Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lenten Parody: Good Friday Favored Eats

Fridays are when we almost always have ginisang munggo – usually with tiny hipon and bits of pork or chunks of pig trotters (the lower end of pata). The munggo is either stand alone or accompanied by a second dish of … uhmm … maybe pork adobo or breaded pork chops.

But since yesterday was Good Friday, we had to comply with the Lenten tradition of banishing animal flesh from the dining table. I remember abstinence as a way of gaining spiritual indulgence by not indulging (in pork, beef, lamb, veal or fowl and their ilk). Abstinence is supposed to win us brownie points in Christian virtue and assure us of a ticket for the trip to heaven we expect to take sooner or later.

But who’s kidding who?

Look what we gave up animal meat for yesterday!

Pasta (penne) marinara

Inihaw na panga ng tuna (grilled tuna jaw) from DIL's trip to Davao.

Tinolang tahong (mussels) from the fish stall in the kanto.

Hinalabos na hipon (boiled shrimps) also from the kanto.

Buko pie from Laguna where we visited several churches -- bisita iglesia style -- the day before.

All our favorite seafood we couldn’t indulge in everyday!! And we call this fasting and abstaining.

In past seasons, I have served at one Good Friday meal or another one or more of these: steamed maya-maya coated with mayonnaise and hardboiled eggs, oyster omelet, prawn tempura, chili crabs, broccoli with shrimps and quail eggs, relyenong bangus, pucherong dalag, or pesang isda with miso-kamatis dip. For merienda, there was always ginatang bilo-bilo or home-made halo-halo or grated gabi in uncooked gata topped with crisp pinipig. All elaborate and fancy victuals I usually don’t have the time and patience -- not to mention the budget -- to prepare.

The Doctora-not-quite had reason to mock-complain: “Mommy, this is no way to observe Good Friday. We didn’t go hungry; we over­­­-ate.”

“ Arrggh! There goes my diet,” the Bonch said, her grin contradicting her groan.

True to form, my youngest son, a man of few words, agreed with a double-thumbs up before peeling yet another hipon on his plate.

In her mind, the perpetrator of the Lenten parody, tried to excuse herself with the thought it is not everyday her brood of six gather all together around the table.

And she consoled myself she may have already made the more authentic self-denial by renouncing all through the day the most delicious of online pleasures– internet scrabbling, blogging, Facebook-ing, YM-chatting, G-talking. She broke the 24-hour abstinence from the pc only to google pasta marinara to cook and the 14 stations of the cross to meditate over.

Oooh lala! Didn’t the clock just strike midnight? Excuse me, while I log in to the scrabble club at last, heart pounding, fingers trembling, mouth foaming.

Nnnno, those are not wwwwithdrawal ssssymptoms. And oh nnnno, I'm nnnnnot an a-aaahddict.

(P.S. Here's my recipe for pasta marinara: Gather all seafoods you can get from your pantry. In my case, I grabbed a dozen kani or crabsticks from the ref and filched a bowlful of tahong from the tinolang tahong we were having for lunch and chucked them to add to the half-kilo package of frozen mixed seafoods I got from the supermarket. Wash well and set aside. Saute minced garlic, chopped onions, and sliced tomatoes in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add cubed carrot, diced celery, sliced button mushrooms, and then all the seafood. Be sure not to overcook the seafood, especially the squid. Drop in a dozen green olives and 2 pieces bayleaf. Pour two cups marinara sauce and one cup tomato sauce. Season with salt, ground pepper and thyme. Optional: Add a tablespoon or two of sugar. Pour over pasta (spaghetti, fettucini or penne) cooked al dente. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.


Anonymous said...

Hi Myrna...I love all your are the best ever...
thanks for all the great writing...

Annamanila said...


You're from NJ! Uhmmmm ... Aida? Whoever you are, thanks a mil!

mitsuru said...

Nagutom ako sa inihaw na panga ng tuna. Dampa, here I come. hehe

Happy Easter!

Belle said...

sarap ng pasta marinara mo. nagutom tuloy ako. i also had monggo for 2 days in a row, pero i added bones into it for added flavor, and i tossed in lots of spinach from the garden. sarap!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anna,

I can’t believe it --- my avowedly non-political blogger buddy actually poking fun at Catholic Good Friday ritual ! Remember, the fasting & abstinence thing (now required of adult Catholics only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) may be the last surviving restrictions from the Lenten observances of our youth and like all endangered species, will now have increasing numbers of adherents and defenders, Anna. It is of course, the province of the good writer to foment discussion and invite controversy, and from that angle, your obvious disdain of abstinence from meat as a religious observance on Good Friday may be considered, ah … interesting.

