Gorgeous apricots and figs from a reader in Saudi Arabia arrived by courier at the home of my assistant. Long time readers of the blog know I rarely accept gifts and freebies, it’s a way of maintaining objectivity and credibility with respect to writing about food, retail items, restaurants, markets, events, etc. But sometimes, I simply can’t turn them down. Usually they are from readers, most of whom I do not know and have never met, and who have never asked me to write something in return. I don’t encourage the practice, but I am very grateful for the things and thoughts they send over. It was easier when my identity was quite well-guarded, but now that we have the restaurants, some folks just drop things off, telling the crew “Para kay Marketman,” to the amusement or bemusement of folks nearby… :) In this first case, Pio was one of the winners of the t-shirt contests we had a couple of months ago. I sent him his prize by courier but was forced to give a return address. My assistant placed his own address to avoid giving mine away… A few weeks later, this bulky package arrived at my assistant’s home, addressed to Marketman… It contained a thank you note for the t-shirt and these wonderful dried fruits. It completely floors me that Pio would think to send me these middle eastern jewels of sorts, and that he would carry them all the way home as part of a limited luggage allowance. Maraming, maraming salamat Pio. I wish you and all marketmanila.com readers in Saudi Arabia all the best! And I apologize for the much delayed thank you.
Imagine my surprise when a bottle of homemade bagoong was delivered by courier to one of our restaurants in Cebu! Many thanks to “greens_blossoms” for the treat! A slow-cooked, sweet salty bagoong alamang was perfect with a bowl of sour mangoes. The crew had some too and really liked it. I tried to replicate a version of this using “greens_blossoms” instructions but the heat was on too high and I ended up with caramelized bagoong… hahaha. At any rate… I appreciate both the bagoong and the detailed instructions of how it was made. Thank you.
From Nadia & Rene, I received two wonderful bottles of mulberry jam from Dumaguete. Accompanied by a wonderful note written on Florentine note paper, I was again floored by the generosity of readers, and many of whom I will be unable to reciprocate except through the posts and recipes on this blog… The jam was thick and quite tasty, sweet and sour at the same time. I almost thought it had notes of sampaloc flavor, but it was just the balance of acidity and sugar. Nice on toast… I am surprised that mulberries are grown in abundance in the middle of the Visayas… could they be a byproduct of say a silkfarm? Thank you Nadia & Rene!
And last, but definitely not least, just the most recent arrival, this outrageously cute pink pencil and eraser from Mimi, a long-time reader from Singapore, who sent this by international post. Mimi is constantly plying me with new ideas by email and has also sent several wonderful photos of things I should try to do, like siopao with tops that look like pigs… :)
Thank you all for your wonderful gifts, really, you shouldn’t have, but I am very grateful. I hope the blog has brought diversion, interest, amusement, and practical advice and tips to you and your family over the years. It’s gratifying enough to know that folks all around the world have cooked a recipe or two from the blog and enjoyed a meal that in some small way, was helped by a post on marketmanila.com. That is reward in and of itself. :)