I’ve just read a wonderful book called Slow Food: Philippine Culinary Traditions. The book is a compilation of essays written about culinary techniques and dishes of the past. The term “slow food” describes food that has been cooked from scratch using fresh local ingredients usually from the backyard or fresh from the sea, as opposed to fast food wherein food is highly processed and where one is unlikely to know its origins. The authors are all members of the Slow Food Movement that began in Italy and now has members from all over the world.
The essays are beautifully written, focusing on a particular type of food, province or family tradition and each providing a detailed recipe. It’s interesting to note that there are some tastes and flavors that most provinces share. For example, sinigang is a dish you can find in any province. Yet each province has a particular fruit or vegetable indigenous to the area that is used to flavor this same dish. In Manila tamarind is the most commonly used ingredient to make the base of the soup. In Bacolod the native fruit batuan is used, others use guava, santol or calamansi. I myself happen to love it all! Although these are all different souring ingredients, each tastes different and brings a uniqueness to the dish.
The book shows how slow food is important in creating harmonious relationships with individuals, family and the environment because food and the way we cook and eat it permeates every aspect of our lives.