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Steak It’s Gonna Be

1,195 days ago, I was flat broke.

The movie that’s playing in my mind as I stand on my soapbox right now: I was walking home one night pretending to clear my mind when in fact I only had one peso in my right-hand pocket. I ignored my screaming stomach and pretended that I will be unwrapping a tightly-packed sizzling steak as soon as I get back to my $50-a-month bed-space, when in fact all I had in my body-bag pockets are three sachets of soy sauce, one packet of crispy pork rinds and one cup of rice encased in plastic wrap.  I ate dinner in tears, but at least I had a three-peso mobile load credit.

Couldn’t even afford a plateful of carbonara sauce

I was over six feet deep in debt and only had Johnny Depp as inspiration, not aspiring to meet him in person, because merely looking at him in the eye as he smiled from the covers of a tattered fashion magazine I felt as if I have already attained a positive credit report.  I went to sleep that night and silently screamed a prayer.  There were only two words in my prayer and it was the most fervent: Help me!

Three things saved me that night and it had nothing at all to do with my efforts: faith, steak and Johnny Depp.  I wanted to be like Vanessa Paradis so I worked myself out of my 1,000-lb frame.  I quit my job and applied for a new one which was quite further up the road so I had to walk farther each day to save up on fare.  And I mentally noted how savory a piece of medium-rare steak once tasted when I was treated to dinner by a college buddy and this motivated me to save up earnestly for a future I do not want to plan on.

Just to distract you, here’s a view to the screenshot that’s playing in my mind:

Summer goodness in every bite

Well, I hate giving out advice even to those who solicit it.  I pretend I live in a fairy tale where I can have my happily-ever-after clincher, but I do not pretend to know everything.  Funny how things turned out because I left that new job (yet again!) because my daughter came into my life and blessed me immensely, I still have to taste that ever-haunting medium rare slab of meat, and I have outgrown Johnny.

Looking up similar experiences posted on the Internet, it’s amazing how miracles are happening every single day.  Even children are never spared from wonderful occurrences:  He indeed has a great story to tell his future sons and grand kids.

When you wake up in the morning, what motivates you the most? May you be blessed beyond compare as you spend your day as another person’s inspiration.


Smokin’ Hot Kitchens

Smokin’ Hot Kitchens

For the longest time, my family has been obsessed with cooking. We’d rather bust our savings on sampling the newly-opened resto in the kanto than splurge on a new ensemble.

When culinary school all too suddenly became the rage, I couldn’t help but snicker and snort at those nagpapakitang-gilas na nouveaux chefs when they could barely chop a shallot without shedding a tear or two. They should learn a thing or two on how to bake humble pie from cooking giants.

I’d like to pay tribute to some of the culinary creatives I look up to. I bet my brother also has his own list of fave chefs. I expect you’ve got yours, too? Of course, your own Moms (or Dads) take the top spot, esp for those who were raised toddling in their diapers mouthing lispy ABCs while sniffing the aroma of a sizzling homemade dish.

Ben o’Donoghue – Minus the distracting Aussie accent and argot, Ben’s charming ruggedness easily keeps you glued to the telly as you watch him craft his own version of Angus beef burger patty, in the midst of Angus beef cattle!

A new favorite, Chef Chuck captures the hearts of even the staunchest of nagpapaka-food critics. His unbelievably simple seafood dish steamed in a bed of seaweed inside a heavy-duty pan makes this kyoot hunk steamier than the yummiest sio pao in town.

Jamie Oliver – Ma fantaisie ultime, monsieur Jamie! I love his maangas attitude, his angibngibngib ya ngipen, his lisp and even his dizzying moves in the kitchen even as he’s merely sauteeing a strip of fava bean.

Laura Calder, jolie fille! Her own homey style of French cooking simmers well within the sizzling point as she impressively prepares authentic French cuisine while talking about how she cleverly explained a soup recipe culled from an ex-boyfriend’s creation.

The Master of atektek ya food. Eight out of ten times, trust Mario Batali to burn his cooking while he entertains you with his latest take on classic dishes. I love his line of colourful cookware, though.

Inah Garten – I love how she calmly creates deceptively simple homemade recipes whilst maintaining a spic-and-span mansion and still managing to cook the most appetizing meals for her workaholic husband. And she NEVER burns her cooking, unlike other chefs who pretend the burnt ingredients are all part of the presentation rather than proof of their own katangahan.

Nigella Lawson – She once said that she doesn’t care what other people say about not eating too much, she just eats what she wants, pakialam n’yo. An advocate of Eating Everything, she loves cooking fast, appetizing meals for her deadma kids. Love her, esp when she raids her fridge for some late snacking.

Gwyneth Paltrow – You thought she’s just a great actress, ano? She cooks and always stresses the fact that she derives inspiration in cooking from her late father. I love the way she prepares roast chicken in a matter-of-fact way, speaking in relaxed tones, calmly dressing and marinating the poultry as if she’s simply rehearsing a scene from one of her movies.

Who are your top favorite culinary greats?