi. I remember us kids eating the fruits, particularly the star apple, mango & guava, either up on the trees themselves or up on the roof. Our meals were never complete without fruits for dessert. We had good harvest time that the fruits are too much for our family so dad would either give them away to friends & even sell them.

2. Pump Up the Jam
I remember those times when we didn’t have to buy macapuno from the grocery stores but find them occupying most of the kitchen shelves, the majority of containers untouched. With the abundance of fruits in the house, Dad – being a wonderful cook – made guava & macapuno jams for us & brought some to sell to their friends. The recipe? Never got to the point of learning it, I was too young then. On the second thought, I might ask dad about it when I get back home.

3. IUD & AdidasGalore
Yes I know a lot of you must be saying yuck at this time but before hepa became a big deal, my sister & I used to buy IUD (slang for inihaw na isaw ng manok or chicken intestine barbeque) from street vendors near the school. Never after school because we were so conscious of being seen by our friends. It was like they are mocking classmates who eat ‘em. Looking back, I should have let them know so they could enjoy the fun! Now we still eat isaw cooked back home by my brother-in-law.

With adidas (slang for chicken feet) it’s a totally different story. For sometime, my father was maintaining poultry behind our house & distributed dressed chickens to wholesalers at the wet market. So it was like our meals were full of chicken feet than we ever wanted – adobong manok with adidas (dish cooked in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper and soy sauce), tinolang manok with adidas (ginger stew), fried whole chicken complete with adidas. You name it we had it that for years I couldn’t bring myself to eat chicken until I was about 16. The chicken feet? Till the time I discovered dim sum in my early 20s.

4. Food in Contention
Oh this is really fun to reminisce. I am talking about disputes over a particular food on the family dining table. (a) The chicken leg – while my sister is happy over her chicken wings, my brother & I would quarrel over the leg. When there were 2, we were lucky, if there was 1, I get it ’cause I’m the youngest. (b) The lean meat – our parents were always giving us kids the lean meat while both of them devoured with gusto the crispy pork fat that is unhealthy. By the time I got into college, I know how unhealthy fat really is but learned how good it tastes. (c) Brown m&m’s- how many brown m&m’s are there in a packet? What is it with the brown ones that you can’t find with the others? The list may go on & on & on…

5. Kamayan Style
Maybe this has been discussed many times before and non-pinoy may find this eating habit disgusting but I just wanna share how I looked at it as a child. As small children, we were taught to use spoon & fork for as long as I can recall but I remember them eating with their bare hands (dry food like fried chicken, dried fish, steamed kangkong or river spinach, etc.). I remember asking my mom why she’s doing it while telling us it’s improper. I guess after that she lets us do it at home once in a while but reminded us not to do it in other gatherings such as school Xmas parties, family reunions, or fiestas.

So to proceed with the meme, remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog’s name in the #5 spot; link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross-pollination effect. Since Karen was tagged twice, I guess I have to show it this way…

From Nupur’s tree:
1. Sam at Becks & Posh
2. Deccanhefalump at The Cooks Cottage
3. Nupur of One Hot Stove
4. Karen at The Pilgrim’s Pots and Pans
5. Iska, that’s me, w/ my Edible Experiments

From Joey’s tree:
1. Pille of Nami-Nami
2. Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz
3. Joey of 80 Breakfasts
4. Karen at The Pilgrim’s Pots and Pans
5. Iska w/ my Edible Experiments

Next: select new friends to add to the pollen count. Karen said no one is obligated to participate & I can only think about one person that hasn’t been tagged so Mike… game on! Mike’s LA FANG. Add your memories.

The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out of his nose. – Garrison Keillor (American writer and broadcaster b.1942)

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

10 thoughts on “childhood food memories meme

  1. Oh, how fantastic to have a house surrounded by trees, and fruit trees at that! Question, how many times ‘battle scars’ do you have from climbing? Hehehe! Thanks for participating Iska! Wonderful childhood memories.

  2. I love your food memories Iska! I wasn’t fortunate enough to be surrounded by all those fruit trees in childhood, but my dad is trying to make up for it now. He has bought a very small plot of land in Batangas where he is planting fruit trees and herbs and stuff, and guess what, he makes jam now too! I also love isaw! I can eat tons :-) Ķit’s so yummy! And I really enjoy eating kamayan. nice to be so close to the food you’re eating no? I think food tastes better when eating kamayan style! I really enjoyed reading your post :-D

  3. Hi Karen! I couldn’t remember how many scars i had but i do remember the scratches i got from the papaya tree. nagpadausdos pababa mula sa bubong ng bahay where we used to play! hahaha

    Hello Joey! I’m glad u like my childhood food memories. i had a great time reminiscing actually…

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