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Jo’s Blog – Memories from the Pantry

Posted by Joanne Boston on November 16, 2011

[In response to Chip's blog] On Saturday morning, I felt the urge to cook.  This feeling usually doesn’t come over me during the workweek, so I knew I had to take advantage of this motivation before it went away.

Jayla, my niece, loves to stay with me in the kitchen while I am at the stove.  She would go to the pantry and take out the containers of salt, pepper, and even jugs of oil (that weigh also as much as she does) for me to use.  This time, she was trying to reach for something on a high shelf. I went to help her and when I opened the cabinet, I was delighted to see what I was about to see:

Jayla wanted a can of Vienna sausages, but I was THRILLED to see the canned sardines.  They must be the dirtiest little fish on the face of this planet, but boy do I love them…especially when smashed into scrambled eggs.

I know a bunch of you are “ew”-ing me in your minds. It’s completely fine.  I grew up on canned goods and instant noodles for breakfast: sardines, Vienna sausages, SPAM (!!!), corned beef, Hormel beef stew, packaged pancit canton:

 

Inang was the best at making sure we had everything we needed for breakfast including condiments like vinegar, soy sauce fish sauce or little side dishes like salted egg with diced tomatoes. For me any canned food would be perfect with said accoutrements. I suppose I got the condiment wh*re gene from her. She was also the best at taking what we had already in the pantry and making masterpieces with them. One thing I learned from her is “corned beef picadillo” with potato and onion:

Anywho!  Uhhh yes, I totally digressed, but the cooking method was the same as how I prepared my little canned sardines.

I took the sardines, deboned them, and threw them in a pan where I was sauteing chopped garlic, onions, and tomatoes.  I also fried up some lumpiang Shanghai.  Scooped up some steamed rice, took out from spiced vinegar for dipping, color me happy.

Sorry, no picture. I got excited.


These breakfasts from the pantry reminds me of my childhood and the times I spent in PI.  I nearly orgasm’ed when I saw this wall of deliciousness at the supermarket in my province the Phils. Yup, that’s a whole wall of LUNCHEON MEAT! Amazeballs.

I swear SPAM gets a bad rap. Sure no one knows what the hell is in it, but sometimes I get a thrill from the unknown. The unknown tastes pretty damn good when fried up and coated in sugar. Uh-huh. If you don’t know, now you know.

Speaking more about the unknown: does anyone know why Filipino hot dogs are this strange tint of RED? They are so bright! I have seen hot dogs put in dishes and for some reason if there is hot dog in it, it’s automatically “Filipino:”  Sweet Pinoy Spaghetti, Pork Menudo, Sopas aka macaroni milk soup…

I remember when I was 8, my Uncle Freddie and I made a pizza by topping a Boboli premade crust with ketchup, sliced American cheese, and sliced hot dogs then microwaving it. It wasn’t very good.

While I do want to eat healthier, I have a special place in my heart for these things – the corned beef, SPAM, atomic red hot dogs.  I also remember my grandparents packing these into their balikbayan boxes when they traveled back to the Philippines.  It’s all very nostalgic to me and I remember so much from my childhood when I eat these pantry favorites breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Jo

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