Ober’s Christ­mas food mean­ings

Sun.Star Cebu - - LIVE! - OBER KHOK [email protected]­hoo.com

The signs of Christ­mas are com­ing closer and closer; stronger and stronger. Peo­ple are bent on cel­e­brat­ing Christ­mas with food. As we all race each other to the fin­ish line, which is the cash lane, let me share with you some of the new things I came up with. I cre­ated new mean­ing to the Christ­mas food we eat. Do I get an ap­prov­ing ap­plause? Can you please clap your hands? Hello, peo­ple, are you there?

RICE CAKES. Sticky food made with rice and other del­i­ca­cies are of­ten served dur­ing the Christ­mas meal. Some cul­tures of­fer sticky rice cakes to the kitchen god to keep his mouth shut. In prin­ci­ple, the sticky rice will stop him from gos­sip­ing about your bad be­hav­ior.

HAM. I learned that Iberico hams are salted away for a year or more! The fla­vor be­comes in­tense. I think hams rep­re­sent preser­va­tion of Filipino tra­di­tions and val­ues. When you eat the salted meat, think of all the good val­ues and tra­di­tions we have as a peo­ple: invit­ing peo­ple to din­ner even when they visit unan­nounced; keep­ing fam­ily ties close, and more.

FRUIT SALAD. Sweet and cold. Col­or­ful and tasty. I won­der if there’s any­body who hates fruit salad. I be­lieve this dessert rep­re­sents the di­ver­sity of the Filipino peo­ple. We are a mixed race, whether we ad­mit it or not. And that makes us a won­der­ful na­tion. Part of our char­ac­ter is sweet­ness of spirit and the abil­ity to just stay chill when trou­ble strikes.

NOO­DLES. A very pop­u­lar Christ­mas fare—there are other pasta dishes but the most com­monly served is spaghetti. It’s easy to pre­pare and can feed 30 peo­ple. One neigh­bor makes her spaghetti with just two ki­los of the noo­dle, four packs tomato sauce and one-half kilo hot­dogs.

Noo­dles rep­re­sent the Filipino’s abil­ity to ex­tend what lit­tle he has. He makes do with fly­ing col­ors. His econ­omy of re­sources is ad­mirable.

CHICKEN. Roasted chicken is the go-to food for those who can’t think of any­thing else to serve dur­ing Christ­mas. Some peo­ple don’t serve chicken dur­ing New Year’s be­cause it is said to rep­re­sent dif­fi­culty in fi­nances or kakha tuka (lit. scratch the ground and eat what you find).

On the con­trary, chicken rep­re­sents the per­se­ver­ance and in­dus­tri­ous­ness of the Filipino.

LE­CHON. The “rolling pig” is al­most al­ways never ab­sent in any cel­e­bra­tion. Le­chon is a crispy and tasty pig roasted on the pit. How does this fa­mous pig rep­re­sent the Filipino? Cook­ing le­chon is a com­mu­nity ef­fort. From the pig raiser to the butcher and the two men roast­ing the pig over hot coals, this great food needs co­op­er­a­tion.

Ah, I have to go. I have a meet­ing and I must be a le­chon, I mean, cooperative. I don’t want to be late.

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