Doreen Fernandez is my starting point and go-to for Filipino food writing + culinary history + cultural commentary. I was able to get my hands on a copy of her out-of-print essay collection Tikim* and I managed to spend some time at the library with her other out-of-print book on food, Sarap**. I find her writing welcoming, open, and accessible, her reflections met with a storytelling kind of scholarly.
A couple weeks ago we had a going away dinner for a homegirl at Ihawan in Jackson Heights 🤤🤤🤤 and my fave cooking buddy to trade Filipino/Mexican food ideas with asked about the soup--sinigang. Doreen's essay "Why Sinigang?" takes the versatile, seasonally-adaptable, sour-broth, simple-in-technique-but-rich-in-story comfort food, and uses it as a starting point to explore the question: How is a people's taste shaped?
Excerpt in story 👆🏽
*Tagalog word for “taste”
**Tagalog word for “delicious”