“Smells like Christmastime” again!
It’s always a feel good in December! The cool breeze in the air …
Early morning scents tickling a craving, from the freshly wood-fired-oven-baked “pan-de-sal” (salt bread), to the early riser breakfast meals and a variety of Filipino cuisine.
Hot home-made “tablea” (hot cacao chocolate) and “puto-bumbong” (steamed sweet glutinous rice with coconut meat); “bibingka” (rice cake with toppings) eaten with “salabat” (ginger tea); “Dinuguan” (pork blood stew), “puto” (plain rice cake) with sliced ripe mango; “Suman-sa-liya” (sweetened glutinous rice wrapped in palm leaf), with “kapeng barako” (native arabica coffee);
“Suman” (sweetened glutinous rice or cassava wrapped in banana leaf), “biko” (sweetened glutinous rice topped with caramelled grated coconut meat); “kutsinta” (sweetened lye water with flour topped with grated plain coconut meat); “Palitaw” (sweetened glutinous rice rolled in sugar and grated plain coco meat), and “Pichi-pichi”(sweetened cassava rolled in grated plain coco meat).
All are mostly glutinous rice-based delicacies eaten with a cup of “tablea” or “kapeng barako”.
And when “Noche Buena” comes,
As one traditional Filipino Christmas Carol (titled “Noche Buena”) says:
“… Nagluto ang Ate ng manok na tinola (sister cooked chicken soup)
Sa bahay ng Kuya ay mayro’ng litsonan pa (big brother has roasted pig)
Ang bawat tahanan may handang iba’t iba.” (every house serves various dishes)
“Tayo na giliw magsalo na tayo (Come and let us share the food)
Mayro’n na tayong tinapay at keso …” (We got cheese and bread)
These are the traditional “Noche Buena” dishes. Mostly of rice cakes, fruits and soup. Not every house serves “Lechon” (roasted pig).
The hand of time rolled and we have:
Ball ham, “crispy pata” (deep fried pork legs); “chicharong-bulaklak” (deep fried pork small intestine) with liquor or wine; Spicy “sisig” (diced pigs’ face-skin, liver, meat with butter and spices);
“kaldereta” (goat stew in tomato sauce and spices); “pata tim” (pork legs stew in soy sauce and spices) with rum or brandy; Lasagna, baked macaroni and spaghetti; and all the sweetest desserts imaginable, from cakes to chocolate fondue fountain.
These are the usual “Noche Buena” dishes in the current time.
The traditional “Noche Buena” has come off a long long way far different from the “Noche Buena” of today.
With the current usual “Noche Buena”, the skinny has gained weight; and the physically active has weakened.
One Filipino television commercial promotes: “ang bangkang ginamitan ng marine epoxy ay balot sa bakal” (a boat applied with marine epoxy is as if wrapped with iron sheet).
I would say, “ang batang noche Buena ay balot sa taba” (a “Noche Buena-born baby” would in turn be wrapped with fats).
But, is the traditional “Noche Buena” better than todays’?
It would seem that the kind of “Noche Buena” today is not objectively bad at all. What we really have to do is to eat in moderation. Cliché as it is, over indulging in anything is bad. A balanced diet would be perfect: Meat, fruits and green, leafy vegetables.
I wonder what really happens with the human heart after over-eating? What effect has the “Noche Buena” dishes have with the human heart? Can we do anything to avoid the bad effects? How?
I often hear people wishing its Christmas everyday. On second thought, it rather not be. With the intake, nah! Let’s stay around longer. No hurry, folks!
Would you agree?