I realized recently that the label ‘foodie’ does not apply to me. Now allow me to explain. I do believe that eating is one of man’s basic pleasures in life, and I love food as much as the next person. I’d eat most anything edible, and I’m always keen on trying new delicacies to expand my culinary horizon. However, seeking out the latest food places and shelling out the moolah to sample their typically expensive and faddish fare do not rank high among my priorities. Good, healthy food is what matters, and home is mostly where it’s at.
Don’t get me wrong though. I know for a fact that the ambience of a place can elevate eating to a true dining experience. And of course, this girl would always appreciate a lovely dinner on a night out on the town. My wallet however, wouldn’t. It dictates that I observe moderation in my spending, so naturally, fancy schmancy dinners are reserved for special occasions only. Besides, I do not have the luxury of time to sit down and relish every spoonful of every meal anyway.
So what does a gal do when she doesn’t have the inclination, the resources, or the time to devote to feeding? She reaches for a trusty, old staple.
I was in sixth or seventh grade when my cousin introduced me to instant pancit canton. She would come visit after her classes and tell me such colorful stories, all the while consuming two to three packs in one sitting. Being brought up by parents who very rarely let their children eat junk food, I suspected that this could not be healthy, but it did taste quite good. Like almost everyone in the country, I was hooked.
During my senior year in high school, our class came up with an instant pancit canton ritual of sorts. Everyone pitched in P5 each, then one of the boys would run to the sari-sari store nearby to buy a few packs for the girls to cook. A number of afternoons were spent on mindless chatter as the sun slowly set, each of us with a fork in hand, devouring our snack straight from the pot.
Now that I’m working, I am often pestered by this persistent conundrum: I am always wondering what to eat. The posh neighbourhood of Greenbelt is home to a wide array of upscale resto’s frequented by the metro’s privileged crowd. Translation: Good food, not so good on the budget. I can’t put all the money I earn in my mouth, right? After all, I have to save some for the pretty, shiny things that tease me from the well-dressed windows everyday. (No, not really. I wear blinders, you see.)
Bringing packed lunch and stocking up on groceries are the obvious solutions. But what happens when hunger strikes and the pantry’s wanting? This working girl and her colleagues can always hobble over to the convenience store next door to grab some fuel, quite often that undeniably delicious, always available, and irresistibly easy instant pancit canton.
Guilty, tasty pleasure it is.
Photo from librengsabaw.blogspot.com.