Writing About Food

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Baguio Stories

Friday, April 11, 2014


THE Doreen Fernandez Food Writing Contest is an annual competition that has been around for more than ten years now. Each year, the contest organizers announce a theme and corresponding guidelines. In response to the annual call, many a food aficionado puts pen to paper, so to speak, or fingers to keyboard. Last year, the theme was “rice,” that staple of many peoples in Asia and beyond, also to celebrate the International Year of Rice.

One of the many foodies who answered the call was my Mother, Ruby. She put in two entries. One was “The Equalizer,” which detailed how rice is enjoyed at lunch by the people in high and low places and all those in between. You can be having lunch in Malacanang, or in school, or on the street, or in the office. Wherever, rice is the necessary staple, enjoyed by all, regardless of station in life. The other piece was “The Odyssey,” published in this paper last Wednesday as “The Journey.” This was the story of the journey of rice from China to the rest of the world, with a focus on the Philippines.

As the fortunes would have it, my mother won! She placed third, and was the only main prize winner who was unable to make it to Manila for the award ceremony, of which the picture on last Wednesday’s “Live!” section was all about. Her pen name for that piece was “Zadkiel’s Lola.” Zadkiel? I know. Guess.

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Zadkiel is the name of an Archangel. His powers are of transmutation are very strong. He is also in change of Saturday, the day when someone I know was born. Ruby is his grandmother’s name. Now, Doreen. Doreen is the name of the woman who made food writing fashionable in this country, even as we bow to Nora Daza, whose cookbooks guided many a Filipino housewife long before that. Doreen Fernandez is the name of the exceptional artist who is honored by the annual food writing contest that encourages writing about that most basic of all needs: food.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 12, 2014.

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