Archive for the ‘Mangoes’ Category

MANGOES, WHITE FLOUR, CREEPY CRAWLIES AND OTHER TIDBITS FROM THE PHILIPPINES

Greetings Family and Friends,

There are sayings we picked up during our time in the Philippines that remain with us still.  Most Filipinos we met were friendly and wanted to please.  For example, if you said you were going to get something from the sari sari store (a small neighborhood store that sold various snacks, canned food, or small bottles of shampoo or whatever) and someone you knew heard you, they would likely say, “I’ll be the  one.”  What they were telling you was, “I’ll go to the sari sari store and get you what you want.”  That saying is still with us.

Sari Sari Store 

We were first introduced to pancit while living in Baguio.  Maggi sold it in packages like ramen noodles. We liked it.

We especially liked lumpia.  One type of lumpia is ground pork with shredded carrots, and cabbage, along with finely chopped fresh green beans, garlic and fish oil.  It’s placed in a lumpia wrapper which somewhat resembles a very thin tortilla.  It is rolled up and deep fried.  Yummy!

There is also Lumpia Shanghai which is a small lumpia, tightly wrapped, made only with meat.  Another type is fresh lumpia, that is not fried at all.

Rice is the main staple of the Filipino diet, so much so that our Filipino interpreter didn’t think he had eaten yet if rice wasn’t served.  I especially liked the “dacot.”  The dacot is the crunchy rice that has browned and sticks to the bottom of the pan.  Our same pan we made cake in was our rice pot too.

Sister Davis, our pastor’s wife, told me how to make a cake without an oven.  Since we had a two burner gas unit, and no oven, it was good to know.  In a heavy aluminum pan with a lid I would cook my cake made from scratch, covered,  and on the lowest flame I could set.  It took about the same time to cook as if it were cooked in a conventional oven.  The result was a very moist and delicious cake.  Sometimes I would make a cooked mango topping.   I would cook and thicken fresh mango with a little flour, sugar and vanilla and possibly (don’t remember for sure) alternate with almond flavoring.  Other times I would do the same thing with fruit cocktail.  We had cake very often, almost daily.  I learned to be creative with my cooking.

I am going to add something here that perhaps you would not have done. At that time in the early 80’s, fresh white wheat flour wasn’t always available.   Sometimes it was and sometimes it wasn’t.  When we were there in 1999-2003, that was no longer true.  The heat helped “little crawlies” to hatch in the flour.  The first time it happened to me in Baguio City, I exchanged the 5 pound bag of imported flour at the grocery store. I was new in the country and had a lot to learn. Well, it was from the same batch and of course the results were the same.  I threw it away.  Later when we relocated to Cagayan de  Oro City, Mindanao, I had to ‘cross a bridge’ in regard to our diet.  To me, white flour was an important food staple, so I surmised that if I carefully sifted the flour I could get most of the crawlies out and cooking the food would take care of the rest.  It was either do it like that or remove white flour altogether.  It wasn’t feasible or cost effective to throw it away.  I chose the former.  I had a choice.  I could be squeamish and do without a lot of things we were used to eating or I could overcome my thoughts about it and make cakes, etc.

There was one very outstanding hospitality trait that abounded at that time.  Whenever we would go to visit someone, regardless of their station in life, rich or poor, they would always  offer a “merienda.”  A merienda is a snack.  Often they would send a child with a few centavos to the Sari Sari store to buy bread.  They very much wanted to bless us.  “Pastor,” they would say, “you eat.”  It seemed an insult to not at least take a small portion and eat; such gracious people.

We boiled our drinking water.  They didn’t have the purified water in the 5 gallon jugs you could purchase that are available now.  It was just a part of life and we adapted. We didn’t realize how “spoiled,” we were until we went to the Philippines.  My husband often said he wished every American child could spend a year there.  We saw poverty, and beggars aplenty, some with severe leprosy and other serious deformities.  Some looked perfectly fine.  A  Filipina friend we had in Baguio  had this funny experience to relate.  She felt sorry for this blind beggar, and gave them some pera, some money.  A short time later she saw this poor blind person watching a movie!  She was surprised, to say the least!  We saw and experienced  a lot of things for the first time.

My son would get amused when a taxi driver or a beggar would call him “Joe”.  Once on the way to immigration, the taxi got extremely close to another car and my son pulled his arm in from the open window where he had it resting.  The driver told him, “Relax Joe.”  I guess to him, and others, all male Americans were “Joe”.  This, no doubt, was a carryover from WWII when American G.I.’s were called “Joe”.

God bless you Friends and Family.  Thank you for stopping by.  This song explains why Christians serve the Lord in the calling to which the Lord has called them.  There are some things you couldn’t pay a Christian to do, yet they would be willing to do for the Lord.   I hope you enjoy this beautiful song.

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