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Food Porn

Eric Gerard D. Ruiz | Tarantado Asintado

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Nothing beats the heat of the sun except for a cone of ice cream or a cup of slurpee. A cup of hot tsokolate and budbod would heat up a rainy, cold night. A Sunday lunch with the family will not be complete without paella, rilyenong banguscaldereta, menudo, and ube halaya. A movie night with friends will not be complete without chicharon, Crispy Patata, Nova, Cracklings, Pringles, and Lays. Fiestas will not be celebrative without lechon, humba (pork stew with beans), afritada, lumpiang Shanghai, embutido, and dinuguan. Birthdays will be never be complete without spaghetti and fried chicken in the platter. All happy days are related with food. Even in funerals, there is food: mani, candy, ensaymada, kropek, etc. Food chooses no occasion. It gives people comfort. It symbolizes many things: friendship, loyalty, generosity, and care. Beyond all doubts and certainties, love or hate, friendship or enmity, bitterness and sweetness, food is just the best.

Food is the embodiment of the true nature of caring and affection. It is the only thing that conveys good faith and trust. Giving food bears no selfish intentions. “Biyaya yan, tanggapin mo” is what the elderly would always say. An ice cream, for example, given to a friend is sign of trust and generosity. A nice dinner with your roommate who you helped finish his/her thesis is a better payment rather than money. Two bars of Cadbury would be a nice gift to your high school English teacher who helped you edit essays and position papers. A basket of fruits for someone dear who is in the hospital would be a nice gift with a cute card that says “Get well soon!” A bottle of Chivas Regal for an old pal way back college days who is now celebrating his 60th birthday would be a classy and elegant birthday gift. Anything will do, as long as it’s food. People always wanted to be labeled, and giving food would be the best way to do so. People label you as “rich” if you can afford to give expensive wines, chocolates, and other edible stuff, especially if you’re working overseas. You’re “rich” if you have lechon in the table during fiestas. Every New Year’s Eve, our neighbor would give us their handa. It has been a tradition ever since. I grew up seeing that, and have always longed for it. The routine is the same: receive the plate, transfer the food in our own plates, wash the neighbor’s plate, fill it with our own food, and give it back. It’s just a barter of handa between neighboring houses.

The variety of food around the world only shows how it assimilates into the culture and traditions. It’s amazing how food became the circumventing point of events. From a simple dinner in Why Not, how did it end up in wedlock? From a simple cake with a card saying “I’m Sorry,” how did it restore broken friendships? The giving of food has been a symbol of heartfelt care and forgiveness. A simple sorry would restore old pals, but a nice cake with a decoration saying, “I’m sorry. By the way, it’s your fault. Just joking,” would bring reconciliation to a less awkward situation. I remembered when Sir Warly made his famous Red Velvet cake for the Weekly Sillimanian’s Christmas party. When he was asked, the cake would cost around 800 to 900 if sold. The act of bringing food to a group showed importance and meaning. Giving food was never wrong, and receiving food was never a “kakapalan ng mukha.” It is a sign of blessing and abundance, and how it can be shared to the people you love or the people you value the most.

In a world full of hatred and mayhem, nothing would beat food. It is the only thing that can stop the war caused by rumbling stomachs. It is the only one that bears clean intentions and sincerity. It gives a sense of diversion to the busy world and lustful retreat to the uncertainties of life. Food is a pivot where everyone can bring happiness and care to the people they care dearly. My history teacher taught us how to practically explain the Roman Catholic’s Sign of the Cross. He said, “You think about your stomach, let both of your hands work, and you eat.”

Food is life. Life is food. If you don’t eat food, it rots. Thus if you don’t enjoy life, think of it like you’re not eating at all. You’re rotting in the inside. Why? It’s because you are of what you eat, and you become of what you chose to be.

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