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.