My previous post on a totally benign fish pan elicited an incredibly negative reaction from Mylai Dimaculangan, in her first comment on Marketmanila.com. I was prepared to take it at face value or with perhaps â€œit’s a bad hair dayâ€ explanation. But it didnâ€™t stop there. She added several comments (that I deleted) that took personal swipes not only at Chris, a chef and regular commenter, and me as well. I thought it best to simply ignore the comments but on second thought decided I should perhaps address the issue of elitism after the equally strong reaction other readers had to the initial and most innocuous of Mylaiâ€™s comments. I found this brilliant photo of me (above) at the tender age of 3, furious when my 17 year-old brother teased me incessantly, probably about my plastic fish panâ€¦heehee. Got your attention, didnâ€™t it? And no, I am not furious about this incident, more amused, possibly saddened, reallyâ€¦
But first of all, to Mylai, since I am almost certain you have returned to the site to see what reaction you may have gotten to your comment(s)â€¦ let me just say that before you place a comment on the world wide web for all to see, you better think about the content and make sure you can defend it. Taking pointed personal attacks on me or any of my readers when you have never even met us, let alone know us, is irresponsible at best. At worst, some of the things you wrote may actually be legally construed to be disparaging and even potentially libelous. And in case you think I canâ€™t trace where you sent those messages from, I can. Unless you move from internet cafÃ© to internet cafÃ©, that means I can actually physically locate you at the time the comment was made and the computer you used; though not without some effort, of course. I also hope, for your sake, you didnâ€™t send those comments from an office computer, say if you worked the late shift at a call center or perhaps while doing an internship at a hospital, as I am certain your company would not be amused that you are using their property for personal and offensive purposes. Further, the net is surprisingly transparent, so though I donâ€™t know this for a fact, a brief search suggests that if you used your REAL name on the comment on my post, your middle name MIGHT be Man….tas and you COULD be the same person as the Mylai M Dimaculangan who attended De La Salle University for medical schoolâ€¦but then again YOU MAY NOT be that person as â€œMylai Dimaculanganâ€ is such a run-of-the-mill name, donâ€™t you agree?
Now to the issue of elitism. Since your posts obviously suggest you have obtained a decent education (making you only one of a few thousand to attend a â€œtopâ€ local school when compared to the 2 million Filipinos or so who should be finishing college every year) and use words with some complexity, let me take you to task with your definitions. First, the noun â€œeliteâ€ is defined by most well-known sources (such as the Oxford Dictionary) as â€œa group of people regarded as superior in some way and therefore favored.â€ The noun â€œelitistâ€ refers to â€œsomeone who believes in rule by an â€˜eliteâ€™ groupâ€ or the opposite of â€œegalitarian.â€ As an adjective, the form in which I suppose you mean, â€œelitistâ€ is someone who is â€œsnobbish, snobby, stuck-up and uppity.â€ While snob, since related, means â€œa person who has an exaggerated respect for social position or wealthâ€¦and who despises people whom he considers inferior.â€ Finally, to be comprehensive, â€œelitismâ€ refers to â€œcertain persons who deserve favored treatment by virtue of perceived superiority â€“ intellect, social or financial.â€ I am taking a guess that you made your comment that I am â€œelitistâ€ in that I am a snob because I happen to have a fish pan that most Filipinos or Americans or Norwegians, for that matter, donâ€™t have, donâ€™t want, or cannot afford. I do not in any way believe I am â€œsuperiorâ€ simply because I have this fish pan, or any other kitchen gadgets that are not deemed essential, nor do I look down at folks who do not have the fish pan. If you read my post carefully, you would not have any reason to believe that at all. And if I had only a snobbish interest in the lifestyles of the rich and famous, then why would I post entries on, â€œutanâ€ and â€œpesaâ€ just a few days ago or traipse through the dried fish market in Cebu or share some sea urchin roe with my bangkero in Bohol?
I have this blog because food is one of my passions. I spend about an hour or two on it every day â€“ that is my choice and if you think it frivolous, you are entitled to your opinion. But there was absolutely no need for the rude and baseless comments you placed under the guise of attacking an elitist. You havenâ€™t the foggiest idea what I do the rest of the time. Instead of using the term â€œelitist,â€ if you had used the phrase â€œbloody fortunateâ€ then I would have wholeheartedly agreed. I worked hard for 15 years, spent little and saved a lot. I retired at age 38 or so though I still work part-time when I want to. My family (wife & daughter) are my strongest passions and I was at home perhaps 75% of first ten years of my bulilit’s life, a luxury most fathers just donâ€™t get to experience, RICH or POOR. I also helped set up and run a non-profit school, sit on the Boards of private companies, provide pro-bono work for the government, donate to causes I believe in such as public school libraries and generally lead a very quiet and nondescript life. Everything I owned when I turned 40, I earned myself, the good old fashioned way, through hard work and perhaps, a smidgen of luck. Yes, I am fortunate and I recognize that every single day. So if you think that makes me an â€œelitistâ€ by your own dictionary, so be it. But frankly, I think you have simply misused the word. Someone once said: â€œThere is only one thing worse than a poor person acting rich, and that is a rich person acting poor.â€ Not all folks who have some money or assets are bad. End of tirade.
But in typical Marketmanila manner, I thought I would EXPAND on the fish pan discussion for the benefit of my regular readersâ€¦ the pan I featured yesterday was 16 inches in length, 10 inches wide with the handle on one of the longer sides of the ovalâ€¦if that description makes sense. It is Teflon coated and works well with filleted fish, whole small fish and lots of other things you can fry. It is the more affordable version of the copper fish pan turned over in the second photo up above. The copper version is terrific precisely because the material conducts heat well though it is more expensive and a pain to keep clean. The handle on the copper version is at the shorter end of the oval. I have two versions of this copper fish pan, one from Williams Sonoma, which was sent to me for FREE after they screwed up a shipment of mine and a second thick copper fish pan that I got from Dehillerin in Paris – â€œle specialiste du materiel de cuisineâ€¦depuis 1820â€ â€“ the mecca of all elitist cooks and chefs who want the finest in kitchen equipment and gadgets. And since we are going full blast on fish related stuffâ€¦ I served the rellenong bangus on a white Limoges porcelain fish platter that is roughly 26 inches long and can accommodate a 2 kilo lapu-lapu easily. And finally, for all those that care and maybe even some who donâ€™t give a damn, I show you a stunningly large fish poacher also made of copper that can easily flank 2-3 burners on your stove and it is meant for particularly large fish such as a 7-10 kilo salmon or perhaps a massive striped bass. It is roughly 30 inches long, 16 inches wide, 10 inches deep and 25 pounds (thatâ€™s a can of sardines in the photo to give you some perspective)! I actually purchased it a garage sale of Jeremiah Tower (a chef of Chez Panisse and later Stars fame) for roughly 1/20th its original value. It also works well for cooling drinks for a large party. Are any of these pans things I NEED? Absolutely not. But should I apologize for having them? Absolutely not.