Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Legacy from my Mother-in-Law

     My eldest daughter, Ayana Grace, excitedly brought home for me a nice hardbound new recipe book she got from a book sale the other day. It's called "The Old Farmer's Everyday Cookbook Almanac" that features more than 400 recipes. She browsed through some pages to show me the recipes she would like me to try. 

     Hmmm… excitement suddenly surged as it brought to mind memories of the past. Then I was  reminded of some old recipes I've used as my kitchen mate for years since I got married. My most favorite recipes came from two sources, Del Monte Kitchenomics and Aling Charing.

    Aling Charing is my family's shortcut for "Masasarap na Lutuing Pilipino ni Aling Charing." Let me introduce her to you in this post.

    Well, Aling Charing is one of my cooking mentors. If you know her already, I bet you must have a copy of her masterpiece, "Masasarap na Lutuing Pilipino ni Aling Charing." I have my own copy as I mentioned  earlier. 

My own copy of Aling Charing's Cookbook

     I didn't buy this though, nor was it handed down to me like a mother would give a heirloom to her daughter. The truth is, Billy, my husband gave it to me. One of his mom's most treasured possessions. Oh yes, you heard me right, it's my mother-in-law's recipe book. I've never seen her as she died two years before I met my husband. Never did she realize that she left me a legacy. Billy says that her mother used Aling Charing's book because she loved to cook, so for him this was one precious memento.

     The first time I read Aling Charing's recipe book, I easily found a friend. Since then, she has become a great tutor for me! Look at what Minette Gamez-Aquino has to say about Aling Charing's Lutuing Pilipino in her article featured in Yummy Easy Meals Everyday

      I couldn't help comparing the old Aling Charing book with the one featured in Yummy. I noticed that it has taken on a different look now from its original form, the one I have in my shelf.  This book has given me the same "nuggets of cooking wisdom" Minette Gamez-Aquino mentioned in her article.

      I like its simple presentation and the fact that the book was written by a Filipino makes it easy for a kitchen newbie to recognize the ingredients and  follow the steps.  My first kalderetang manok (chicken caldereta), adobong manok at baboy (chicken-pork adobo), paksiw na pata (braised pork shank), pork menudo and kilawing labanos (sauteed pork and raddish) were all made using Aling Charing's recipes. 

      I learned only recently that Aling Charing is the pen name of former Liwayway magazine columnist and editor, Rosario Fabian, who compiled the recipes submitted by her readers and tried them herself. See what she herself has to say about cooking in the description of her other recipe book, "Aling Charing's Filipino and Foreign Recipes":
                                             "Just because nobody ever considered you a great cook 
                                                 doesn't mean you can't become one. It takes practice 
                                               and patience. Don't give up if you've burnt some roasts 
                                                                  or added too much salt too often. 
                                                                   Get your confidence going."

     How about you? Do you have any favorite recipe book that you would like to share? Who are your favorite kitchen mates? Let's hear your kitchen experience. Please share about them in the comment box below. I would appreciate it very much!

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