When asked to be involved in the second, expanded edition of “Kulinarya,” published by Anvil Publishing, I thought it was going to be another long process. The first one took about three years to finish.
“Expanded” means that there are new sections added and new recipes. Neil Oshima, who photographed the original book’s dishes, said he was taking new pictures.
The new edition was presented to the press last week. The cover announced the change graphically. Yes, the seafood sinigang is still the photo but this time bigger than before, occupying the whole cover. There were those who liked the “in-your-face” effect; it was like a big come-on. I have to say I liked the former cover, the smaller-frame sinigang because of the white space which made it quite elegant.
Many of the former photographs were zoomed in as well, showing a lot more detail. It might just be me but sometimes I want to have borders like the rim of the plate to tell me how big or how small the food is before me.
The inihaw na pusit was cooked and photographed perfectly, not too dark or overdone. And the kare-kare looked as it should, the styling natural and enticing.
But those were just the photographs.
Right after the launch of the first “Kulinarya” book, Doris Magsaysay Ho of Asia Society, the moving force behind the project, said the next book should have something about containers and table setting. The launch at The Peninsula Manila was a beautiful sampling of her idea, the sawsawan (dipping sauces) prominently set on the table because that is part of our eating culture, she said.
But she wanted something else for the new book and so showed different arrangements for lunch, merienda, or buffet done by people who she knows love to entertain.
The launch of the expanded edition featured many ideas on how to serve a Filipino lunch. Many of the dishes used were from Kultura, the SM outlet for Filipino products. For our table of eight, some of the dishes were served not all flat on the table but lifted at different levels using what is like a putong or what food sellers use to balance food trays or bilao on their heads.
Via Mare served its famous lumpiang ubod (spring roll of coconut heart) smaller than how it is done at its restaurant, but just the right size to accommodate the many food that followed such as pakbet, guinataang sugpo, adobo. There were kakanin like sapin-sapin and sweets of brazo de mercedes and turon. Trust Glenda Barretto of Via Mare to serve Filipino food in fine-dining style.
The second edition also has an expanded “best practices” section that should be a great help to those who operate restaurants or cater, so that food handling is hygienic and safer.
On hand to answer questions from the press were Doris, Xandra Ramos Padilla representing National Book Store and Anvil Publishing, Barretto, who is project director with Claude Tayag and Jessie Sincioco (they are three of the six “Kulinarya” chefs).
It is hoped that this book will not only be placed on top of your coffee table to be part of your home décor but is read and used.
But it is also hoped that a smaller and cheaper version can be made available for all students who study culinary arts and for all carinderia operators. If we can impress on all cooks the safer way to cut chicken so as not to have splinters of bone that may cut a diner’s throat, then we can say that “Kulinarya” did its work.
The expanded second edition of “Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine” is available at National Book Store.
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