‘Kalamunggay’ and farting-A A +A
The “S” Factor
Friday, October 11, 2013
BACK home, my ‘Nanay (Mother) Lily’ would remind me never to leave food on the table. It is a tradition handed down to me from one plate to another, so to speak.
“Out there somewhere there are people not eating and looking for food. Don’t waste food,” my ‘Nanay Lily’ would always intone while frowning on the few morsels of food that I left on my plate.
This tradition is quite ingrained in me until now that I am here in my second home in the US.
At first it was okay eating all food until the signs are visible. It was a delight eating American food for the first time and in fact early on, I usually ask for second servings.
Cheese melting in your tongue, sweet-colored molasses linger on my taste buds long after I've consumed the food.
And I don't get to eat like this once in a blue moon but all the time. I began falling in love with American food. Who could resist spaghetti with homemade meat sauce?
The aroma of garlic mashed potatoes is irresistible and eating them has become a habit three times a day.
At times, I remind Ronnie to take me to Carrabbas Italian Grill which offers the best hot bread and panini.
The ‘eat all you can’ shrimps at Red Lobsters is awesome too. All kinds of shrimps would be served to your heart's content.
This list doesn't include the all-time favorite foods at Cracker Barrel or the Olive Garden.
While Ronnie is partial to Outback steakhouse, I eat whatever portions I can.
Then the blood works came and my doctor surprised me with the diagnosis that I now have a border line case of type 2 diabetes.
Oh no. This is how it happened; here in the States, they always serve meals in big sizes all the time including the pancake glazed with blueberries and butter as big as a basin at I Hop or at Cracker Barrel.
My first plan was to bring the food home. It was okay at first, there's no guilty conscience until the leftovers piled up to the ceiling of the refrigerator. One to five boxes at a time, it really became difficult to handle.
I was thinking also of calling Jesette Kelly or Doreen Reynolds if they want food but I ruled it out knowing that they have enough food of their own.
I could not leave it at the restaurant because I know it would end up at the trash bin.
My thoughts would go back to the “no food left on the table” rule. The result is me gaining 13 pounds in three years on my frail, five-foot body, all stuck in my belly.
Compounding my situation is the style of cooking which is entirely different from our own home-cooking. Our cooking is limited to boiling, frying, baking or stewing with a lot of spices.
It's not like here in the US where they always cook with butter, salt, cheese, and then adding salad dressing as thick as a human palm. We seldom cook that way back home.
I grew up with ‘malunggay’ (‘kalamunggay’ in Bisaya) and lemon grass better known as ‘tanglad.’ I want to eat this kind of food now.
It's been a delight to be served hot soup with ginger, tomatoes and lemon grass with a little slice of fish or native chicken. Not only is it simple, it's also healthy.
In my family, aside from the problem of who would wash the dishes, farting is expected after eating.
Drinking cola was a late trend but here in my adopted country, eating a lot of cheese doesn't get you farting, but leads you a lot to the bathroom.
Farting is a big issue here in the US. When I was new here, Ron would complain that my farting is nasty. Whether it was the food causing some metabolic changes in me, I could only guess.
Yes, he is right to question that, but little by little I told him there are times that I couldn't avoid doing it.
Besides I told him I do it alone. I told him about the story of my maternal ‘lola’ (grandmother, may her soul rest in peace) Mimay Ejem Espellarga who said that farting that stays in the body is money for the doctor.
I think Ron understood the logic behind that saying because he feels quite at ease to fart himself even if I am around. The first time he did it I told him “don’t worry, you are fine.”
I'm drifting away from my previous point, but the truth is I've learned to throw food already and not bringing home the leftovers.
Best of all, I've started asking for a kiddie meal.
And I do miss eating ‘kalamunggay’ and ‘camote’ tops all the time.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 12, 2013.