The Great Gatsby

13 05 2013

My copy of the American classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This is a 1953 re-print of the 1925 original. Cover art is by the great Paul Bacon.

BY THE end of the first three paragraphs of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel, I knew I would not be able to put it down anymore until I hit the end.

Anybody who has ever asked me about my writing would know that I would always struggle with the opening paragraph.  To me it’s the most important part of any written work.  When I get past it, everything else just flows.  And this is why I love The Great Gatsby, the novel.  The opening paragraph can hold you captive – up until you read about “a sense of the fundamental decencies” by the time you reach the bottom of page one.

I own the 181–page, 1953 re–print of the 1925 classic.  The cover art is not the original Francis Cugat but is Paul Bacon, regarded as one of the most prolific book jacket artists of all–time.  The unforgettable cover art for CATCH–22 and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest were also by him.

Back to the prose.  I will forever hold The Great Gatsby – often called the best American fiction ever written – in the highest regard not for the story it tells, but for how this story was written.  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing is stylish, elegant and sparse yet enough to bring into existence characters with varying shades of hue and perceptible depth.  This quality in his writing may have prompted Baz Luhrmann to render his celluloid interpretation of this beloved classic in 3D.

I won’t say that The Great Gatsby is the best written work of fiction.  But for how it was written, I have only one word in mind.  Perfect.


My copy sits perfectly with my wristwatch magazines and notebooks.



This copy was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons/New York, the original publisher of the 1925 first edition.



Copyright Page. Cover art is by Paul Bacon.

Now, how does the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher, and Carey Mulligan measure up?  We’ll see.  I’m re-reading the book before I hit the cinemas.


About 10% of what’s on queue for my reading. Hahaha! That’s Carey Mulligan, who plays the role of Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s celluloid interpretation of The Great Gatsby.



Carey and Eric with Jay


Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

Almost home

1 04 2013

Best friend Darryl on the phone with his wife, Brenda, right after checking in all his luggage. No excess baggage!

I’M NOTHING if not fiercely loyal to my family and my friends (who are actually quite few).  I find that to be very Filipino, having grown up on Social Studies classes that always associated the words “family” and “closely knit” to no end.

A couple other things that I do find to be very Filipino are – as I have always said on this space – welcoming loved ones at the airport or sending them off.  Trust me, stop by the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) at any given time and you will find throngs gathered as if they are there to topple a dictatorship.

I use this as one of two excuses to either pick up or send off friends at the airport.  The other excuse is that Changi International Airport is just so beautiful.  I call it an urban oasis where the tummy can be filled, the senses satiated, and where serious retail therapy can be had.  And I actually only need to hop on the Purple Line and take a couple of short interchanges before I soon find myself within the halls of Terminal 3, imposing with its cavernous, cathedral ceilings that render the place nothing short of hallowed.  I emerge to a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shop to my right, ask for their Red Velvet Cake, sit back, and feel that I wouldn’t want to be someplace else.

Yesterday, I was back.  This time, to see best friend Darryl off.


“I see the tower! I see the tower!” “Fast approaching Changi International Airport. Darryl, a stickler for keeping schedules, told me that he had to be at the airport at exactly 4:00 AM.



Darryl arrives at Changi International Airport Terminal 1.



Long-standing friends eventually develop patience for me. Because as you can see, I will keep on asking them to… pose for second here, here, here. Hahaha!



“It should just be here somewhere.” Darryl, though quite sure that every piece of luggage meets the airline standards, still wanted to have a final weigh-in.



On the way to the industrial-grade weighing scale by Door No. 5, I saw this Audemars Piguet wall clock. See, we were able to beat our goal!



Darryl soon realized that I was actually of no use. Hahaha! Yes, I accompanied him to the airport but I just let him do the heavy lifting all by himself. Haha! Sorry about that. You know me and my camera, we sometimes have a world all our own.



Everything was weighing in according to Darryl’s expectations. Good job!



Note to self for future reference – that’s how much a 40-inch flatscreen in its original packaging weighs. All of 20.55 kilograms!



The stroller for the TV was checked in separately. It’s what airlines call as “irregularly shaped” items (for check-in).



Now that the weigh-in is done, It’s time to head off to Row 07 for Darryl’s check-in.



