It has been two years now since I have read one of my all time favourite book “Eat, Pray, Love” a memoir Of Elizabeth Gilbert and after two years I decided to open its pages again and savour it before I watch the film version of the story of course, Julia Roberts is the main actress. This book review is unlike my usual book review since I am going to write my it based on the three chapters of the story.
As I open the few pages of the book I could not believe that it has been two years, I first read the book March of 2008 (all of my books are dated) and from that time on I have learned and grown in a lot of ways. After two years I can relate more to Elizabeth, before it was like a dream like state of reading because I have not had the chance to experience what Elizabeth has written or went through and after two years somehow, I can relate to the story.
The synopsis of the story before Elizabeth’s travel began is depicting her as a jaded person who just wants to experience MORE FROM LIFE. In a way she has been influenced by what society is expecting her to do, have a good marriage, good career, financially stable, and the fine gorgeous house. But she starts to think.... does it really matter? A woman who is trapped found the courage to LET GO OF HERSELF including her marriage, her finances, her house and even her career just to feel alive again. So what does she do TRAVEL!!!
Elizabeth decided to travel to Italy for one reason to learn Italian but instead she not only fell in love with the language she even fell in love with the food.
As a Filipino our cuisine is a mix of different culinary influences. From Chinese, Spanish, Malay, Indian and American the Filipino cuisine comes out with all types of flavors in one dish. Talk about sweet and sour lapu-lapu, the spiciness of Bicol express, the flavours in our popular chicken adobo, salt from soy sauce, tanginess from vinegar and spice from peppers. Filipino cuisine will always bring an explosion of the taste buds!
In the memoir Elizabeth fell in love with Italian food because of its simplicity and its freshness. Two years ago I could not understand why this would be decadent as Elizabeth wrote:
“I walked home to my apartment and soft-boiled a pair of fresh brown eggs for my lunch. I peeled the eggs and arranged them on a plate beside the seven stalks of the asparagus (which were so slim and snappy they didn’t need to be cooked at all.) I put some olives on the plate, too, and four knobs of goat cheese I’d picked up yesterday from the formaggeria down the street, and two slices of pink, oily salmon. For desert-a lovely peach which the woman at the market had given to me for free and which is still warm from the Roam sunlight.”
For an ordinary Filipino who is only exposed to Filipino cuisine this would be a boring dish. Thankfully I had been exposed (thanks to my partner) to a variety of European food. European food has only one aim savour the REAL FLAVOR OF THE FOOD. How can you appreciate fish flavour if you dump sweet and sour sauce, instead why not bake fish with lemon grass and olive oil? The ingredients are so simple and are only used to highlight the flavour of the fish and not to cover it. That is how European food is cooked simple savoury dishes. Filipino style pasta will always be cooked with tons of sauces and minced meat while European style pasta is cooked only so light with chopped tomatoes perhaps with basil and garlic. I am so drawn to simple pastas now that I would crave for simple pasta with pesto. The cold cuts are heavenly from pepperoni, pastrami and ham with some good homemade bread or REAL cheese like mature cheddar, Danish blue (my favourite), gorgonzola, brie and camembert with some plain/salted cracker is to die for. Escargot done with garlic and butter are scrumptious! Shoulder of lamb with rosemary, roast chicken smothered in butter, prime steak is honestly mouth watering. Black caviar might be a snobbish delicacy but not too snobbish for me. The wine, wine, wine!! The one thing that I am interested in savouring very soon is foie gras.
I am thankful because I am able to savour and understand the essence of flavour from both sides of the world from extreme dishes of Asia to subtle palate of Europe. I would be content any day to have a sweet and sour fish with rice, or baked potatoes, tomato, garlic with Hungarian sausage because the essence of food is always in the flavour.
Eating and dining will always be a pleasure but the trick to enjoying food is to always have an open mind with the dish that is served.
Savour the flavours of life as much as you savour the flavours of your food.
Wait for my “Pray” review in a couple of days.