Monday, April 04, 2005

sinigang

Nikki grew up with a very western/American sensibilities regarding cuisine, among other things, which means that something like a sandwich, to her, is a meal.

I grew up with Filipino food, including the range of soupy dishes that are not taken in a separate bowl but used to drench the rice in a lake of flavor. A meal is not a meal unless rice is involved.

So during mealtimes in our marriage (going on our tenth year), there has been more than one occasion when we sit across from each other - she, lost happily in her cold cut/horseradish sandwich; me, floating amid the pork and vegetables of hot sinigang.

For a while, I thought Sage had taken completely after her mother. But our last trip to the States proved otherwise. After around ten days of pure non-Filipino food, I was close to tears. We drove to a Filipinon store in Orlando with the intent of getting some cooked food to sate my culinary melancholy. I spotted a single small table and asked if I could order some food and eat it there. The Filipino cook nodded yes and I ordered some sinigang, along with my dipping sauce of patis and calamansi. As I dove into the heaven that is my nation's cooking, Sage comes up and asks me what I'm eating.

"It's sinigang, sweetie," I told her.

"Me too! I want to eat to!" Sage said, demanding her own plate.

I gave her some sinigang and she proceeded to eat like her life depended on it, much to amusement of her mother and grandmother. Me, I was too busy giving in to the demands of my own appetite, so we just sat together in silence, father and daughter, lost in the taste of home.

Nowadays, we make it a point to go out as a family every Sunday. After her Sunday School, Nikki and I take Sage to Megamall where we visit our pet store, where Sage gets to pet all the animals she likes (except for the hamsters because they tend to bite). Then we visit Powerbooks, usually with her Uncle Vin or Andrew in tow, where she gets to choose a book to take home. Then a quick peek at the toy store where we window shop for little rewards for good behavior (the last big one was when she was toilet trained). Then a lot of time laughing and trying out the furniture at Our Home. Then around 3 token's worth of rides at the various amusement centers.

And then dinner. We've taken a liking to Mannang, a Filipino resto at the basement of the mall. While her mother shows off her other non-American food choices (yes, Nikki loves dinuguan), Sage leans over and tells me what she wants.

Sinigang, of course.

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