I suppose the â€œcatâ€™s out of the bag,â€ so to speak, with Linda in the previous post guessing that it was about that time of year that Marketman celebrates his birthdayâ€¦ I have been extremely busy lately and hence fewer posts on the blogâ€¦but I will make it up to readers with a several posts on birthday meals, doodads, gifts, et al in the next day or so. I turn 42 years old today. Thatâ€™s an amazing 15,340 days or 368,172 hours or 22,090,320 minutes old!!! Yipes! Life has been good so far and I am grateful for every single one of those twenty-two million minutes, even the nasty ones, and the roughly 7 million minutes where I was fast asleep as well (see the absolute importance of getting the best possible mattress on the market and brilliantly high-count cotton sheets?). I figure I have spent approximately 1.1 million minutes eating meals or snacks and that is just 5% of my total lifetime. If you sat down and roughly calculated what you have done with your so many million minutes, it may give you reason to pauseâ€¦what do the figures show? How many minutes did you spend in the bathroom? With your kids? Working your rear off? Daydreaming? Watching TV? Playing sports? Studying? Commuting? Doing the things you really love? Etc. Calculate it now, spend just 10-15 minutes to figure out how you’ve spent your time on this planet so farâ€¦maybe youâ€™ll decide to make some changes! If you spend more time commuting than with your kidsâ€¦
At any rate, I was in Cebu this past week to take care of some family business. Of the 20 or so folks in our modest office, including myself, three of us were celebrating birthdays within the same week. So we decided to have a combined â€œbirthday lunchâ€ last Friday. The first stunning surprise of the lunch was my gift from the entire office staff. I unwrapped a terrific charcoal sketch of Marketman (first photo above) which our bookkeeper, Beverly, apparently sketched in just a few hours the night before. Amazing! Nobody in the office had a clue she was an artistâ€¦it is a truly wonderful present and very much appreciated. From Bohol came several bags of freshly baked broas, a personal favorite, as well as three large trays of homemade ube jaleya topped with a grated cheese. Apparently, Bing and Annabelle were cooking the ube the night before and the goodies were sent on an early morning trip by ferry to Cebu in time for lunchâ€¦ More on the ube jaleya laterâ€¦
The office ordered a medium sized lechon that arrived about 30 minutes before lunch, loosely wrapped in paper. I always fret about lechons that must be â€œsteamingâ€ in their wrapper but this lechon had the most amazingly crunchy skin. Stuffed with lots of tanglad (lemongrass) and spices, I am not sure how they get the skin so brilliantly crisp but I loved itâ€¦loved itâ€¦loved it. I ate about 12 square inches of skin and had a Crestor cholesterol pill on handâ€¦ the meat was very flavorful and any true Cebuano would head straight for the ribs that seem to have the tastiest meat of all. I can understand why Cebuanos donâ€™t serve any sauce with their lechonsâ€¦the meat is so flavorful on its own!
The saying â€œit’s like the pot calling the kettle blackâ€ must have come from the days when folks cooked over wooden firesâ€¦such as this one! It seems the office rice cooker wasnâ€™t big enough, so at the back of the property, some of our maintenance crew have a terrific wood fired cooking area and I got this photo of a second pot of rice cooking. Talk about problems regulating the heat levels! I was completely unaware that they were still doing some cooking with dried wood but amazed by what the crew was churning out in their outdoor kitchen! A brand new kitchen is being set-up for their use as I write this, and I think I also need to get them some new pots…
Right beside the cooking rice, our maintenance supervisor whipped up the most amazing bam-i, from our Manager’s special recipe, which is a noodle dish with egg and mung bean noodles with pork, vegetables, etc. Bam-i is present at most large parties or meals and it is a terrific foil for the lechon. I even mix it in with my rice, defying the rule not to mix starches! Along with other dishes prepared such as sinugba na pusit at isda, prawns, fresh lumpia, etc. we all had a fantastic feast! Somehow, home cooked food almost always beats restaurant fare; maybe it’s all of the effort one puts into it!
For dessert we had huge slices of the ube jaleya which I thought was terrific! Unlike the creamier and more smooth version of the jam that my mom used to make, and that I myself attempted many months ago, this was a drier and grainier version that almost approximated an incredibly intense ube cake, but this had no flour, just the pure ube yam. We also had three kinds of cakes (for the three birthday celebrants), lots of mangoes, bananas and pomelo for dessert. Yum. Daghang salamat sa inyong tanan!!!