Sunday, January 9, 2011

Comfort Foods

When was the last time you craved for something that reminds you of home or gives you a feeling of security?  I just did an hour ago.  Jun and I had to go to Shopwise Commonwealth to buy red rice because we don't have any for tomorrow's lunch.  But aside from rice, a half gallon of Arce's Pistachio and a pint of Coffee Crumble ended up in our cart.  The pint is for me while the bigger one is for Jun and the kids.  I am no great lover of ice cream but I couldn't resist a scoop of Coffee Crumble.

Though I know I should go slow on sweets and fats, I feel a certain high and secure feeling after indulging in Coffee Crumble-flavored ice cream.  This kind of food which makes one feel good, gives a sense of nostalgia or self-satisfaction are tagged comfort food.  It doesn't have to be healthy but is a welcome respite from the raging storms inside you.  So folks, what are your comfort foods?

Aside from the Coffee Crumble ice cream that I adore, I feel good with the following;
  • Mommy's Arroz Caldo.  I remember that my mother didn't fail to have this on the dining table when one of her children lost his appetite for food because of sickness.  Who would not regain his appetite upon tasting this porridge-like chicken dish laced with ginger?  My son, Marco, likes his arroz caldo with quail eggs.
  • Tita Babie's Homemade Hot Chocolate.  As far as I am concerned, Christmas is not complete without Tita Babie's hot thick chocolate.  Ever since I can remember, our Noche Buena is always punctuated with this special brew .  I prefer my chocolate to be slightly bitter and Tita Babie has perfected it.  It is made from cacao beans that she picked at the back of her house and made into tablea.  No store bought tablea for her.
  • Mommy's Beef Pochero.  I love this beef soup dish because it is very flavorful what with slices of Spanish sausage and Chinese ham.  This is a complete meal in itself because of the vegetables and potatoes that come with it.  When I was having morning sickness when I was pregnant with Marco, this was the first dish that I was able to eat without throwing it out after.
  • Alaminos' Longganisa.  I love the garlicky and salty flavor of this sausage from Alaminos, Pangasinan.  It goes well with fried rice (fried in oil from the longganisa), fried egg and Tita Babie's hot chocolate.  My mother hails from this beautiful place known for the Hundred Islands.
  • Mama's Pili Molido.  This is my paternal grandmother's signature pili dessert.  When my grandmother was afflicted with first-stage cancer in her fifties, she would gift her doctor with this heavenly pili recipe whenever she goes for her regular check-up.  She made them herself.  Molido is made of grinded boiled pili nut, sweetened with condensed milk and some flavorings.  She would cook it much like how one cooks ube halaya, flatten it with a rolling pin and cut into rectangles.  She would wrap the rectangles one by one with wax baking paper very similar to the pastillas. I would patiently wait for her to finish so I can eat the extras.  With Mama already gone, I have to settle with Nimfa's molido which is available all year round in Sorsogon City.  Mama's version is better though.
Whenever I think of these foods, I can't stop from turning nostalgic.  They not only nourish but most importantly, they evoke fond memories of people and events.
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