The Foodie in Me

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Summers in Camiguin were always a good time well spent specially with treats like Torta (center) and other pastry products and kakanins. Yes, that tray of Lanzones (upper left corner) there is a photo bomber.

I hardly can remember the time I became aware with the significance of food. Before, I eat only when I am hungry or when I need sustenance to make it through the day. Meal time was just a matter of stuffing my face without really enjoying the meal being served.

Later, it was a cardinal rule in the family to eat whatever is there on the table and that somehow fixed the problem with me being a picky eater. It’s either I will eat or I will starve. My father had an aversion with fast food. That scrambled eggs with lots of ampalaya? Bring it on. That guisadong string beans? Will dig in. That camote tops salad? Yes please. Our househelp is discouraged from serving processed goods which normally would just require a can opener or a pair of scissors.

Food and the Soul

In my formative years, my summers in Camiguin with my nanay Ende (bless her soul) and tatay Corro Galendez were always a good time well spent because I get to eat to my heart’s content my favorite Torta (a pastry product similar to a muffin or a mamon) baked to perfection by nanay. Torta is best served either with a cup of hot coffee or sikwate.

Food makes me happy. Food makes everyone happy. Food binds us and enhances our relationships. The food joints we frequent to or the hearty meal we share and enjoy with our family and circle of friends make us communal eaters. Coming together to eat is an indispensable ritual ever since man started to appease his hunger.

I eat the food I love if time and chance allows me. I eat for pleasure and with high regard for taste and sensation. I slow down and cherish the food that makes my whole being come alive more often and more consciously because I find that the texture of food combined with flavors and aroma and color are delighful to experience with. I savor every morsel I can because it is both satisfying and nourishing the way a fine piece of bread, a slab of prime meat, a sumptuous soup, or a ripe fruit in season which masticates in my mouth and passes through my esophagus filling my tummy and transporting me to another plane of ethereal existence.

Food Writer Wannabe

As I am yapping about food here, something tells me that I am not credible enough to pull this off since I don’t look the part. My body frame is not round enough to warrant me approval or merit me some credentials. For a foodie to be convincing enough, he or she must at least look the part. One look which woud confirm one’s passion for food and eating. Unfortunately, I have some mad metabolism going on and it was just lately in my thirties that I gained a considerable amount of weight. Still, I would love to put on some more weight though.

My only issue is I do not have the appetite to match the big eaters out there. What I have is this growing fascination with all things food that I seek to read publications whipped out by notable food writers or celebrity chefs. I am not the most qualified person to write about food. I am not a chef nor a professional cook. However, I can cook. I can cook the kind of dish not complicated enough to be consumed by senile senior citizens. I can cook the kind of dish my colleagues would not decline helping themselves with just so I will not harbor feelings of ill will.

Honestly, The only thing i can declare here is my wanting to eat and penchant to write my eating experience in a subjective manner because what might be yummy for me might be considered yucky to others. Case in point is the delectable Durian.

Food and Social Media

Now that I already have an Instagram and Twitter account, my binge ogling and click liking food posts is now heightened. I believe it was in social media that the word “foodie” became popular. As per Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition:

Foodie (noun): A person who enjoys and cares about food very much. A person having an avid interest in the lastest food fads.

I click like and follow all food-related stuffs on social media. I follow professional cooks, chefs, professional eaters and restaurant critics. I take delight in reading people’s epicurean experience which they share it to the reading public with relative ease. Like the way the venerable Doreen G. Fernandez did. Also, I could at least name nine more celebrity chefs and food gurus I have read or saw on cable TV like Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, Nigel Slater, Andrew Zimmern, Padma Lakshmi, Adam Richman, Bobby Chinn and Jamie Oliver. So perhaps, if that makes me a foodie because I love to eat and I love reading food-related articles then so be it.

Food and the Farmer

We all have different opinions and different take about food. Whatever thoughts we have about it should further improve our appreciation to our farmers who laboriously feed us day in and day out. Certainly, food fuels the world and our farmers should get all the recognition and reverence they rightfully deserve.

The recently concluded 31st Founding Anniversary celebration of ATI marks a renewed commitment for the Institute to uplift and empower the lives of our farmers by providing ready access to training and education. Add to that the thrust of the Institute to make them capable farm business owners. I am glad that the current vision statement of ATI as stipulated on its Corporate Plan for CY 2017-2022 says “Food availability and affordability for every Filipino family through excellent extension services in agriculture and fisheries”.

I took the liberty to focus on the first four words of that statement because it gave me the impression that I will be eating and enjoying more rice cakes, corn rolls, nilupak na saging and other permutations of kakanins very soon. How’s that for a foodie?

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.