Writing 101 – Childhood Treats

So the challenge I’m taking on today is about childhood treats; or at least, things that make me think of celebration.

Pfft. This is FAR from easy, because there are so many things that I think of as “celebration food” – especially from childhood, when I still had a grandma who enjoyed cooking tons of food for Christmas and birthday bashes. I could go on and on about morcon and scalloped potatoes (“when in doubt, add more cheese”). I fuckin’ love those.

Surprisingly, though, they’re not what I associate with special occasions. What I crave for when I need to celebrate something is a slice (okay, SEVERAL slices) of my favorite cake: blueberry cheesecake.

Isn’t it awesome? (image from http://highdesertvapes.com)

I don’t even remember when I first tasted this wonder of wonders; I only vaguely remember one of my favorite aunts sharing the refrigerator cake recipe with my mom. All know is that when I barely want anything else on my birthday. If I absolutely needed to have a birthday cake, I almost always expect it to be a blueberry cheesecake.

Maybe it’s because I love the taste of blueberry preserves, or it’s because mom used copious amounts of cream cheese when she used to make it (if it isn’t obvious yet, I’m a huge fan of cheese), with some nice buttery graham crackers (I am also a fan of butter). Maybe it’s because I’d gotten sick of sponge-based cakes by the time I first had this wonder, or it’s because it’s the first time I actually tasted blueberries in any form. Either way, I feel like the sugary-fruity sweetness coupled with salty-tangy-creamy goodness is the best way to remind yourself that everything is perfect in the world.

There are other food that I enjoy that involve cream cheese or blueberries; but I don’t think any of them combines those two things as well as the blueberry cheesecake does. The first time I had a forkful of this, felt the soft creamy texture of the cake mashing against the crumbly base on my tongue while little bombs of syrupy berries exploded against the roof of my mouth. There’s no other way to describe it: this is a SPECIAL cake.

Oh, I liked black forest (CHERRIES!) and red velvet (INDULGENCE!), too. But they never really felt as decadent. The experiences I had with them were not the same.

Dammit. Now I want some blueberry cheesecake.

What’s YOUR favorite childhood treat?

Writing Challenge 41 – My Idea of a Perfect Date

I think it’s serendipitous that I’m being asked about my idea of a perfect date a day after I had a really good date. 🙂

Let me give you a brief backgrounder: my birthday is June 3rd – but since that falls on a Monday this year (and Jie the boyfriend has work; the kind that doesn’t allow for paid vacation leaves), the only time I get to celebrate with him is June 1, Saturday. It may have been my brother Leo’s birthday, but we know that we tend to collectively celebrate birthdays on another, more neutral day. So it’s not that big of a deal.

I just really wanted to have time with Jie.

Me and Jie
Perfect Date Element 1: Jie’s presence (image from Facebook)

Because I’ve been wanting really good steak for weeks, Jie and I planned to celebrate my birthday by eating at Myron’s. As far as I’m concerned, the steak there is phenomenal and the sides are excellent. I always try to find extra-special excuses to eat there. If my birthday celebration can’t be considered special, then I don’t know what can be.

Steaks on a grill
Perfect Date Element 2: Great food (credit: Wikipedia)

It must be said, however, that the particular branch of Myron’s that we like to frequent isn’t exactly close by. So we arranged to meet up before heading over to the restaurant – at the nearest Fully Booked, where the person who gets there early can browse between bookshelves. I fricking love that place.

Fully Booked Logo
Perfect Date Element 3: A bookstore (image from fullybookedonline.com)

After the meal, we decided that we should see the movie “Now You See Me” – which has just come out here. Correctly thinking that it would be difficult for me to get home from Power Plant Mall after 5 pm, Jie insisted that we watch it at Robinson’s Magnolia (which happens to be a short walk from my family’s condominium) instead. So we watched it there – and allow me to say that it’s one of the movies that surprised me in a good way. I like the fact that I got things wrong – I can usually guess how a movie ends, and that was not the case this time. 🙂 I also love the fact that Jie was pleasantly surprised by it too.

A Night at the Movies (film)
Perfect Date Element 4: A really good movie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah, and before I forget – we had some time to kill before the movie started, so we wandered over to Data Blitz so we can browse for some games. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a truly serious gamer, despite my affection for my Nintendo DS, D-chan (yes, I name my gadgets – so?). But even I can’t help but feel all tingly when I see all those game titles. Plus, my boyfriend – the serious gamer in the relationship – is extra-sexy when he’s taking stock of all the games and consoles he wants to someday own. Yes, mom; I said it – Jie is sexy. Sorry, but I honestly think it’s true.

