Oh no! Just when I resolved to try a “slimming” program, “Best Desserts” by Vangie Baga Reyes (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2013) was launched.
On entering the SM Aura SMX room where the launch was held, food and book lovers saw tables upon table filled with tempting, mouthwatering, tantalizing desserts. Many of them I knew; some not. My sweet tooth wanted to sample everything; but by the middle of the room, my ears were ringing, a sure sign that I was having sugar overload. Someone said coffee to take away that feeling, and so at Cravings I drank a cup while talking to Badgie Trinidad who started the restaurant with her mom, Annie Guerrero, and whose Cherry Walnut Cheesecake is part of the book’s list.
Well, the coffee helped, for a while.
A friend said to take some lechon from Pepita’s Kitchen to take away the suya or umay (satiety), but when I got there, only the bones were left. Proprietor Dedet de la Fuente tempted me with her Super Suman, sticky rice cake with so many toppings, many of them you love like macapuno, Choc-Nut, ube pastillas, pili nut. Just like her versions of lechon, this one was equally stuffed.
Every dessert will always be attractive—it’s fully buttered, enriched with choco, layered to give different textures, studded with fruits or nuts or simply passed through an ice cream maker. The roses crowding the top of Estrel’s caramel cake are more than edible. The mango balls of Cuerva’s mango torte are always sweet.
But there were others dressed simply. The pandan cake of Judah Liu merely had the green color of the pandan with a bit of chocolate shavings. All rum cakes are presented as is and Joyce Isaac Aragon’s isn’t different, but its rum aroma seeped through. And 20 layers of crepes hid Mara de la Rama Poblete’s vanilla crème between them.
How great that outstanding cakes and pastries from other provinces were recognized and, surprise, I had tasted most of them: the old-fashioned premium chocolate cake of Nic Rodriguez from Ilocos Sur; sans rival of Chining Bustamante of Dumaguete; yema cake of Pauline Gorriceta Banusing of Iloilo; durian sans rival of the Aviles mother and twin sons of Davao.
The launch was a time to see my friends in sweets—Heny Sison (Lemon Torte); Cyrille Soenen (Mixed Berries Tiramisu); the Navarro sisters (Gina, Joy, Mia) of Estrel’s; Chef Tatung (Pichi Pichi with Quezo de Bola); Dorothy Ferreria (Purple High).
Some of them were missed—Jill Sandique (Concorde and Pistachio Sans Rival though my favorite is her Pavlova); my classmate Polly Velez Garilao (chocolate cake, aka Shell cake because it was first sold at a gas station); Doren Tayag (Pastillas de Leche Cheesecake); and Boy Vazquez (Cassava Cake) whose table, predictably, was elaborately Muslim-inspired.
But it was also a time to know the faces behind the desserts relished. There’s Ginny Gonzalez who makes the unforgettable guava ice cream made from Señorita guava that she laments she can’t get enough of, even in its season, Then there’s Gigi Gaerlan with her Custaroons. Also Maribeth Bailon Santiago, who makes the Belgian Chocolates. One of the guests told me that she was surprised to know that a church mate and a neighbor are great bakers.
For that evening, desserts came first before the main course—a mushroom soup, part of my new “slimming” program.
I learned the program from “How to be Slim,” a BBC documentary recording scientific investigations on weight loss. