Presidential foodie

10 08 2009


TALK ABOUT wearing my heart on my sleeve!


Tita Cory - Food Fresh Corned Beef 00

From my years-old collection – newspaper clippings of Kris Aquino's column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Yes, I read her, together with Mr. Teodoro "Teddyboy" L. Locsin, Jr.!

My slew of posts this past week has revolved around the passing of our dear former president, Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.  Yes, around her and at least a couple others – Ms. Kris Aquino and Mr. Teodoro “Teddyboy” L. Locsin, Jr..  And it just occurred to me that, together with Prof. Winnie Monsod, three of my most admired people (listed in my “35 Things) have Tita Cory as the common denominator.  And if I’d count the perfectly tempered PROFILES feature Ms. Cheche Lazaro made for her, that makes four of my most admired people!

So here – yet again – is another Tita Cory post.  There really is no doubt I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve!  At some point in the past, Batman told me that I was fortunate I have a blog, which he called something to the effect of an “outlet” for me.  And all the many personalities that make me up.  And all the many emotions in my wide spectrum.

But this time around, I want to talk about a different aspect of our former president that I have come to love – her love for food.

It was in her daughter’s column Kris & Tell’s December 25, 2000 edition that food first heightened my curiosity about and admiration for our former president.  I quote my favorite excerpt: “…and then we eat heartily from the Christmas buffet that my mom has prepared.  We normally have lechon, roast turkey (prepared by my sister Ballsy’s mother-in-law, Tita Caring, which is the most delicious turkey and stuffing I’ve ever tasted), pasta and fresh corned beef which my mom herself prepares, and various desserts.”  From that short – yet impressive – list, it was the fresh corned beef that tickled my imagination especially since the former president would make it herself!

Tita Cory - Food Fresh Corned Beef 02

A vivid description of the Aquino Noche Buena table. It was the "fresh corned beef" prepared by the former president herself, that really caught my attention – and made my mouth water.

From that point on, I would picture the Aquino Noche Buena (Christmas Eve dinner) table in my head every year.  My curiosity was particularly and incessantly piqued by the fact that in the midst of that spread would be corned beef that wasn’t akin to the ones I’d shake from out of a can.  No wonder that when I heard of Sentro 1771’s Sinigang Na Corned Beef (Corned Beef in Tamarind Broth with Vegetables), I immediately tried it… and added it to my list of faves.  I thought to myself that that could be the closest I could taste home-made corned beef.

And these past days, on morning shows and in the papers, I got to know about food items that Tita Cory loved.  She liked the ensaymada from Hizon’s.  She loved the special queso de bola on top!  And if I heard it right, she was also partial to their caramel cake.  (Now I don’t know if Hizon’s does have a caramel cake!)

And on the day after her interment, it was Tita Cory’s trademark chicken liver pâté that I learned about, courtesy of Vangie Baga-Reyes’s article in the Inquirer.  What actually got me was the mention that even during her illness, Tita Cory managed to whip this up three months ago.

Like the mention of her fresh corned beef eight-and-a-half years ago – and all subsequent references to it that I had heard or read about – this recent article on her chicken liver pâté didn’t share her secret recipe.  Though it offered someone else’s.  But compared to the one on the fresh corned beef, it did one better by at least mentioning that Tita Cory’s secret to her chicken liver pâté were red wine and cinnamon.  I couldn’t wait to try making it myself!

Tita Cory - Food Chicken Liver Pate

Our Tita Cory would make her trademark Chicken Liver Pâté for family and friends.