May I point out, though, that indulgence (gee, that concept has a really nostalgic Medieval Ages ring to it) or brownie points towards access to heaven have almost nil to do with the abstinence thing --- it’s actually more to do with the theme of grief that suffuses Lent and the particularly gory circumstances of a Roman sentence of death by crucifixion. It was only when I got to Australia (which is not a religious country at all) that I learnt why the word “bloody” is considered almost a swear word and not used in polite conversation (as in “bloody hell”) --- it’s because of old old connotations with death on the cross.

Your blog article set my mind racing back to Cuaresmas of our youth … and how times have changed. I remember when moviehouses were closed on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday AND Black Saturday, when you couldn’t hear rock & roll music on the radio stations during that 3-day period, when the main altar and all the images and icons in church were wrapped in purple cloth ---- a long gone era, when there were long queues to the confessional boxes (nowadays you have to make an appointment to get a priest to listen to your confession), when you were not supposed to take communion on Easter Sunday if you hadn’t been to confession before, a time when priests were remote from their parishioners and nuns wore penguin suits. By the time we had turned adults and 30-somethings, we could relish the traffic-free streets during Holy Week because everybody was up in Baguio and we ourselves were preparing for the long weekend in a beach resort somewhere in Batangas. A bit hypocritical … uh huh, so feasting on marinara and buco pie right through the Seven Last Words homily over the radio and TV would certainly be considered mild transgressions, I’d have to say.

BTW, yes I remember meatless Fridays and the ubiquitous munggo. We always used to eat munggo with ginisang bagoong (like kare-kare, don’t know why) and that went well with bistek Tagalog and escabecheng isda na malaki (tilapia ? bakoko ? whatever). Get on with your food blogs, Anna. Nakakagutom !


Annamanila said...


I wasn't as much poking fun at the tradition of abstinence and fasting as taking a dig at the way we observe it. I thought I was indicting myself as the perpetrator of the "Lenten parody" in my family.

I have no quarrel with self-denial as a way of empathizing with (and thanking) the God-Man who died in the cross for love of us, but I just know there are better (more meaningful and substantial) ways to do it other than putting restrictions on our diet. We diet all the time, don't we, in our battle against the bulge and our bid for fitness. So the Lenten restriction is really no big deal. Christians can really do much much better than that. I was not kidding when I suggested that abstaining from online activities is much harder for me than renouncing meat for a day.

I did a bit of googling and you're right (as usual). Fasting and abstinence will not get us any so-called plenary indulgences. I also am not sure if the Church still doles out these brownie points -- maybe it has gone the way of weekly confessions and fasting before communion and masses celebrated in Latin and sermons delivered from the pulpit. Anyway, I changed the wording of that part of my blog a little lest someone else bash me for my factual blunders and lack of research. Thank you, Rolls Royce.

I love your memories of the Black Fridays of our youth. I should have written along that vein -- maybe I will later. Galing mo talaga, pards.

A happy Easter to you, Lynn, and John.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that made me wish it's Good Friday everyday. I'd go and eat seafood for an eternity.

Not being Catholic, I never had to participate in Lenten fasting. This is usually the time we buy and hoard pork and beef because they come dirt cheap.

Annamanila said...


The wandering poet-blogger is home?!

Annamanila said...


Spinach leaves floating atop munggo soup -- wow! Oo nga, I found out when I went South for two weeks that munggo can go with almost any kind of vegetables, like kalabasa, malunggay, ampalaya, sitaw, atbp. It was also there that I saw pork pata slices in munggo. Sarap pala.

Annamanila said...


Talaga? Sige, next year, I will try to hunt for bargain meat (baboy at baka) sa palengke. TY lots for that marketing tip.

Rudy said...

I ended up eating canned goods and sardines during the two days of Lent, since my cook (AKA Mom) was off cooling her heels off in Bolinao, Pangasinan with my Aunts and cousins. Hmm, maybe come Good Friday next year, makikikain ako sa inyo.

julie said...

yes, its a feast and a parody too for this day is supposed to be a day we remember the suffering of Jesus but then again, these church's traditions can be interpreted differently di ba?

Sarap ulam nyo! :D

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