So, a few posts ago, I was visiting my parents’, ostensibly for a birthday party for my nephew (June), niece(August), and myself (July). However, there was a bit more to this visit than first meets the eye. My brother, their father (I only have the one brother, he’s 15 years older than I, but the difference seems to grow smaller daily), was in the Philippines, getting married.

My brother, he is divorced. It is very messy, leaving my brother with custody of two children, and a lot of work he has to do to support them. The past years have been horribly stressful on him, with multiple moves to get away from an acid lifestyle that was killing him and the children faster than anyone would like to admit. But as most single parents seem to know, it’s hard to be alone. It’s just downright hard.

So he was looking. And apparently, his karate teacher (he takes lessons with the kids) was married to a woman from the Philippines, a woman with an available sister. My brother started calling this woman. They fell for each other, and above all – SHE LIKES THE KIDS! Any woman who likes my niece and nephew even half as much as I do is a saint. They have felt the brunt of every move of the divorce, and they have acted out. They behave in ways unacceptable for any human being to behave some days, others they behave simply as if they were years younger. You have to be patient to get the great days when I’m pretty sure they are the best people on the planet. She likes them anyway. Therefore, having never met her, I am already smitten with this woman that my brother married.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, being me, I have to learn recipes from her native culture. I know my wonton recipe – the crab rangoon version, was given to my mother by a Filipino nurse, and given to the nurse by an elder. Therefore, I assume it has some basis in Filipino cooking, though I assume they don’t use cream cheese. However, it also seems really kitchsy, perhaps by “elder” she meant “Kraft Magazine” or something.

So I am on a hunt for Filipino foodstuffs, in honor of my new sister, who will hopefully live with her new family in the US by Thanksgiving (so I can steal all her recipes from her!)

Problematic, however, is Coconut, animal feet, onions…etc. Thus far I have found a recipe for basic soup, called Cocido or Nigala (does anyone know if “or” is a tagalog word or if the soup simply has two names?). And when I say basic, it’s the recipe for beef stew, plus some pork and cabbage in. However, I’ve heard that Filipino food is known for flamboyancy.

Banana-cue holds some promise: brown-sugar dipped banana on a stick that has been deep fried. To quote Ina, “How bad can that be?”