I love a good coffee table book. I savor the feeling of the glossy pages and the heaviness of the hardbound book in my hands. It’s a visual and tactile feast! They give me joy.
The first time I leafed through the pages of Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Amy Besa-Dorotan and Remy Dorotan was three years ago. I was perusing the shelves of our city library for just the type of food book. There were many featuring cuisines from France, Spain, Japan but barely anything about the Philippines. So I got very excited when I found this one book that told our culinary stories! Last Christmas, my aunt gave the exact same to our family. Maybe aunts have some sort of ESP.
What I love most about it is the different family recipes the authors gathered from Luzon and Visayas. Being from Mindanao, I was only able to appreciate the diversity of Philippine cuisine when I studied in Quezon City. School trips brought me to different places in the North such as Lucban, Baguio, Pampanga.
Informative and personal, memories of taste are recounted. Native ingredients are reintroduced.
What keeps this book from being truly comprehensive about Philippine Kitchens is the lack of information on Mindanao food. The main focus was Luzon (Ilocos, Zambales, Bicol, Pampanga) and Visayas (Cebu and Bacolod).
Still it is very inspirational. They pose a simple question that garners a multitude of answers worth exploring: What are your food memories?
It is my dream to explore such memories of taste in Mindanao! There will be plenty to unearth and rediscover.