We couldn’t walk past this very “old school”-looking information counter and not take a snap. At some point I had to mention to Darryl that Singapore should seriously consider lobbying for Terminal 1 to be made into a UNESCO Heritage Site. The place just feels so historical in all its well-preserved glory. I couldn’t say the same for the NAIA, sadly.



“Hold it right there! Say cheese…” (Ok, not really a very popular word right now. Hahaha!)



Darryl goes through his papers while he waits for his turn at the counter.



It was not a long wait. But of course I still managed to squeeze in a self-portrait session. Hahaha!



Row 07 check-in counters are right beside the entrance to the departure area. Time check after clearing check-in? 4:10 AM! Everything’s going on smoothly.



Time in one’s hands is a good enough excuse to… eat! Hahaha!



I love it when a place speaks my language!



We decided on KFC for breakfast! Very important reminder: Outside food is not allowed.



My platter of a breakfast! The eggs were nice. I particularly loved the crust on the original recipe chicken (fillet). Quite peppery. Some like it hot!



Darryl had Blueberry Pancakes and a side of Scrambled Eggs.



Something to slather on to the pancakes



Breakfast was on Darryl. Thanks a lot!!!



KFC has this sweeping view of the airport check-in area. Notice how this scene is beautifully awash in blue.



I really like the orange-and-white color combination on the Jetstar Boarding Pass.



For some reason, I find the Jestar logo design to be quite smart, catchy, and with good recall. Speaking of recall, the logo brings to mind a skinny tie I had eons ago. It’s black silk, with – you guess it right – a star subtly embroidered on it. I would wear it to gigs to give me an instant boost of… stardom. Hahaha!



At the airport, a traveler checks and checks again his stuff.



On the way to the Departure Area, guess what Darryl saw? A tarp for QANTAS, the flag carrier of Australia!



We just had to take one last selfie before we hit the road – I mean, before I hit the road and Darryl hit the sky at 30-plus-thousand feet up in the air.




It was practically his last day in the Lion City, en route to a place where the opera house by the water is considered to be one of the first marvels of modern architecture.  The route he is taking is by way of a week-long break in the Philippines, then an hours-long layover in Singapore to pick up his remaining luggage, before it would be time to scoot to the Great Outback.

There, his wife Brenda – along with their plans for a new life – awaits.

I know it is still a matter of a few more days to the day.  But it is so close that best friend Darryl can already smell the kangaroos.

All the best, Darryl & Brenda.  You know I will miss you!


I love looking at the Flight Information Board at airports!



I would’ve wanted to wear a DLSU shirt in honor of the traveler. But I realized that I don’t have one. HAHAHA! I thought a green shirt would do. But then I saw this “UC DAVIS” shirt and just put it on.



After seeing best friend Darryl off, it was time to hop on the Skytrain to Terminal 3.



Inside the Skytrain, I got transfixed on to this ad. Nice visuals. Hahaha! Oh, the key message bears repeating – you get 7% savings on the GST if you shop at the Changi International Airport.



Gotta have another shot of me in my “bagong gising” (just-out-of-bed) look. Conceited much??? Hahaha!



I can buy my month’s worth of magazines at Times Travel in one go! I had to come back later because it was still quite early and they don’t open until 7:00 AM.



Changi Airport presents “Fascinating Russia” from 16 Mar – 7 Apr 2013!



Prepare to be fascinated by Russia!



Welcome to Red Square!



I saw this part of the “Fascinating Russia” setup framed in my Canon IXUS 860IS and I knew right there and then that I want it printed on a shirt and I’d wear it!



I can’t help but feel so tiny whenever I’m inside Changi Airport Terminal 3. And I’ve always loved the ceiling treatment. I’m not sure if those panels serve a specific, important purpose. Better ask my brother!



I can get stuck in Terminal 3 and never want for anything. Haha! This board has my name written all over it.



I love giving feedback. So when I saw this terminal, I knew I just had to write something for all the amazing people behind Changi Airport. Besides, I had plenty of time to kill while I wait for the shops to open.



The keyboard has a very Apple feel to it. Though one of the keys clearly says otherwise.



Didn’t take me long to fill out the online form.



