Monday, November 10, 2008

How This Food and Cooking Blog was Born

Sometime in September, I received a surprise e-mail from a friend whom I have not heard from and seen in forty years. The e-mail began with a greeting, "Hi, kindred spirit," and it originated in North America. My eyes widened because it was one of the biggest surprises I have ever received in my life. One of the amazing gifts of the Internet is its unbelievable reach. But with the arrival of Google, that reach is magnified even further because with it, we can "google" a name and in a matter of seconds, pages and pages of entries are presented to the searcher, and the name search almost always ends successfully. That friend of mine used Google to pluck my name from cyberspace, and she locked on to my name and even acquired one of my e-mail addresses.

Cut to the chase. That initial e-mail connection was followed by strings of e-mails in which we connected and filled in the gaps between the time we met in the late 60s, when both of us were attending college, until this September when our lives intersected once again. One of the enduring links in our connection is our common love and respect for food. When she told me about her few interests, she said that she was a "foodie" and had attended culinary classes and learned to make pastries. She also told me that she had dabbled in photography, but that interest did not take as deeper roots as her interest in food did. And so, we had a common interest to talk about. We were so enthusiastic about our common interest in food that we concocted ways to keep the interest going, like exchanging recipes, cooking them for our respective families, and grading ourselves as to the success of our efforts. We also began sending pictures of our creations to introduce a second dimension to the foods that we were talking about. We talked about our favorite restaurants in our respective locales, and explored the possibility of learning from each other; teaching each other how to prepare our own favorite recipes in person sometime next year.

That common interest has spun an e-mail exchange so fast and furious, that if we were talking on the phone, as we were wont to do before the invention of the the Internet, we would have burned the phone lines and spent hundreds of dollars on phone bills. All of these e-mail exchanges were almost always centered on our common fascination with food and how we could keep that interest going for the both of us. As this connection continued to bloom, she steered me to her favorite food blog spots, including one that's emanating from Manila, and having visited it myself, I was amazed by how much food touches the lives of everyone in the planet.
I am not a classically trained chef. I am not even a professional cook. But I have learned how to cook from my mother at an early age. Both my parents were lovers and respecters of food. My mother was always in demand as a cook when fiesta came to our small barrio in Bulacan, and my father introduced our family to a traditional weekend fare of nilagang baka that he prepared and cooked himself in a huge stock pot that he filled almost to the brim with best beef shanks and bones with marrows that he could find from Arranque market in Manila. Into that huge stewing pot he dropped large cubes of Burbank potatoes and bok choy, cabbage, string beans and ears of corn, and growing up, that became the signature entree in most of our weekend repasts.

My friend and the e-mail exchanges, and the endless talks about food has heightened my dormant interest in food and cooking, and brought me to the realization that I too has something to say about the delights of gastronomy, and being a journalist, I felt that it's time that I shared that enthusiasm and love for food with as many people as would be interested to read about them.

And so, my friends, you'll be hearing from me from now on.

I really enjoyed writing this blog. But maybe you didn't enjoy reading it. Tell me what you think by clicking on "comments" and leaving your impressions.

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