I DON'T know with Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), but the rainy season officially kicked off last week in my book of foolish ideas and wrong notions. (The first edition will soon be launched. Watch for it.)

Gone are the comments about the day being too hot. People have replaced it with “the mud puddles drive me crazy” and “flooded streets delay my going home.” We don’t want the heat, but when we get rain, we reject it too.

“Kon pareho pa nako ang Ginoo, Ober, hagbay ra nakong gidukol ang mga tawo kay dili maka-decide kon gusto ba sa init o bugnaw,” my friend Illustracio commented.

“Magbuot ang uban sa Ginoo. Gusto nila suguon nga moulan sa gabii kon tingkatulog na, ug moinit kon tingtrabaho. Mahimo ba gud na? Unya, unsaon man tong mga night duty bi? Maulanan sila,” I told Illustracio.

The direction of the conversation should clue you in about what I have in mind for this week’s column menu. Rain makes the days cooler and nights mildly chilly, enough to make us pull out the fluffy blanket to cover cold toes. Old recipe books are also taken down from the shelf and are opened to pages for warm food.

Warm food always brings memories of home before adulthood and problems changed our outlook in life. As children, we became excited at the thought of thick monggo soup with alugbati for lunch and tinolang manok nga kinamunggayan for dinner.

We were that simple. How we wish we could go back to being a child with eyes that saw everything as new and wonderful. And a simple meal as the highest point of the day.

This reverie makes us think of all the warm and delicious food we had as children. Perhaps it is time to list them down, lest adulthood erase our memory of childhood joys. The list is not written in the order of one being the “top” choice, but it is written as the mind recalls, at random. Perhaps the first one would be a clue of what food came up first, and so on. Here’s the list.

Tinolang manok. One rainy mountain trip when I was around 12, found me and my parents in the house of a farmer, a family friend. For lunch, his wife boiled one whole native chicken and added sliced green papaya and sili leaves to the pot. The broth was light but flavorful, and there was the hint of wood smoke. To this day I don’t know what miracle she added to the soup base. Whenever I feel sad, I think of this divine soup and my joy is restored.

Kapeng init ug pan de sal. Illustracio told me he grew up in a house that loved coffee. During the rainy season, his mom would boil ground coffee, strain it and each family member would add his desired amount of milk and sugar into his cup. The bread of honor was pan de sal, but sometimes it was pan Frances or Elorde.

Today’s 3-in-1 commercial coffee serves as subtitute to the time-honored weapon against the cold, but Illustracio misses his mom’s ritual.

Sikwate. They don’t call it sikwate anymore; it’s hot choco or coco with mallows or Milo. This one made my aunt, Tita Blitte, laugh. I remember her fixing a big batch of sikwate one rainy morning. The aroma of the brew perfumed the house far better than home freshener. She served it with pots of cream, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon. I had mine just with cream and sugar. Whenever it rains, even hot Milo restores my faith in humanity because of Tita Blitte.

The list could go up to 10 items but like sugar and spice, just little will make the cake and hot drink palatable.