Around 15 years or so, I was happily eating some fried bangus for lunch with my Yaya whom I affectionately call “Nanay.” She was literally spoon-feeding me — cramming some generous amount of the said fish and some rice on a spoon, dipping it in a saucer full of fish sauce, and finally stuffing everything in my mouth. My curious nerves then surfaced out of my consciousness and I uttered: “Nanay, paano ginagawa ang patis?”
Nanay was a true blue Bicolana and she knows the answer. “Ah, so kunwari may isda ka, pipilipitin mo hanggang matanggal ‘yong mga laman-loob n’ya, pipisakin…” She was acting it out in front of me, well minus the fish of course. However, I did not allow her to finish her lecture. Right there and then, I pushed my lunch plate away from me and told her:
“MULA NGAYON HINDI NA AKO KAKAIN NG KAHIT ANONG URI NG SEAFOOD. AT PATIS.”
And I really sticked to my words, up to now Nanay knows this. As to how I managed to have both of my parents ride along with my antics, I have no idea. For more than a decade I really did not eat anything from the saltwaters.
The term “vegetables” did not exist in my daily menu as well. I dunno, probably I just really don’t like how bitter most of them taste (or this was my mentality when i was young and unfortunately this was retained for a long time). While I really have some good hand at cooking certain food, I never considered fish and anything leafy in my recipes. (And I was so dreaming of living in Japan!) For a decade and a half already, I’ve just been living on meat and rice. Well, I eat veggies and seafood too — but only processed ones like those in instant noodles and canned Spanish sardines.
These things I want to let go.
If there’s one thing my Social Theology (Th141) Immersion last school year taught me, it’s how to eat these kinds of food I never really tried to eat for a long time. Everything is just how my brain dictates it. Something becomes yummy if and only if I think it’s yummy. Otherwise, it will just make me cry. Same banana for chicken, pork, beef, chevon/lamb, and turkey.
2008 almost shattered me to insanity. 2009 left me in a fast roller-coaster ride of events. This 2010, I want to take full control of the steering wheel.
And I believe that be conquering my fears and dislikes will I be able to fully manage my life — and eventually realize my dreams.
That’s why this Lenten season, I promise to eat seafood and veggies. I promise to be a vegan this year. No, not the processed thingies anymore. I promise to cook recipes fresh from the wet market. Not only will this be a good sacrifice, but also some help for my health.
Funny how at home, my strictly religious relatives do not obey the concept of abstinence (and fasting, well they’re old already, so they’re exempted). Still a promise is a promise.
Though I really do not like the season of Lent (just because of it’s rather gloomy nature, nothing else), I welcome it this year in open arms. Let the change in me begin.
‘Di ba’t sadyang may kapwa ang sariling
Dapat hainan ng pagsisilbi?
At mamangha, ligaya’y dadalisay
‘Pag sa kapwa buhay mo ay naalay!
Bawat galing gamitin sa paglingap.
Laging damhin kung may naghihirap.
At tandaan, ganyang pagmamahalan —
Unang-unang atas ng kabanalan.
It’s time to hear that song uttered before the Gospels again.