The process of preparing food activates a sense of smell and brings back memories. A reminiscence on how my siblings and I learned how to plant, grow, and harvest our rice and vegetables; and how we cooked our food in a very basic way. We gathered mostly what grows on the farm either for us to eat or for our pigs (they also eat non-GMO). Some taste bitter and fibrous, sour and delicate, sweet or some have a mineral taste.
Every corn season – middle of summer, my father will make his famous stinkiest fermented corn called “Baklay”, which gives a delicious tang to any food. It smells like a dirty old sack on the first sniff but that’s where the fun begins, we joke, we laugh so hard until we don’t have any tears to squeeze out without realizing that we emptied our plates… During Festive holidays, we always look forward to fermented rice wine, specially prepared for the wedding feast. It is soo sweet that we enjoy eating the grains and drinking the liquid until we’re tipsy and giggly. Any leftover rice wine gets better as it ages, a perfect ingredient to cook with fish. If the western countries have white wine for cooking, we have long fermented rice wine too.
Feeling under the weather, freshly muddled cloves of garlic to add into the already prepared meal, or use it as a dipping sauce that serves as an antibiotic. Our mother’s favorite herbal tea, hot and spicy ginger or oregano tea that tastes disgusting but it always feels good after. All of these weird and delicious scents and tastes are so powerful and became a part of me every time I prepare food. Ginger, turmeric, sugar cane, and more, I’m blessed to have experienced harvesting them myself.
A well-spiced meal with a depth flavor complex does more than just simply excite our taste buds.
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