We took home a few leftovers from Turkey Day but Friday we would tackle more food. My mom’s contribution to our Filipino Food Fest was lechon. When I was little I definitely did not like roasted pig. My grandparents took me to a pig picking once when I was 4 or 5 and I packed my orange Muppets lunchbox full of Twinkies. No pork for me. I can’t remember how it changed but I do remember eating pork rinds at my grandparents’ house in Indianapolis and loving every crispy bite.
You’ll notice that hard, crispy looking skin hiding all the moist yummy pork, and it’s hard for me to say which is my favorite. As my mom cracked the skin with a knife we hovered around her waiting to break off a piece. Sometimes you pull away some of the fat and wow is it amazing. You want to keep eating it despite how bad it is for you. Since we were in a room of other people we restrained ourselves but if we were at home I guarantee my family would have kept picking at the skin until it was gone.
Also present for our delectation were egg rolls, pancit (pawn-seat; noodles), siopao (show-pow; steamed buns stuffed with meat usually), greens, steamed white rice and chicken adobo. I have lots of happy memories of my grandparents (Lola and Lolo–the equivalents of Grandma and Grandpa in Tagalog), aunts, uncles and cousins attached to these foods. Steamed white rice was a constant. Actually all of the foods I mentioned minus the greens were staples at the kitchen table. Rice soaked up the sauce or marinade from dishes like adobo letting you savor the tastes a little longer. Sometimes when there were things on the table that I didn’t want to eat (octopus omelette) warm rice mixed with butter and sesame seeds or soy sauce suited me just fine. From one of my relatives, or my mom, I learned the art of eating with a fork and spoon: hold the fork in the left hand and use it to push bites of rice and meat into your spoon and shovel into your mouth, so much more effective than chopsticks. Plus you capture all of the rice grains because if you leave one behind that’s one year off your life! Probably not but certainly an effective way to get kids to eat.