When I was a kid my parents thought I was sick because I had a shit appetite. I wasn’t a good eater.
I was also a very slow eater. I remember eating nilaga, a Filipino boiled beef dish, and chewing the beef until all the flavour and juices were sucked out of the meat. Then I’d spit out the chewed up hunk of meat back on to my plate. Like wet, brown, ate up paper. My Mother would make me put it back in my mouth. Then the process would start all over again.
My Grampa had this thing with me and my cousin where he’d poke our bellies after we’d claimed to be finished eating. If our bellies weren’t solid he’d tell us we haven’t eaten enough and my cousin and I would have to return to the table. So I’d be there for hours.
My Mother says that she’d come home late from work, open the door to our apartment and see my Grandparents watching TV in the living room. Then she’d look over to the dining area and see me still sitting at the table moving food around my plate with the lights off. After my Grandparents had finished eating, they left me at the table, not allowing me to leave until I had cleared my plate.
I just couldn’t sit through a meal. Even today I still can’t just sit and complete a task. Even writing this is taking all my will. Looking back I think it’s because I wouldn’t shut up. By the time I was done saying whatever I needed to say, my food got cold or unappetizing, and more difficult to consume. But otherwise I was into food.
My Mother wasn’t one of those parents that only fed their kids what they wanted to eat. I had to eat whatever she put in front of me. Cool kid’s food I saw on TV never made it on to our table. Never had Hamburger Helper or Shake n Bake or even Kraft Dinner really. It was pure Pig’s Blood stew or bone marrow soup or shrimps with the heads on. Gradually I developed a taste for it.
One of my first memories at the table was my Mother putting hot sauce on a fork and telling me to lick it. I cried. “Training me for later,” she said.
But it was probably less due to my Mother and more my need for attention that got me into food. I noticed that the more “Filipino-ish” food I ate and the more Filipino I ate it, the more praise I received from adults. Apparently other Filipino kids didn’t have to eat Filipino food. Some didn’t at all.
So when a whole fried fish would be at the table and I’d go at it with my bare hands, dipping the flesh into vinegar, my Titos and Titas would say “Wow, galing!” And my parents would be like, “yeah, he eats everything. He likes this stuff.” ”Mabuti naman,” they’d say. I enjoyed that very much. Even to the point where I showed off. Maybe it was a point of pride for my parents too. There really wasn’t much else for them to brag about.
I think i might have done the same thing with God.
So while other kids could play piano or were getting the best grades in their class, I ate the eyeballs off fish faces and sucked the brains out of shrimp heads, bitches.
Gourmandism is one of the most important influences in our social life; it gradually spreads that spirit of conviviality which brings together from day to day differing kinds of people, melts them into a whole, animates their conversation, and softens the sharp corners of the conventional inequalities of position and breeding.
It is gourmandism, too, which motivates the effort any host must make to take good care of his guests, as well as their own gratitude when they perceive that he has employed all his knowledge and tact to please them; and it is fitting at this very place to point out with scorn those stupid diners who gulp in disgraceful indifference the most nobly prepared dishes, or who inhale with impious inattention the bouquet of a limpid nectar.
General rule. Any preparation which springs from a high intelligence demands explicit praise, and tactful expression of appreciation must always be made whenever it is plain that there is any attempt to please.
Stumbled upon this poster while looking for Depression-era signage.
According to the source on the personal website of a UCLA reference librarian:
This is just one of several signs seen in California in the late 1920s and 1930s. Another such sign read, No Dogs or Filipinos Allowed. And yet another sign threatened towns that did not get rid of Filipinos. It was a time when Filipino were made to feel unwelcome and were even victims of racial violence. Anti-Filipino riots broke out in Exeter in the San Joaquin Valley, and in Watsonville, and even spilled over into other communities in California, such as Stockton. There were anti-Filipino incidents elsewhere in this same time period, such as in Yakima, Washington.
“Origin of poster: Positively No Filipinos Allowed ?”, in Americans of Filipino Descent - FAQs
“I have thought on it, as has many other, and I am tempted to put the desire for fermented liquors, which is unknown to animals, beside that fear of the future which is equally foreign to them and to regard both these manifestations as distinctive attributes of man, that masterpiece of the last sublunary revolution.”—Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
TO SERVE AS A PREAMBLE TO HIS WORK AND AS A LASTING FOUNDATION FOR THE SCIENCE OF GASTRONOMY
I. The Universe is nothing without the things that live in it, and everything that lives, eats.
II: Animals feed themselves; men eat; but only wise men know the art of eating.
III: The destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves.
IV: Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.
V: The Creator, while forcing men to eat in order to live, tempts him to do so with appetite and then rewards him with pleasure.
VI: Good living is an act of intelligence, by which we choose things which have an agreeable taste rather than those which do not.
VII: The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter of what place in history or society; they can be part of all his pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.
VIII: The table is the only place where a man is never bored for the first hour.
IX: The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star.
X: Men who stuff themselves and grow tipsy know neither how to eat nor how to drink.
XI: The proper progression of courses in a dinner is from the most substantial to the lightest.
XII: It is heresy to insist that we must not mix wines: a man’s palate can grow numb and react dully to even the best bottle, after the third glass from it.
XIV: A dinner which ends without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.
XV: We can learn to be cooks, but we must be born knowing how to roast.
XVI: The most indispensable quality of a cook is promptness and it should be that of the diner as well.
XVII: A host who makes all his guests wait for one latecomer is careless of their well-being.
XVIII: He who plays host without giving his personal care to the repast is unworthy of having friends to invite to it.
XIX: The mistress of the house should always make sure that the coffee is good, and the master that the wines are of the best.
XX: To invite people to dine with us is to make ourselves responsible for their well-being for as long as they are under our roofs.
“I walk downstairs and see the new trail or new hire doing knife work, and they don’t realize that I’m watching, and they do it the right way— which means the long and stupid way (which is cooking with integrity) … cooking or prepping something, with no one watching, realizing there are a million shortcuts but taking the hard road [without] any glory or satisfaction from one’s peers. I see this and walk back upstairs, see that the restaurants don’t need me at all, that they run better during service without me. That makes me smile.”—David Chang via Anthony Bourdain The Fury, Medium Raw