Ako po si Iska, anak ng isang Batanguena at isang hampaslupang Ilocanong Accountant na parehong may talento sa pagluluto; mga magulang na nagkaron ng carinderia not for the money but for the love of cooking kaya ako naman ay natuto ng mga lutuing pangmasa. Ito po ang aking Edible Experiments.

Hi! My name is Iska and I’m a professional cook.   NOT!

But it gives me so much pleasure every time a reader tries a recipe, lets me know about great results and comes back for more. There are also those who write to share their own tricks that I do appreciate very much.  What’s the story behind my Edible Experiments? Here are some points to ponder for those who wanna try them.. so beware!

Iska1. My parents, 2 people each with distinct culinary background (Ilocano meets Batanguena), has immensely shaped and influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought.  My father was a farmer in his hometown before working his way up to becoming an accountant, whilst I firmly believed I owe my adventurous palate from my mum who cooks wonderful burong mustasa at halaan.  My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and summer breaks running around (sometimes barefoot) with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs.  I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, feeding ducks, walking a goat, butchering chickens, picking vegetables to sell, climbing fruit trees and smelling the sweet aroma of preserved fruits.

2. 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 (known as picadillo in the dining rooms of the more affluent) to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

3. I left the Philippines to live abroad independently at age 23. (Read: 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.   (For those unaware, it is rare to find single Pinoys living independently away from their families.)

4. I then traveled to parts of Southeast Asia and Europe, and lived in Beijing for half a decade without access to a store that sells Filipino products. This is where fate decided I become a full-time mum while working from home. I found myself keeping this online journal about my cooking adventures – rediscovering family recipes and enjoying kitchen experiments.

5. I have moved to Middle Earth NZ back in 2007 and re-entered the workforce for 3 straight years.  Now I am back to being a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family – in pursuit of work-life balance. But no matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family.  It’s de-stressing.

Here’s a peek through my kitchen…

6. I love the Internet and I love to surf for what to cook. I also have acquired a small collection of cookbooks.  I do a lot of alterations, substitutions and add-ons depending on what’s available and what my family likes.  And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

7. Before April 2007, I spent less than a minute taking food photos using a 5-year old digital camera – 1 shot with flash and the rest without, trusting my ever-steady hands risking the likelihood of blurry pictures. I drooled over a new one that’s anti-shock and with ultra-wide lens that would also be perfect for our project sites. Oh well, I still spend the same amount of time when taking photos but now use A‘s camera (still point-and-shoot) with better features.

This blog chronicles mostly home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland.  By the way… I am an Interior Architect.

Erwin, who blogs from Canada, joins ISKAndals.com and writes articles based on the after thoughts of his past and present day experiences in the fast-paced, and sometimes disheveling kitchen environment.  He also writes at Lamon Sa Kusina where he offers an oversight of what he prepares and what he eats basically after experiencing a tough day in the line.  Read more here.

If anything, please feel free to drop me a line.  Email me:  edxperimentsATgmailDOTcom.