Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To market with Mom

When I was little, Mom would take me grocery shopping every Saturday.  As a reward for good behaviour, she would buy me a bottle of ice-cold Magnolia chocolate milk, which I would drink once we got back home, while I watched The Osmonds and The Muppet Show.

Years later, after we moved to a new neighbourhood, I would still accompany Mom to the nearby palengke (wet market) on Saturday mornings.  This was good training not only in budgeting and menu planning, but also in overcoming squeamishness and developing a strong stomach.

There was the butcher's stall, with slabs of fresh meat piled high on the scarred wooden boards.  One time, a man came up with an entire slaughtered pig across his shoulders and dumped it on the counter in front of me. 

Then there was the chicken stall, where you could prod, poke, squeeze and even sniff the various parts before you made your selection.  And the fish stall, where you pointed out the swimmer you wanted and got to watch as it was cleaned and gutted before your eyes, scales flying like shrapnel every which way.

Our last stop was the fruit and vegetable stand, where two old ladies (one short and fat, the other tall and skinny) beamed at you as they weighed out your onions and tomatoes, long beans and bitter melons and eggplants, mangoes and bananas.

Mom and I live in different cities now, on opposite sides of this vast country we now call home, but when we get together we still try to keep up the old tradition.  Like today.  We drove to Jean Talon Market and went slightly crazy over the colourful mountains of late summer bounty.  We bought peaches and plums, sausages and honey, and - bonus of the day - zucchini flowers for tonight's pasta.  And of course, no trip to the market would be complete without a treat at the end of the afternoon.  In memory of those long-ago chocolate milks, I selected a vanilla and chocolate gelato.

Feast your eyes on the photos, and look forward with me to a lovely and fruitful fall!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Instead of a computer screen, this is what I'll be staring at for the next few weeks.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and see you here again in September!

Monday, August 08, 2011

To me, Montreal means family, food, and fun.

Today, I had all three.

After yesterday's rain (which everyone accused me of bringing from Vancouver) we woke up to a perfect day: blue skies, fresh breeze, and almost zero humidity.  Lovely for a stroll through Westmount.

Then we headed to the Old Port in search of a food cart that was written up in last Saturday's National Post.  The lobster roll far exceeded our expectations: a thick wedge of brioche stuffed to overflowing with sweet, plump chunks of lobster meat, dressed with just a hint of mayonnaise and diced celery.  The clam chowder, dreamily creamy and thick with potato and clam, was also very good.

Au revoir until the next adventure!


Friday, August 05, 2011

Philippine Art Symposium

On Friday July 22, a crowd hungry for Filipino food and culture gathered in a Gastown studio for an event that satisfied both types of cravings.

The Philippine Art Symposium brought together three men, three media, and three perspectives on Philippine identity and culture.

Sofronio Ylanan Mendoza, also known as Sym, world-renowned painter and founder of the Dimasalang Group of artists, offered a retrospective slide show of his paintings.

A passionate teacher and mentor, Mendoza encourages aspiring artists not to be afraid to learn from others, which he says takes you out of yourself and allows you to expand, in ways that are impossible if you remain alone.

Award-winning international photographer Stuart Dee, also a member of the Dimasalang Group, showed breath-taking photographs that he took on a trip to the Philippines after a twenty-year absence, now published in The Philippines Rediscovered, a classic coffee table book that is a feast for the eyes.

The event was sponsored by Tulayan, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Philippine art and culture, and was organized by John Eraña.  An architectural designer, Eraña studied environmental design at the University of Manitoba and architecture at McGill University in Montreal.

Eraña’s meticulously researched presentation explored elements of Philippine identity through its architecture - from the nipa hut to Mega Mall, and everything in between.

In between presentations, volunteers served up glasses of halo-halo and an array of homemade Philippine desserts.

Vancouver’s young (and young-at-heart) Filipino Canadians look forward to the next cultural evening.

Be sure to “like” Tulayan’s Facebook page so you don’t miss out. 

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