Of all my TOMS, this one in red corduroy has racked up the most mileage. One of my brothers got this for me as a send-off gift on the day I left for Singapore. On the wya to the airport, we stopped by Alabang Town Center. There, he asked me to try on TOMS (he was the first one to go crazy over these shoes) ans whichever I liked, he said he would get for me. The sales people ended packing up what I had on as I decided to wear this pair on my flight.



Accompanying me while I waited for the shops to fling open their doors was my Longchamp Parisi in lambskin leather. It’s not as obvious given that it is in black, but I can tell by the feel of the supple leather that this bag has been developing a lovely patina.



Again, given that I had a lot of time in my hands, I decided to go to the Information desk and clarify what time the shops will open. Impatient much?!?! Hahaha!



From the Skytrain/Departure Area on Level 2, the Information personnel recommended that I check out the shops on the Arrival floor.



I saw this panda at a promotional booth and wanted to buy it. Hahaha! “Jia Jia” is the name.



See, there’s recreation at Changi Airport. This one is called The Slide @ T3.



I don’t think I’ll survive this slide. I got nauseous just staring at it.



Just about anywhere there is a mirror. Hahaha!



I took this photo as a shout-out to my Italian big brother Kuya Michele!



I really find the elevators at Terminal 3 to be such marvels of architecure, or in a simpler term, construction. This for me is a conversation piece with my youngest brother.



Yey! Times Travel had finally opened! I immediately hit the magazine racks that occupy almost two walls.



I picked up all the titles you see on this photo. Obviously, I’m a believer of Style, silver linings, and Oz The Great and The Powerful!



These wall clocks hang above the men’s magazine section. i looked up and saw them as if they were my shining stars. Hahaha!



I saw that the Robb Report’s latest edition features wristwatches so I’ve just got to have it! It was a pleasant last-second addition to my already heavy stash.



First the wall clocks. Now these editions of The Lonely Planet. Singapore and Australia side-by-side. What are these, portents of things to come?



“Ring up my purchases please!” Notice that the sales associate was kind enough to double up my carrier. It was THAT heavy. It would be a considerable journey by train so I figured that all these reading materials would come in handy. It was still quite early so there should be plenty of seats on the train on the route back.



Even this escalator ride to the MRT station just has an air of grandeur and elegance that speaks of a budget that didn’t allow for any corners to be cut.



Changi Airport MRT Station



The last text. See, only a real best friend can make a reference to a nonexistent lovelife. Hahaha! Notice that Darryl’s number is still recorded on my mobile under his wife’s name (who used to use this number). Darryl would keep on reminding me to update my records. I didn’t get around to doing it. Hahaha!

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

Review in SMS – the perks of being a wallflower

24 12 2012
RIS - the perks of being a wallflower

A review in SMS – the perks of being a wallflower

IN LINE at Kinokuniya at Takashimaya, I saw this book on the shelf by the counter.  A voice behind me said, “Oh, they’ve made the movie already!”  The voice cut past me, picked one and brandished it to her friends.

I read the blurb at the back cover of “the perks of being a wallflower” and felt like reading a part of just about anybody’s life when people cared only about what they used to be.  Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are perfectly cast.  (Ezra was amazing in “We Should Talk About Kevin.”)

Music, in mix tapes and vinyl, hold the movie together, especially when Charlie sings to “All Out of Love”.  Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” drove me insanely sentimental.  With the book, I laughed, I cried.  Now with the movie too.

The perks of being a moviegoer?  I get to enjoy a couple of slices of pizza, the cholesterol, not to mention the guilt, I washed down with iced green tea.



“Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?”

“You see things.  And you understand.  You’re a wallflower.”


the perks of being a wallflower - Kinokuniya 00

I saw the book on the shelf by the counter at Kinokuniya at Takashimaya. The one beside it, Cloud Atlas, has also been recently adapted into film.


the perks of being a wallflower - Kinokuniya 01

I just had to get myself a copy! For a few days, it became my reading material of choice during my MRT rides to and from work.


Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved


A farewell in courses

21 12 2012
Claudio Farewell - Group 04

Time to say farewell… Kiddo, Michele, YY, Claudio, Shook Yee, Chin Eik, and eNTeNG.

