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!