While a cooking blog is primarily a library of recipes, it also serves as a virtual doorway into the blogger’s life. In the process of sharing with you the food I cook in my house, I, inevitably, let you into my home. I suppose this is why blogs command a more loyal readership than, say, a corporation ran Food Network or AllRecipes. Cooking blogs are personal, they are relatable.
I’ll give you an example. Leche flan is my most trafficked and commented recipe on Kawaling Pinoy. Is it a good recipe? Yes. As I’ve said, it is the smoothest, creamiest flan you’ll ever have the pleasure of trying. Is it unique? Not really. There are hundreds of versions online which are, if not exactly the same, very similar. What is its pull? I am guessing it was the his(her)story behind it. The story was a story anyone can connect to. It had all the juicy stuff~divorce, loss, heartbreak and eventual healing. Did I share it for visits and pageviews? No. Those were raw moments, from cooking the flan to writing down the recipe. If I may quote Rose Kennedy, “It has been said, time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” I told you my story because I needed a space to place the grief that lingers.
Let me tell you another story.
All through the last five years of the crumbling marriage we were trying to rebuild, I kept hounding my (now ex) husband to admit if he fathered a child with the woman he had an affair with but he was adamant in his denials. Although I had nothing concrete to stand my suspicions on and I desperately needed to believe him, the nagging fear was relentless and felt very real. We were divorced less than a year when I eventually found my bitter answer on…wait for it…Facebook! The brute did have a child. Outside of our marriage. During our marriage. You know how it is, a mutual friend comments on a picture on Facebook and it appears on our news feed. Well, there it was, a picture of his then five-year-old boy with a caption “my junior” to seal the deal. Lord, that was tough. My knees buckled under my feet. My heart jumped to my throat. Then I turned mad. Enraged. I wanted to slap the little mongrel silly and beat the hell out his dad. But the beauty of life is, it evolves and along with it, feelings change. With a bit of time and a lot of tears, we make it even through the cruelest situations. After awhile, we learn to treat ourselves better than the past did. I regularly see pictures of his boy now. My knees no longer buckle under my feet. My heart no longer jumps to my throat. I no longer want to slap the now eight-year mongrel silly. Nor do I longer want to beat the hell out of his dad. In fact, I think the rugrat looks adorable. I actually am happy for my ex. In forgiving, I have devoid him of the power to hurt me. There is nothing more in this world he can do to devastate me.
In honor of a man who was a lousy husband but a great dad, I cooked ginisang munggo at sotanghon on Father’s day. Ginisang munggo at chicharon was how we preferred these mung beans prepared but occasionally, he would request that I cooked munggo the way his mother did when he was growing up, with minced shrimp and cellophane noodles. Munggo, in themselves, are cheap peasant fare. Chopping the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and adding noodles are ingenious ways to even further the dish. Try this tonight and please share in the comments below your favorite munggo recipes. Enjoy!
- 2 ounces sotanghon
- 1 cup dried munggo (mung beans), washed and drained
- 2 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ pound shrimp, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 bunch fresh spinach, stems trimmed
- pepper to taste
- In a bowl, soak sotanghon in warm water for about 1 to 2 minutes or until just softened. Drain well and set aside.
- In a pot over medium heat, combine beans and water. Bring to a boil, skimming off froth that accumulates and beans that float on top. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 1 hour or until beans are softened and skins have burst.
- In another pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and onions and cook until tender and aromatic. Add tomatoes and cook, mashing with back of spoon, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until softened and releases juice. Add fish sauce and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add shrimp and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until color changes to pink.
- Add cooked mung bean including liquid. Bring to a boil. Add sotanghon and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until noodles are translucent. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Add spinach, turn off heat and cover pot for about 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach are just wilted. Serve hot.