THE TROUBLE with hello is goodbye.

That line reeks with cliché, mush and sentimentality enough to last a mortal a whole lifetime.  That is, if he or she doesn’t first succumb to all the cringing he or she will have to endure.

But it can’t be denied, that line is true.

And it seems that all that is left to do is to put the “good” in goodbye.  Which I think was exactly what my friend Claudio did do.  A couple of weeks before his departure, he asked all his Asian friends – four Malaysians and one Filipino – to dinner at his well-appointed residence behind ION on Orchard.

On the morning of, he sent a reminder that oozed understated panache of eras past.

Claudio Farewell - Invitation

The Invitation

I was the last to arrive, right when Claudio was already making the finishing touches to the pasta sauce as the penne rigate bubbled away to al dente in salted water.  Still, ever the gracious host, he snuck out of the kitchen to serve me with two slices of Tuscan loaf (my guess) – crusty on the outside but fluffily chewy in the center – on which sat delicate, tender ribbons of the best Prosciutto di Parma.  This starter was paired with a glass of Bottega Prosecco.  Prosecco essentially is Italian sparkling wine.

Claudio Farewell - Food 01 Prosciutto

Prosciutto di Parma on a slice of Tuscan Loaf. I could eat this everyday!


Claudio Farewell - Food 02 Prosciutto

The translucence that permeated the paper thin Prosciutto di Parma was so inviting I could feel it awakened the usually dormant carnivore in me.


Claudio Farewell - Food 00 Prosciutto

This was the perfect bread in which to ensconce the best Italian salt-cured ham sliced paper thin. Simply perfection incarnate.


Claudio Farewell - Food 03 Prosecco

Ok, all together now. Sing with me! “Prosciutto… and Prosecco… live together in perfect harmony.”


Claudio Farewell - Food 04 Prosecco

I trust an Italian’s taste in wine.

The starter–and–wine pairing alone transported me to an enoteca or a trattoria, feeling like this privileged tourist lounging the afternoon away.  It was again one of those moments that made me reach deep into my Longchamp Parisi to check if I had my passport in hand to justify the culinary pleasures I was having.

The entrée was Penne Rigate Salmoni, paired with Chardonnay.  Every piece of penne was coated completely and perfectly with the cream sauce, sweetened by the hint of minced white onion that was allowed to sweat and soften over low heat, counterpointed by the teasing saltiness from delicate morsels of smoked salmon.  Dessert was tiramisu by Perla’s Pastry Boutique, store-bought, sure, but the Italian said it was good enough.  How could I argue with that especially when I was taking delight in slowly licking off of my dessert spoon the creamy mascarpone cheese spiked by chocolate powder?

Claudio Farewell - Food 05 Penne

Penne Rigate Salmoni. I particularly loved the actual penne pasta. It was Barilla.


Claudio Farewell - Food 06 Penne

YY was enamored with the smoked salmon that specked the pasta. Who wouldn’t be? (Oh, I think Paolo. Haha!)


Claudio Farewell - Food 07 Tiramisu

The tiramisu has landed!


Claudio Farewell - Food 08 Tiramisu

One look and anyone could tell how well the sponge cake layer (sometimes lady finger cookies) was soaked in brandy or liquer before being hit with luscious mascarpone cheese.


Claudio Farewell - Food 09 Tiramisu

As for me, I was just too happy licking the mascarpone off of my dessert fork. I was careful in taking as little an amount, little by little, as if rationing a limited supply. I teased my own self with each bite. Each one was ecstatic suspended animation.


Claudio Farewell - Food 10 Layer Cake

Chin Eik brought another dessert. This was my first time to see this.


Claudio Farewell - Food 11 Layer Cake

It was some kind of layer cake. I called it gateau de crepe. YY was reminded of “lapis”. (If I heard it correctly.)

I went to dinner expecting the food to be the pleasant surprise.  But Shook Yee, Chin Eik, YY, Kiddo and I soon realized that we were in for the ultimate in Italian generosity – thoughtful, carefully selected Christmas presents, in this case, all flown in from the States!

Claudio Farewell - Suprise 00 Shook Yee

Shook Yee was the very first to be surprised! What could it be?


Claudio Farewell - Suprise 01 Shook Yee

It’s the legendary Italian cookbook!


