Gambas


In the early 1990s, my sister told her writer friend about me – my being in a wheelchair and cooking/baking when the culinary bug bit. So she interviewed me for a food magazine and the article, I recall, was titled “Cooking on Wheels”. All throughout the interview, my then possibly three year old son sat with Omay and myself. I think he was his normal self – he’d laugh, talk, smile like he was with someone his age and not an adult stranger. For that article I shared two recipes I learned in high school – one was of gambas,  another of pineapple ice box cake – taught by our cooking teacher Celine Ledesma. I didn’t have to prepare them for a photo shoot. The magazine’s staff took care of preparing the dishes in their kitchen and taking pictures.

Anyway, when the article came out, I saw that the author had described my son as “rambunctious.” Rather than second-guess what she meant, I searched for its definition in the dictionary and it read something like “uncontrollably exuberant, boisterous”. That disappointed me a little because which mother doesn’t want her child to be perceived as angelic? I survived that adjective and continued to rear my son in a happy way, no books of Dr. Spock leading the way. Just gut feel and lots of prayers. I think he’s turned out to be  okay, ornery at times, but okay.

To go back to gambas, years after that issue of the magazine came out, a friend who was US based said, “I saw your gambas recipe in a compilation.” He then proceeded to criticize it as not being truly gambas authentic. Strike 2.

Never mind. Tonight, I used a recipe of the interviewer which I got via email. I subscribe to her website. Click on this link for the recipe which tastes really good and authentic. Be sure to have hard crusted bread to clean up the serving plate! The rambunctious kid, now a man, said it looked sosyal – I had it served in an earthen paellera. After he had a bite, he complained I had prepared too little. I reasoned – if shrimp is reheated, it no longer tastes good. That is one reason but the real reason why I always buy just 8 pieces of shrimps or prawns is its price. The eight pieces are allotted thus: 3 each for the men and two for me.

Incidentally, I told son that the recipe was by the author who wrote about us. He remembers that write up. He said “Food Magazine?” I didn’t remind him of the rambunctious detail.

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