A full heart – and stomach
by Daisydee Bautista
When I was little, I remember going to weekend house parties and never being empty handed. My mom would spend hours in the kitchen prepping and preparing one of her many signature dishes to lovingly add to the communal table, and I would get to carry it in. To say my mom is a good cook would be an extreme understatement. There was even one time that I remember the host tearing up at their first bite saying, “It tastes like home.”
For me being born and raised in Winnipeg, home is here. But I’ve been spoiled, in that my Filipino palate has never been without. Filipino food is so intertwined with culture and identity as each dish has a story of its own. From regional delicacies to incorporated influences, or even adaptations created to cope with limited or unavailable ingredients. As the potlucks in my life diversify, there always seems to sit a star Filipino dish. Sometimes, not even brought by a Filipino. What is it about Filipino food that can’t be denied?
And this love is not limited to home kitchens. In Winnipeg you don’t have to go far to find a restaurant or bakery with that taste of home, or that welcome twist on it. I’ve noticed that Filipino food can be met with curiosity, intrigue, excitement, and nostalgia, but also even hesitance or shame. Is it aromatic? Or does it smell? When it can be “othered” as exotic and made a spectacle of in food challenges, but ultimately remain (in my opinion) delicious, how do we find that marketable balance between mass appeal and authenticity?
ANAK and Baon Manila Nights have teamed up to bring a screening of ULAM: Main Dish to Winnipeg. This documentary by Filipino-American filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo follows the rise of the Filipino food movement in the U.S. through award-winning chefs. In addition to celebrating the achievements of these restaurateurs, the film also delves into the issues and challenges of representation and validation of Filipino culture in the greater diaspora.
The Winnipeg screening will take place on Sunday February 24th, 6:30 p.m. at the Park Theatre, 698 Osborne Street. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring local Filipino-Canadian chefs, from all stages and aspects of the culinary industry: start-ups to 10+ years in the business. Tickets are just $15 and include Filipino movie snacks by Chef Allan Pineda. You can get yours at anak.eventbrite.ca.
Daisydee Bautista is a proud second generation Filipino-Canadian and dedicated ANAK volunteer. To learn more about ANAK programs and events, or how to become a volunteer, visit www.anak.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.