Claudio Farewell - Suprise 02 YY

Claudio and YY ended up exchanging presents.


Claudio Farewell - Suprise 03 YY

YY also got a cookbook. Claudio got a couple of gifts, one of which I do intend to get for myself. Haha!


Claudio Farewell - Suprise 04 Chin Eik

For Chin Eik, it was a nice bottle of wine.


Claudio Farewell - Suprise 06 Group

I can’t wait to put this cookbook to good use!


Claudio Farewell - Suprise 07 Espresso Mavchine

This top secret, super special gift was for Kiddo!


Claudio Farewell - Group 02

Of course we had to ask Claudio to sign the cookbooks.

Like Shook Yee and YY, I got a copy of the English edition of “The Silver Spoon”, “the bible of authentic Italian cooking, a bestseller in Italy for 60 years.”  Chin Eik got a bottle of really good wine.  Kiddo, teased by me as the “lucky draw grand prize winner”, got a top of the line espresso machine!  I have to say, really thoughtful presents.

Claudio Farewell - Group 01

Claudio and his friends


Claudio Farewell - Group 03

Kuya Michele joined in later in the evening. This group shot felt like a family portrait. Hahaha!


Claudio Farewell - Group 05

I think everybody felt like I was hogging the spotlight, and whatever illumination was captured in digital macro mode. So Kuya Michele said, try it with the flash. Haha!

And with my brand new cookbook, I have no excuse to not celebrate life’s moments – also in courses.  Mille grazie, Claudio!

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

Back at one

2 02 2012

PAGE ONE, Vivo City, HarbourFront, Singapore

I’VE SORT of rediscovered Vivo City at HarbourFront.  I first learned about it in March 2011 when my frantic search for the Nixon Time Teller Blue-X wristwatch led me to the Tang’s Department Store branch there.  I will always remember the place to be where I amassed my first stash of Time Tellers.  But after my wristwatch lust was satiated, I sort of have relegated this sprawling mall to the backburner.

Lately, like a man on a mission, I’ve always set a goal to make it to the mall before they close at 10:00 PM.  I would finish all that I could at work – and more – and leave just enough time to travel and make it to my latest favorite gustatory destination – Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching.  I would do it almost everyday now, for the love of all the bowls of mee that I could handle.

Today, the first of February, I had a little time after dinner to do some shopping.  And I knew exactly where to go to – the book store.  PAGE ONE, to be exact.

I noticed that there were so much more people than I would normally see in a book store.  And that everything was marked down.  MARKED WAY DOWN.  I shrugged my shoulders and in my head, I chalked it all up to the still-ongoing Chinese New Year festivities.

I held one huge wristwatch-related coffee table book, saw that it was going for 70% off, and felt really strange.  This was not some usual sale.  I motioned to one of the staff members and asked what the fuss was all about.  She said that the owners have decided to cease operations of the business.  (I don’t think I’m at liberty to discuss as to why.)

I felt kind of sad.  Here in Singapore, I’ve taken great happiness in imbibing the soul-satisfying pleasures of allowing myself to be surrounded by the printed word – at Popular, at Times, at Harris, at Prologue, and here at PAGE ONE.  And while most everybody around me chooses to “slide to unlock,” I’d rather dirty my fingers with the color transfer I would get from going through the papers from cover to cover.

Seeing one book store go is kind of sad.

So to wallow in this grief, I decided to rummage through bins upon bins of marked down stuff and get what I would consider as “memorabilia” from another one of those that somehow succumbed to the changing times.  I think it’s magnanimous of PAGE ONE to allow the public to get a piece of “knowledge” at the cost of almost “nothing.”

I knew exactly the first person to tell about this to – my Youngest Brother!  After realizing that considerable floor space was allocated to architecture, industrial design and interior design, I knew I would need to hoard stuff for Youngest Brother’s office.  I told him, “They would look good on the mantel.”  Hahaha!

I will miss PAGE ONE.  Today – it’s already past midnight – I shall go on a mission to go back to PAGE ONE.  Youngest Brother is going to make me search for titles and authors.


*The closing-out sale ends on the 19th of February 2012.

“UP TO 80% DISCOUNT”… Say what?!


