Friday, June 3, 2011


I was once told that, "It's just a job."

I heard this line after one TV show I was writing for had stopped airing. I am a newbie at TV writing and I left my corporate life so I could write...

...about food like  kalabaw lugaw (porridge with water buffalo meat) sold  from the lowly karinderia (street food stall) and the expensive Wagyu Beef cooked on volcanic rocks served in upscale restaurants.

I just want to write.

About kids with learning disabilities and how the world treats them like they will never be able to contribute to society.

I just want to write. 

About all the crazy shit stuck inside my head, from the crazy tikbalang afraid to make friends to the two menopausing women conversing about abortion on their way to Quiapo to the sub-atomic sized letters that make up a world brought alive by the continued narrative told by these letters when they are linked. 

I really, really just want to write.

My days of upward mobility are gone. Job titles don't appeal to me anymore. Doing a good job and contentment in what I do are what's important to me now. This is something I tried to share with my younger brother, Angelo, when we were discussing his career path in the culinary and hospitality industries. He couldn't quite picture what I meant when I said job titles shouldn't matter. But I guess that's him being a product of the era of labels, the time of technology.

Good thing that he has his own passions. Cooking being one of them, I tried to explain my new work philosophy to him using the cooking analogy.

One of the lowest positions in the modern kitchen is that of the garde manger or pantry chef who is in charge of the cold foods including the pates, cold appetizers and salads. But when a meal starts with the salad, it becomes the garde manger's job to make sure that the meal becomes a success right from the start. A badly dressed salad can make a meal the epic fail that you don't want it to be.  

Whatever your station is in life or the kitchen line, it's always important to do the best work, one that you can be proud of.

So after sharing that analogy, we went on to make a dressing based on Cafe by the Ruins' upland dressing. My brother made some adjustments to suit his taste. So, here it is.

1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
2 tbsp honey (or brown sugar)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tsps finely pressed garlic (or finely minced garlic)
1/2 cup corn oil (the aroma of any other kind of oil does not go well with this patis flavored dressing)
 Toast the sesame seeds. Mix in the lemon juice, patis, honey and garlic. Incorporate corn oil by pouring it as you whisk the liquid briskly. (If you want to do it faster, pour all the liquids in an airtight bottle, and shake vigorously). Add the sesame seeds just before serving.
 Serve with lettuce, arugula, halved seedless grapes, tomatoes and cucumber. I find that this goes well with salads that don't have any meat in it.

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