Is it possible?

For me to lose my appetite?  I've never lost my appetite.  Not through chemo, gross movies, gross life events…well, ok—the sight of poverty makes me want to abdicate all my food, but not my appetite.  This flu has me searching for something that sounds good to eat.  Hard to believe, but true.

Alas, I can smell spring outside, so the capacity to breathe (and therefore stand up and cook) has somewhat returned.  However, I still feel peaked, so comfort food calls, read filipino homecooking.  Having now gone home to the motherland, I have a renewed commitment to learning to cook my native food –  the right way (without the aid of sauce packets and bottled sauces).  I've always felt it was my love of food, and more specifically filipino food, that's kept me eating.  There were times during chemo treatment when I couldn't taste anything, so relying on the memory of how something tasted or smelled went a long way for me.  I imagine this works best with one's favorite foods, although many people lose their taste for those favorite foods during treatment especially because they aren't able to taste it.  So powerful food memories can be helpful (maybe not if you're on a deserted island with few food resources, but you know what I mean).
I found some leftover lechon (roast pork or carnitas) in the freezer.  Only one thing to do with that – make paksiw.  One can paksiw anything – chicken, fish, pork, dry turkey white meat – it's basically a stew with vinegar, sugar, spices, and liver sauce.  Liver sauce? If that's too weird or unavailable, use Mang Tomas' All-Purpose Sauce.  That would be for the not-committed-to-authenticity folks.  It contains no liver or strange ingredients and mimics the flavor/texture well enough for this purpose.  And since I'm no food blogger, here's a pretty good recipe with photos (courtesy of Market Man, one of Anthony Bourdain's hosts for the Philippine show).  Serve with plenty of steamed rice and sliced tomatoes if you wish.  Some sort of vegetable would probably be helpful (spinach or other wilted green), and paksiw is often eaten garnished with achara – pickled shredded green papaya, carrots, etc that resembles a crispier sauerkraut.
So, comfort food and the Winter Olympics.  I hope I can write some version of this post in four years!

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11 thoughts on “Is it possible?

  1. Oo noo its not nice to loose your appetite because i think food is one of the things you should enjoy a lot especially when you are sick. I hope you will kick the flu! I loved reading about your trip! Too bad the hub was less comfortable..

  2. Yo, I'm over at WordPress too. But I'm using it for a backup for now; I've got too much value in this blog to have it in only one place but I can't move the other value which is my neighborhood! So two blogs for now.

    Your appetite will come back I bet. Have you tried bacon cheeseburgers?

  3. when it comes to food – authenticity all the way for me! of course, when i'm desperate, i'll take what i can get. but i prefer to stick to the original recipes. thanks for the recipe link!

  4. I have an even more disgusting cancer-related reason for losing my appetite, which I will not recount here and ruin your lovely food descriptions.I have to admit that I am not a huge Filipino food fan, but as I said before my dad loves it so much he'll eat anything Filipino besides balut. (Does anyone eat balut? I only know Mainland Chinese people who eat it, but no Filipinos…still, all the Filipino restaurants around here serve it, so…)I was addicted to that sweet sticky rice flour dessert as a child, but I thought it was Cantonese because I only got it at dim sum in New York Chinatown (bak tou gou! I think. Can't remember the pronunciation w/out seeing the Chinese characters). Later when I moved to Chicago for college, my uncle took me around to a Filipino bakery that made sticky rice in big round wagon-wheel size discs before cutting it up and selling it by the pound.Thanks for reminding me of happy childhood food memories!

  5. I love the Winter Olympics but cannot make myself watch it live…the time difference is too much…and I cannot tape it as I always see the results before I watch… Olympics for me this time around…*sad face*. Are you doing ok?

  6. Maybe this weekend I'll make bacon cheeseburgers—it's hard for me to eat hunks of meat like that anymore—so rich, but that would thrill the hubby! I'd run out and buy it but the only good places I know around here are Barney's on Piedmont and Bistro Burger in downtown Oakland…both parking intensive. But thanks for the suggestion (esp. since I've virtually forgotten about those places).

  7. When it comes to Filipino food, I find many of my Indian, Japanese, and Chinese friends don't like it. On the other hand, I find that Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese folks are okay with it, probably because there are some shared flavors. In terms of Asian cooking, Filipino flavors, on the whole, don't seem very Asian, except for the shared ingredients. To me it's very rustic (as opposed to refined), and an acquired taste. There are alot of preferred flavors that would be considered unbalanced to a normal palate–heightened sourness, bitterness (esp. the region I came from), salty-fishyness, etc.
    Unfortunately, the food at some Filipino restaurants–if not done well–can be greasy. Fat is part of the charm in particular dishes, but grease is a turn off for anybody.
    Somehow I got lucky—the hubby loves most of it (not a big fan of eggplant or bitter melon though). Will your father eat dinuguan? One of my favorite dishes which the hubby won't eat (doesn't like the idea). Definitely originated as a poor man's food, but I love the flavor 😀
    I'm just a dessert freak so any country's dessert does fine by me!

  8. The coverage of the Olympics by network tv drives me insane! But since I am a "slowski" and have really bad internet service (DSL), I have to grin and bear it. I had to pull the "it only comes every 4 years—what if this is the last time I ever watch it" card in order to monopolize the telly for the next two weeks. I gave away the extra tv too soon!
    Also, it loses some of its luster when you hear things like Shaun White (the snowboarder) had his own private half-pipe in Colorado that Red Bull built for him so he could practice and develop tricks in seclusion. I wouldn't call that a level playing field.

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