Bitter wonderful | SunStar

Bitter wonderful

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Bitter wonderful

Friday, November 10, 2017

“DON’T be bitter” is what we tell people who have been cheated by a lover or those who have been placed in the “friendzone.”

Bitter taste is unpopular, and yet it has many fans when it comes to composing “hugot” lines (lit. to draw out or pull out, especially refers to emotions or ideas). The following aren’t really hugot lines in millennial terms, but just play along with your Uncle.

Take it from my distant cousin Aristotle: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”

A near copy-cat is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a former neighbor of mine: “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

Here’s a great comeback when someone steps on you. My best friend Maya Angelou once told me: “You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

So come to think of it, now I say, “Hashtag bitterness is not bad when placed in a better perspective.” That brings me to bitter gourd or paleya in Cebuano.

Paleya is an overlooked fruit vegetable due to its infamous taste, and that’s tragic because it is a vitamin pill in a fruit. According to food.ndtv, it has iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A and C, dietary fiber and calcium.

When sliced thinly and mixed with apple cider vinegar, honey and salt, and thinly sliced radish, it becomes an outstanding salad that pairs well with grilled pork or fish.

Don’t just saute it with egg and sliced pork. Saute it with ground beef, minced bell peppers and a handful of raisins. If you like, add banana ketchup.

Make meaty paleya: saute garlic and onion, then pork or beef strips; add sliced paleya and slurry mixed with oyster sauce to taste.

Stuffed paleya starts with the fruit sliced lengthwise; scrape off the white membrane and seeds; blanch quickly; then cut into six portions. Stuff with lean sauted ground beef and beaten egg, and season to taste. Top with grated cheese and grill until cheese melts.

Paleya’s health benefits are legendary. According to food.ndtv: (1) It may help in maintaining blood sugar levels; (2) may lower bad cholesterol levels; (3) can prevent premature skin aging, reduce incidence of acne, eczema and even psoriasis; (4) it may help reduce hangovers and can cleanse the liver; (5) it helps in weight loss; (6) boost the immune system; and (7) it’s good for the eyes.

So how can you hate something bitterly good?

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on November 11, 2017.

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