Thursday, October 17, 2013

Filipino Breakfast

This past weekend, I thought of blogging about breakfast, specifically the Filipino breakfast, because a lot of my penfriends are asking what Filipino food is all about. I'd start by saying that it is very different from the all-American breakfast most of my friends know, and I thought of sharing what Filipinos normally have at the breakfast table.

Typical American Breakfast - Bacon, Eggs, Country Potatoes

First, let me tell you what the all-American breakfast is, based from my dining experiences here in California (remember, this is not an official statistics). If you want an all-American breakfast, you'd get the standard eggs, meat (it can be bacon, sausage, ham, steak or combinations), hash browns or country potatoes, and an added option of cheese, perhaps. You'd also get sides of biscuits or toast, even a cup of fruit or veggies if you don't want the bread and jam tandem. These can be served separately as is or as an omelet. Others order pancakes on the side. At least, that's my observation. Maybe, you could contribute if I'm missing something. (Note that I didn't add the Mexican-fusion burrito breakfast and salsa.)

Typical Filipino Breakfast - Bangsilog (Milk Fish, Fried Rice, Fried Eggs)

Tapsilog (Cured Beef, Fried Rice, Fried Egg) with sides of Spam and Bacon

The Filipino breakfast is definitely different from that. We Filipinos always have rice with our meal—morning, noon and night. Sometimes, desserts have rice as well, but that's another topic. Rice can be steamed or fried with other goodies (like scrambled eggs and veggies). Our choice of breakfast meat is diverse. It can be pork, beef, chicken, fish or combinations—spam and hotdogs are also considered. We love various stuff on our plates, and we love dipping sauces or gravy to pour on our rice and/or meat. This is why we normally have pickled relishes or Atchara, and we also have our famous Tapsilog (cured beef, fried rice and fried egg) dipping sauce which is vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper with garlic. At least, that's what my sauce mix is composed of. Others have the standard vinegar only, straight from the bottle (some have spicy chili in them, too).

Jefroxilog (Crispy Fried Sole Fish, Fried Rice, Fried Eggs)

Yes, we eat fish for breakfast. It can be canned sardines, smoked fish (Tinapa), or dried fish (Tuyo). Philippines is surrounded by water, and a lot of our hard-working folks support themselves through fishing. We hardly have cows on land, except for our friendly Philippine Carabao's helping farmers to plant more rice. So, for those wondering why your co-workers are heating up fish-smelling breakfast containers in your office, well, it's what we eat in the morning. I love spicy sardines and rice!

I grew up with the Filipino breakfast. In fact, I grew up with the Filipino meals, and that means having rice in every meal. When I arrived here more than a decade ago, I've learned not to have rice in my meals. It feels like something is lacking. Once in a while, I enjoy my steamed rice at home, but I've learned how to eat oatmeal, toast, and cereal. I consider Filipino Breakfast as a special kind of morning meal nowadays. Unlike when I was a little girl, eggs-toast-pancakes were the special meal. It's now reversed.

So, what's the best breakfast? Who knows? I eat whatever is available. I choose protein over carbohydrates, though. That means Steak and Eggs than French Toast, or Meaty Omelet than Pancakes. But, if I go to a Filipino restaurant in the morning, Tapsilog please!

How about you, what's your breakfast?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Last weekend, a question from a famous childhood kid's TV program became the topic in front of my house. I mentioned, “in front of my house,” because my family and I had a conversation with one of our neighbors right in front of our yard located in front of the house. I'm over-explaining things nowadays. **smiles**

Who are the people in your neighborhood? Do you know? Are you aware who surrounds you in your little circle where you live, where your kids play, and where you feel safe?

My husband and I discussed a recently disturbing news about Amanda Berry and other two kidnapped girls. Their kidnapper was a quiet man in a neighborhood that could be anybody's. Just like yours and mine, our neighborhood. Do you pay attention to who your neighbors are? They might be quiet, but are they really?

I'm not saying that one should pry inside their neighbor's house and check whether they're doing something illegal. Who knows? But, don't we want to know who is doing something illegal in the neighborhood where our kids are? I surely wouldn't want my kids outside with those.

In your neighborhood, here are things that you might want to observe and perhaps practice:

Keeping people against their will is illegal in human rights kind of way. It's not easy to spot if one of your neighbors are exercising it. I'm not saying that you should be prying inside your neighbor's house. We are in a hi-tech era. Consider investing in surveillance cameras outside your house. You are adding security to yours as well as being able to provide possible help for others when needed.

Our neighborhood is zoned out as residential zones. There are areas where they are zoned to be industrial or business zones. If someone is doing business activity inside their house, that is already illegal by zoning law. However, if someone has a hair salon compared to someone doing illegal trade inside their house, you might want to differentiate which trade is bad for your neighborhood instead. You don't want criminals coming and going in your neighborhood buying illegal stuff or doing illegal activities. Hosting a business party at home (example: Tupperware, Party Lite, Avon, etc.) is also different. Business-minded people aren't bad for your neighborhood. They generate decent and legal income compared to selling contraband or doing illegal services. I don't need to write down in detail what those are. You should know what's right and wrong.

Business permits are needed and advertised out in the open, instead of discreet, weird, verbal ads. Unless one is telecommuting or working from home while legally employed, work is normally done away from home. When one works from home, give them the benefit of the doubt, but not total judgment. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of good friends who work from home, and some mothers, Accountants or Tax Preparers, Notary Public are good examples. In your neighborhood, however, once you really give a good observation to some, you'll discover a few weird ones.

So, at this point, I'd ask again, who are the people in your neighborhood? Do you really know?