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Jul 19, 2016 @ 1:01

Camote, ‘kinilaw,’ ‘humba,’ ‘lambanog’–how our food is intertwined with other cultures

The invitation was to a class on “Culture and the Senses.” But the venue wasn’t a classroom but the dining room of Café Ysabel in San Juan. Wished I had this kind of learning in my time.

The invite was from Fernando Zialcita, professor in the Anthropology and Sociology Department of Ateneo de Manila and head of the Cultural Heritage Studies Program. We met at Madrid Fusion Manila last April where the talks of Mexican chefs Enrique Olvera and Jorge Vallejo were among the most interesting, given the close historical and cultural ties between our two countries brought about by the Acapulco trade.

The subject of the “class” dinner was “Rooted Cooking,” focusing on root crops that, according to the handout, “have been the salvation of East and Southeast Asians because they are easier to grow than rice. They require less labor and resist strong winds. Yet they continue to be looked down upon as ‘inferior.’”

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