There has been a frenzy of cooking in our little Brooklyn Heights kitchen.
There were the cardamom cookies. There was the mammoth spicy-sausage lasagna that we barely made a dent in. There has been the making of stacks of sandwiches for lunches present and future.
And then even after the Hubbs said, “Enough,” there was the sneaking out to the store to purchase a beautifully pink pork tenderloin and a head of garlic to make one of the simplest yet tastiest of meals: Filipino Pork Adobo.
I’ll be off to Singapore today for weeks of eating and cooking lessons with my family. But now, when I look in my fridge, at the beef stew and the pork ribs, the freshly bought eggs and the cartons plump with juice, I imagine the Hubbs feeling peckish. And I feel content with this knowledge: He will not go hungry.
I imagine that this is the feeling my grandmothers had when they woke up before dawn, sometimes as early as 3 a.m., to fire up the stove and start making rice for the family breakfast.
I think that, perhaps, even if their bones ached and their eyes were still filled with sleep, the desire to provide food for their family was all-consuming. (Even if, say, they already had a fridge filled with enough food to feed Octo-Mom‘s family — well, at least for one meal.)
And so I find myself back in the kitchen, carefully slicing up pork, marinating it in a mess of crushed garlic, vinegar, pepper and soy sauce for hours before simmering, pan-frying and then simmering again.
I tell friends — announce, on Facebook, really — that there is adobo-making afoot. All so the Hubbs will not starve.
My friend Lisa notes, “That’s why God invented delivery.”
It is a simple solution — one that somehow has not even occurred to me in this flurry of cooking. I pause and think, I don’t have to make this. I could just read a book.
But then, I think, my grandmothers would not have approved. And the chopping continues.
(From “The Philippine Cookbook” by Reynaldo Alejandro)
1 pound pork loin, butt or shoulder cut into 1-inch chunks
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil
Transfer pieces of garlic from the pot to a separate pan and fry in hot oil until brown. Add pork pieces to garlic and fry until brown. Drain. Add soy-vinegar broth to fried pork and garlic and simmer 10 minutes.