Signs of company

One of the guests came early and grilled the fish on our grill out on the patio. Note the two bowls of rice, which must appear at every meal.

I figured I’d just serve guests family style- leaving food in the kitchen area, but they won’t have it, our Filipino guests.  It’s interesting.  I tried this two or three times, and every time one of the adults will say something under his breath to one of the teens and the teen goes to the kitchen area and scoops out rice from the rice cooker onto a plate or into a big bowl and brings it back to the table. I quite trying.  When in Rome…

The green spinach looking vegetable at the very bottom is, I think, called Aligbati, or aligobati. I forget. It grows in my backyard.  While they were grilling the first several guests watched and noticed how healthy and full my aligobati plot is.  I said what.  I’ve paid a neighbor to pull them.  They are edible and very healthy.  You pull up a stem, pull off the leaves, and you can use about the last three or four tender inches of stem, too, and boil them briefly, then mix with soy sauce and lemon juice or calamansi.  You can also use a fish sauce which I did nto have. One of the women cooked some up on the spot to show me what to do.  It’s like spinach but without any bitterness at all.


A pile of shoes in front of my door makes me very happy.

Half the guests came on the motor bike form of public conveyance (motorcycle with a cab which could hold three Americans comfortably, five Americans who like each other pretty comfortably, or ten Filipinos if that’s what is needed), or they drove their own motorbikes. I do have friends here who own cars (always large, diesel powered heavy duty things that carry several passengers and loads of cargo), but most of them walk or motorbike it.  Then they need a place for the helmets, which was almost as cool as the pile of shoes.

Clean dishes.  Our Filipino guests generally wash dishes for us while we’re still eating.

Various random observations on meals:

In addition to rice at every meal (McDonalds’ comes with rice) , here they generally eat with a large spoon and a fork.  Butter knives are so seldom used that my house help won’t put butter knives with the other silverware (I use a canning jar) but puts it into the crock that holds stirring spoons, whisks, and spatulas.

They called the cooked aligbati a salad.  Most of the food here is hot. Cold main dishes or main dish salads don’t really seem to be a thing, but maybe I just haven’t gotten out enough. There is a cold dish called kinilaw that’s pretty good when done right.  It’s diced fish which is  cold ‘cooked’ by soaking in a vinegar sauce and then cucumbers and onions are added.  We’ve had three or four places.  If the fish is still pink, we don’t love it.  There’s a small restaurant, carry out place near the school and my husband orders their kinlaw. One of the Jeepney drivers who eats there all the time told him she makes the best kinlaw in the city and we believe it.  So good- it’s like a relish, not fishy at all.

The company we had was a group for church for a Bible study and singing.  We don’t get invited a lot of places, but our language teacher says it is because Filipinos are shy and embarrassed to show their living conditions to Americans.  I know that a couple of our guests have raved about my kitchen and said they wished they had it.


Not pictured: a wire rack on the wall to the left of the picture (behind me when I wash dishes) for a pantry and extra shelving, the plastic folding table that holds my two burner stove, and the small refrigerator.  The counter now holds my blender, electric water heater, tiny toaster oven, and rice cooker and it’s full.

I have been invited over to another friend’s house a couple times, but she lives in one of the gate communities and she has a really, really nice house.

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  1. Cindy
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I’ve had small kitchens before. Hated cooking in them. I need room to make messes, or the food gets all confused. 😉 What’s your gated community dwelling friend’s kitchen like, I wonder?

    • Headmistress
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Large and roomy. I don’t remember if she has an oven, though.

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