Holidays for my family is a time for gorging like locusts.
If the Filler family had a family seal, I think it would declare something of our gastronomic powers. Like a giant tongue or an expandable gullet.
This year, we yet again feasted on food big enough in quantity to feed a large refugee camp and still have something left over for the volunteers.
I’ve suggested once or twice that we should open up a garage hospice for the terminally ill or homeless.
Anyway, that’s why I gained 10 pounds over the course of 2 weeks in Baguio. (I’ve lost the 7 already. Tee-hee!)
Here’s my top 10 sinful holiday indulgences. Those that are worth the pounds:
1. Kuya JP’s Baby Back Ribs.
Apologies to the baby cows. =( He pressure-cooked this for 4 hours so that when you bite into the spicy, sweet and peppery honey barbecue sauce, the tender meat just falls off the bone.
These things made me fall off the vegetarian wagon, and I’ve always regretted it. But while we’re at it, I at least try to make the most of it. I ate, what, 15 of these in every sitting? Haha! Whether it’s your good old Tender Juicy or grilled British sausages or sliced up, pan-fried German sausages with onions, I’ll take it.
4. Mao’s Eggplant Parmigiana
My nephew Mao makes this for me every Christmas and I love him for it. The trick is that thick slab of mozzarella and cheddar cheese crust on top, which is nice to munch on all by itself.
But it is followed by layers and layers of crunchy breaded pan-fried eggplant and tomato sauce plus more bubbly cheese. The fact that it’s made with love makes it more delicious.
5. Pizza Hut’s Tuna Pesto Pasta.
I know it’s not usual that I would love to eat something beyond our sumptuous food at home, but this one was an exception. The dish was actually ordered by my boyfriend, who liked my order (mushroom and cheese ravioli) more, so we swapped in the end. The pesto is mild, but comes with an abundance of pine nuts. The pasta as a whole was creamy and had a light lemony flavor. It was interesting!
6. Gabbie’s Chocolate Croissants.
My niece (incidentally Mao’s sister) came bursting into our house one day and offered us P5 worth of chocolate chip mini-croissants fresh from the oven. This was what inspired me to bake mini-croissants of my own later on. But anyway, it was lovely and golden and crunchy, with the just the right amount of sweetness and buttery-ness. I bought a lot. Magnifique!
7. Panna cotta with strawberries.
Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
8. Pepper-crusted Dory Fillet.
Soft fleshy fish with a creamy taste, lathered with a seasoning mix of garlic, onions, salt, pepper and herbs, then pan-fried in a skillet lightly coated in olive oil. Think of all that garlicky, soft morsels and you’ll never look at Dory the same again.
9. Leung’s Baked Sheperd’s Pie.
That’s a golden puff pastry crust covering a nice beef and potato casserole. I had a really fun time pretending I was Harry Potter at Hogwarts, eating at the Great Hall. Where’s my pumpkin juice and treacle tart??
10. Creamy Vegetable Fettucini
Last but not least is a simple pasta dish that everyone else didn’t like because they had the Mushroom Al’oglio. But I recognized this dish for what it was worth– healthy and nutritious, a beacon amongst the other, more fatty dishes. Look how the cook sneaked in broccoli pieces that you won’t even notice when you’re eating. Clever and festive.
Now, this is not to eschew the other dishes prepared by our parents, cousins and helpers. Food is food and we must not take them for granted in a world mired by hunger and inequitable distribution of resources.
So even if you all didn’t have space on my plate, you have room in my heart. A big cholesterol cheer!
(Slideshow soon to come)