So many titles on architectural design


Design Hotels Year Book


The Architecture Section... I've got to be back!


Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

More autographs and memories

2 06 2011

MORE OF the awesome people in my life have agreed to sign my copy of the coffee table book.  Every message is special.

(Click images to enlarge.)


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Autographs and memories

27 05 2011

TODAY, I finally had the time to ask people to sign my copy of the coffee table book.  Sometimes it soothes the soul to read exactly how people feel about you.  Some of these made me smile.  Some made me laugh boisterously.  All of them pulled at the heartstrings.  There are still some people I wish had already written by the time I scanned.  I’ll run after them still.  (Click images to enlarge.)


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Off to the printers

5 05 2011

AFTER THREE weeks that I thought would never end, my editing and proofreading work on “the coffee table book” is finally done!  Well, at least the first round of proofreading.  I don’t think that my college yearbook was this stressful.  Hahaha!

In this day and age of high technology – where everything can happen so fast that the very concept of patience is being threatened of extinction – I refused to turn on spelling and grammar check on my word processor (who even calls it word processor these days?) even when already faced with a pile of essays so high it threatened to eclipse my very own chin.  I went on my own pace, however glacial, armed with my tools of the trade – four ballpoint pens in the colors blue, red, pink, and purple, and my best recollection of old school editing and proofreading marks.

It was a lot of hard work spread in a tight-knit team of four – a project lead, a co-lead, a creative director, and a writer/editor.

And for the first time in months, the manuscript is…  off to the printers!

This is a special corner in the office where I could escape to for some peace and quiet during crunch time! That's not even close to half of what I had to write, re-write, edit, and then proofread.


Across the aisle is where my creative director took care of all the artistic aspects. I have to say, he made magic!


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

The continuing secondhand books shopping spree

1 03 2011

Don't stop reading!

WHENEVER I look back to that 10-day trip I made to India a couple of years back – eating and praying (no loving!) in places such as Bangalore, Goa, and Mumbai – one of the moments that stand out in my memory is the half hour I spent at used books stalls that lined the stretch of a sidewalk in Mumbai.  There wasn’t any parking and our driver had to make several rounds around the block while I took my sweet time shopping.

I picked up back issues of the British edition of GQ, and two copies of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  I’ve read that book a number of times – in just one sitting the first time I did so, and in most of the times after that.  It actually made my list of 10 memorable reads in 2010, here.

My ten memorable reads in 2010


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Front Cover.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Back Cover.

I got reminded of making this find in Mumbai when I came across similar sidewalk vendors near a top mall.  I stood transfixed at the wide array of choices, my stance probably giving away that I meant to make a serious purchase against a couple of others who were rummaging through the pile, sacrilegiously throwing aside Charles Dickens.  I almost screamed in horror.

I made a couple of purchases – one an homage to Partner and Friendship who just so love the author; the other, a personal favorite.

I’ve never read Sophie Kinsella.  Though I did tell Partner the last time we had dinner that I like how she (Sophie Kinsella) opens her novels.  I got to read a couple of them from a pile of sale items at Fully Booked over the holidays.

Confessions of a Shopaholic, Front Cover.


Confessions of a Shopaholic, Tagline.

I admire Nick Hornby.  I have, eversince his second novel About A Boy, which made the jump from paper to celluloid in 2002, starring Hugh Grant.  It was a role for which I believe Mr. Grant should’ve won at least an Academy Award nomination.  Mr. Hornby’s work that I rescued from all the dust and the pollution of the sidewalk is The Polysyllabic Spree, his account of the books he bought and those which he actually read (not necessarily from those he bought) during the period of September 2003 to November 2004.

The Polysyllabic Spree, Front Cover.


This Nick Hornby book is about books!


"About a Boy" was the first work that introduced me to Nick Hornby. It was excellently adapted into film.

Surprisingly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time made it to Mr. Hornby’s April 2004 “Books Read” list.

Nick Hornby read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time too!

Both books are now by my bedside and I’m reading them simultaneously.  Good reads.  Arguably.

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

Perfectly chocolatey new year’s day

7 01 2011

A slice from the edge of the cake (it was baked in a 9-inch square). I intentionally got the edge because for me, the true test of how a cake tastes is how the edge turns out. This one's perfect!