DataBlitz Logo
Perfect Date Element 5: A gaming store (image from datablitz.com.ph)

By the time the movie ended, it was raining like nobody’s business. I admit that it worried us a little bit – I could get home, with my trusty umbrella and the close proximity of the condo to the mall. But Jie didn’t have a brolly on him, his condo isn’t exactly a stone’s throw away, and he didn’t actually want me to lend him my umbrella. After a very mild argument involving me fussing over his health and him insisting that he can brave the weather, the skies decided to ease up on us. By the time we started walking for my place, the rain had slowed to a drizzle. By the time we got to the gate of the condominium compound, the rain had stopped almost completely. I didn’t have to worry too much, and he promised to wash off the rain as soon as he got home. We parted ways with a really good kiss. 🙂

Yes, mom. I kiss my boyfriend.

English: This is a picture of two teenagers ki...
Perfect Date Element 6: A little fall of rain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So there you have it! This is my idea of a perfect date. It is, of course, subject to change. But right now, I know I just had one of the best dates ever.

What would YOU consider a perfect date?

Writing Challenge 38 – My Favorite Food

Oh man, I don’t know what my favorite food is. I mean sure, there are things that I like to eat; but the “raaaaaaar gimme gimme or I will die” feeling really depends on my mood. Sometimes I want something extremely greasy. Sometimes I want something clean-tasting. Sometimes, I want non-greasy comfort food. And I never really know when they’re going to strike my fancy.

 

So I guess I’m just going to have to compromise and give you a list of my go-to food.

 

Medium Rare Steak

 

Carne para cuatro, servida poco hecha, en el r...
My inner carnivore is drooling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I didn’t start out liking steak; I found it too greasy or too dry. But that was before people introduced me to restaurants that actually knew how to cook these beautiful pieces of meat. Apparently, they are extremely tender and juicy in the most heavenly way if you cook it medium rare. Unfortunately, I think that takes some talent. Ah, well. I guess I just have to keep throwing money at chefs.

 

Sushi/Sashimi

 

Sushi Sashimi Platter at Suzuran Japan Foods T...
These sea creatures did not die in vain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

It all started as a bit of fun, really. I liked anime. I wanted to eat what those characters ate. I would order the odd cheap sushi and sashimi platter. Then all of a sudden, people started setting up some genuinely good (and fairly affordable) Japanese restaurants that showed me what REAL sushi tastes like. And now I actively crave for these things every once in a while. Especially when there’s uni (urchin) available.

 

Salad

 

Caesar Salad
I indulge my inner herbivore too (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Before you suspect that I only enjoy my food when it involves the death of animals, I’d like to point out that I have my salad days too. Sometimes, I don’t feel like having a whole lot of protein (stop laughing, perverts!), so I look for the greenest, leafiest dish that’s offered on the menu and order that. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and – contrary to what many people say – it can be filling too.

 

Original Buko Pie

 

Photo of the only coconut pie that counts
This is the only coconut pie that deserves to be called coconut pie. (Image from Orient Buko Pie Facebook Page)

 

You know that line “once you go black, you’ll never go back”? A similar sentiment can be applied to this pie. I bought some of this stuff on a whim while I was on my way home from an out-of-town roadtrip, and now I’m willing to pester my family to drive about three hours out of town just to buy at least six boxes of this stuff. It’s so good that people line up for it. If you come to the Philippines, look for this shop. It will change your life.

 

Goto

Goto
Perfect sick day/rainy day food. (Image from iskandals.com)

 

I’ve always been a sickly person, and I often suffer from stomach problems. On days when it gets especially bad (or when it’s just really rainy), I often crave for this dish. Sometimes, we make this from home; other times, when I’m with my dad, he goes out to the market to buy some of this comforting deliciousness. The best part really is the tripe. People may disagree, but I stand by my conviction on this.

There are tons of other food out there that I go out of my way for on a regular basis; but these are the really big ones. Someday, I might write a story incorporating every dish I’ve ever loved and have the main character fall into a fatal torpor. What a good way to die.

 

Cooking, With Feeling

This was originally written in July 24, 2009, as part of the old Reading in Between blog, which stopped being about lovely stuff to read.

I have recently discovered the joys of cooking – and for the most part, that is pretty much what cooking is all about for me.

However, it has been changing for the last few weeks and, before I knew it, I was starting to cook whenever I had a bad day, whenever I feel really sad and want to feel good about myself.  I suppose that this technically falls under the category of “fun”, but I think it’s something deeper.

That being said, the fact that I’m cooking when I’m going through certain emotional states reminds me of this book that I had read back in college.  The title of the book is “Serving Crazy With Curry”, and it was written by Amulya Malladi.  “Serving Crazy” is apparently not Malladi’s best book – in fact, many people seem to agree that it is definitely not as good as her debut novel “A Breath of Fresh Air”.  Not having read any of her other books to this day (not for the lack of trying to find them in local book stores, mind you), I wouldn’t have the authority to comment.  What I CAN say, however, is that I completely fell in love with the plot of the book, and the stories of the characters themselves.  I do admit that the characters themselves are a little flat, but they all had backstories, and I simply loved the complexity that their own stories lent them – even if their voices were not that clear. Continue reading