21 December 2006

Grinch no more? We'll see...

Six nights and counting...

I can't believe I've actually gone to Simbang Gabi for six nights straight. This is a first. I've never felt the need to complete the novena. Actually, I still don't see myself completing it. But I still try. I'm not desperately praying for anything in particular. The whole ritual just helps to get me in the mood for Christmas.

My friends are surprised at my newfound uppity Christmas spirit. I've been a Grinch for the past couple of years. I still blame my previous work for my Christmas spirit fatigue, but it's slowly going away. I actually sing once in a while with a few carols. I'm able appreciate Christmas lights and decor without the urge to barf. I even had the energy and spirit to put up our tree.

I still get depressed once in a while, the usual depression heightened by the holidays. I can't stop myself from thinking depressing thoughts, especially since I've been spending a lot of time alone. But most of it is just reminiscing and pondering on what if's and what could be's. I'm glad I have enough holiday cheer to distract me from these thoughts. I allow an indulgent deep sigh once in a while but I refuse to even verbalize my thoughts since I've proven that talking about it makes it even more real.

My holiday mode has been revived. I sort of miss being the representative Grinch but I think this is a slightly better alternative. Let's see how long this will last.

Orange Git at 10:58 AM


18 December 2006

Missing Bibingka Among Other Things

I once told someone that I am incapable of missing a person or a thing. This was my brave declaration which might have left the impression that I don’t feel anything. But I’ve recently discovered that my missing mechanism is quite different from other people. And all thanks to good old bibingka.

A few nights ago, the yearly Simbang Gabi started. Nine days of novena before Christmas Eve. Although I never intend to complete the nine days, I always look forward to attending it as much as I can. It's been part of my Christmas routine to go to the Simbang Gabi near our home at 9 in the evening, then have bibingka and coffee afterwards. So off I go to the first Simbang Gabi, bought my bibingka and ate it for dinner. The first bite was heavenly. Suddenly, I felt comforted. I wanted to shout “It’s really Christmas!” And I realized how much I missed that particular bibingka. That particular taste that screams Christmas, you can taste the cheese, the abundance of salted egg. The resilient consistency of the cake, its generous size, heaven! And only for P35 pesos! However, I was also reminded that I can never finish this whole bibingka by myself.

Which leads me to think of how I miss people. See, I don’t miss people when they’re gone. I miss them when they come back.

Case in point #1: A very close work friend left to work in another country. I was sad when she left. But I never realized how much I missed her until she came back and I got to talk to her again.

Case in point #2: I had dinner with my college friends last week and I realized how much I missed them. I’ve forgotten how much fun it is just sitting down, eating and talking non-stop for hours. Such easy conversation that never changes or never becomes awkward even if we don’t see each other for months or even a year.

It’s weird but that’s how I am.

Orange Git at 1:39 PM


07 December 2006

Cooking Shows Galore

Over the long weekend, I loaded up on TV. I’ve missed staying at home and doing nothing. It soon got old though. Anyway, I reconnected with an all time favorite past time, watching cooking shows. Not that I love to cook and imitate whatever these celebrity cooks come up with. I simply salivate and hope my mom can replicate whatever it is they’re cooking. That’s the thing with growing up with a mom who’s a great cook, you either want to be like her or just watch what she’s doing and eat the finished product.

We used to have Discovery Travel and Adventure. I would hog the remote control the whole day and watch Tyler Florence, Anthony Bourdain and a bunch of other cooks. I have old classic ones and recent discoveries. I just want to do a quick round up.

Nigella… oh, Nigella. I miss watching her show on Lifestyle. Even if they showed reruns, I’d still watch. There’s something about the way she cooks that completely mesmerizes me. I heard someone mention before that they think the way she cooks is like sex. Everything is embellished. The way she describes food makes you just want to binge after. Although I have no idea what her food tastes like most of the time, and I believe some would taste quite unusual to my untrained palette, she draws me in. She always ends up eating what she cooks right after and she eats with gusto, like there’s no tomorrow. And I think that’s what makes it good TV. She doesn’t care if her hands get dirty or if the sides of her mouth catch bits and crumbs of food. All
that matters is the food.

Rachel Ray. The format is sort of like Oprah. And not surprising because it’s produced by Harpo. I think it’s more of the way she talks than what she cooks that got me hooked. This one is just non-stop chatter. She makes Nigella look like a quiet and reserved celebrity cook. It amazes me that she doesn’t turn blue from speaking non-stop. She’s Italian ergo, Italian food is her specialty. The queen of 30 minute meals, her food is not intimidating. It’s very everyday and doable. Again… MA! Can you do that?

Iron Chef America. Who knew competitive cooking could be so much fun to watch? I didn’t pay attention to this show before even if my friends talked about it non-stop. But it is fun to watch. These two top cooks come up with a feast in 45 minutes and the key ingredient is revealed at the start of the challenge. I’ve seen them make all sorts of dishes out of tilapia, turkey, mushrooms, lobster, shrimp. It’s not just random cooking. There should be some kind of a theme, a reason why they cooked what they cooked. But I must admit that most of the time I’m rooting for the underdog except when it’s Iron Chef Mario Batali who challenges.

Speaking of Mario Batali, Lifestyle used to air his show Ciao America. He goes on this great American tour in search of the best Italian cuisine from the homeland. Gelatto, assortment of cheeses, the best dried meat, all kinds of pasta... The best show before dinner. It makes you completely hungry.

And speaking of Italian dishes, there’s a show called Everyday Italian with Giada de Laurentiis. It really is Everyday Italian, from spaghetti with pesto to ravioli with amaretto cookies, to baked herbed vegetables. But no matter how simple her dishes are, I still can’t manage to make them. The most I can try doing is her classic Italian dessert of ricotta cheese spread on a baking pan and then sprinkled with sugar. No cooking involved. That’s it.

I can go on and on about the other shows that I haven’t mentioned. So I guess this proves that I am a cooking show addict.

Orange Git at 5:15 PM