Sira-sira store: Special foods-A A +A
By Ober Khok
Friday, October 12, 2012
THERE are auspicious foods eaten during special or seasonal occasions, as if every day were not special enough.
Look at it this way. If you were told you would die in one week, wouldn’t you go through a whole ton of special-occasions-only foods even if it isn’t Christmas, New Year or not yet even your birthday?
Now that sounds pretty special, doesn’t it? It changes your frame of mind in view of eternity.
Special foods are more often than not foods that are also considered lucky. Everybody wants to have a piece of luck, whether it’s found in a pizza (round shape) or pasta (long life).
There are traditional foods considered as harbingers of good luck. The Spanish people pop into their mouths 12 grapes at midnight of New Year. Each round piece represent the 12 months of the year.
Scientifically, grapes do bring good luck. Many people consider grapes as the “queen of the fruits” (but it is also said that jackfruit is the “king of the fruits”). A berry, grapes contain phyto-nutrients like vitamins and minerals. So maybe eating grapes—not just 12 pieces—can really boost your chances with Lady Luck. Health-wise, that is.
Ring shapes are thought to be healthy because it symbolizes continuity. In this category we have doughnuts, although we don’t think nutritionists consider the greasy snack as lucky for our arteries. When we slice black or stuffed olives, we get a ring-shaped morsel. Although they are salty, olives contain linolenic oil, good for
breastfeeding moms, which makes it lucky for baby and mother.
Sliced pineapples lend a ring shape when cored. And we know from TV host Kim Atienza
that pineapples (he promotes a brand of canned pineapple juice) are rich in vitamin C, manganese, calcium and phosphorus among other nutrients.
The fruit is promoted as a good guard against hypertension, cancer, stroke and even macular degeneration, according to Knowledge Base.
Next is pork. Why is pork so lucky when it is considered to be the menace to our health? The pig, from which we get our pork, represents prosperity. But then, the pig isn’t so lucky when you think about it. The poor thing gives up its life just to bring us good luck.
Pomegranates, which we don’t see very often out in the market, is considered special and therefore lucky, based on our definition earlier. Why is this obscure symbol—many people have not seen or eaten this fruit—so lucky or special?
It has many seeds and therefore it represents abundance, fertility and unity.
There are many other special/lucky foods in our refrigerator. Some websites list green leafy vegetables as lucky items (green represents wealth) and fish. Oh, so why is this marine creature considered lucky-special?
The Chinese word for fish sounds like yu or health, which is a good thing to have. So we are to eat fish because fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that are thought to prevent cardiovascular disease, inflammation, cancer and even psychiatric disorders, according to wikipedia.
This is all so very nice, but we think the luckiest food is lanzones. The old Cebuano word for this fruit is buwahan or bulahan, which is also the word for “lucky.”
Each time we pop a sweet-sour segment into our mouths, our sense of luck increases.
Surely, eating the fruit must protect us from all harm. That is the function of talismans. They make us brave and buwahan makes us brave enough to face another day, whether at home or at work.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 13, 2012.