We didn't fuss about the cutting. As long as we could get our forks into it. Hahaha!

ONE FOODNETWORK episode that I play in my head whenever I want to go to a happy place is From Martha’s Kitchen’s trip to the Hershey plant in Pennsylvania.  Martha’s demonstration of the HERSHEY®’S cocoa tin can back label recipe called Hershey’s® “Perfectly Chocolate”™ Chocolate Cake caps off the episode.  And that’s actually the part that takes me the a happy place.  I saw that episode seven years ago.  But the memory of that baking demonstration has remained fresh in my head I could almost lick the frosting off of my hands every single time.  Oh, how sacrilegious of me – I meant the “Perfectly Chocolate”™ Chocolate Frosting.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when my dear sister-in-law told me that our new year’s lunch at their house would have that cake – yes, the Hershey’s® “Perfectly Chocolate”™ Chocolate Cake frosted with the “Perfectly Chocolate”™ Chocolate Frosting! – for dessert.  I wanted to hit the fast forward and breeze through the spread.

Look at how the decadent frosting just oozes...


The recipe at the back of the cocoa can.

But in deference to everybody at the dining table, good manners prevailed and I sampled all the dishes that they had laid out.  Especially since I could immediately see the effort.  They did away with the tri-color fusilli and the spinach linguine of years past and opted for my favorite angel hair pasta.  My dear sister-in-law even chimed in as I approached the table, “See, it’s your favorite angel hair.”  I acknowledged it with a wide smile and a nod quick enough to turn to my brother who was by the stovetop, deep-frying meatballs.

The meatballs!

“You made these yourself?”  I had to ask, and proceeded on before he could even break into a reply, “So I assume it’s ground sirloin, with Italian herbs and say, a splash of Worcestershire sauce.  Did you have to put breadcrumbs?  It’s optional.  But for sure it has to have grated parmesan cheese, right?”  All my brother could manage was, “Yes.  No.  Yes, may parmesan.”

The kare-kare came from us so I didn’t really help myself to a lot of it.  It is the classic Filipino stew of your choice meat cuts (beef or pork, usuallt oxtail) and fresh vegetables in a savory roasted peanut sauce thickened further with ground roasted rice, and colored with natural annatto.  Sautéed fermented shrimp paste is served on the side.

Having moved past the staple kare-kare, it soon dawned on me that the spread was a veritable display of my brother’s and sister-in-laws culinary prowess.  There was my brother’s roasted chicken, this time infused with the essence of lemon and thyme, and my sister-in-law’s Bistek Tagalog (beef stewed in soy sauce and citrus, topped with sautéed onion rings) using choice sirloin sliced paper thin.  The latter was the runaway hit with me that I couldn’t run away without demanding for the recipe – down to the actual brands she used.

Roasted chicken


Halfway through the scrumptious Bistek Tagalog! I have to make this at home!

They put out a selections of wines – both red and white – but the non-drinker that I am, I opted for hot tea.  Lunch conversation revolved mostly on how each dish was prepared – I’m the most shameless, unapologetic solicitor of recipes that I know! – and quite obviously, it meant a lot of actual slaving over a hot stove and oven.  True enough, my brother was able to finish Rick Riordan’s The Sea of Monsters from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, while all the cooking and the new year’s eve celebration were going on.

One of the reds. My brother said it's good. I didn't take even a sip.


I didn't automatically get what a "moreish" red wine is... "Moreish", it turns out, means "so good that you want more".

I asked for the book, and he whipped out his brand spanking new iPad.  It was the first time I held one in my hand.  I just played with the touch screen and by the time I reached page 179, I knew it’s still the hardback for me.  Thank God, I’m not into gadgets or they would’ve long burned a hole in my pockets.

Page 179 of Rick Riordan's The Sea of Monsters on my brother's new iPad.

Just as I was handing back the iPad, the chocolate cake – the Hershey’s® “Perfectly Chocolate”™ Chocolate Cake frosted with the “Perfectly Chocolate”™ Chocolate Frosting! – was served.  It was a nice touch.  But even before it hit the table, I already knew I was in a happy place.

Oh, we finished this too. Hahaha!


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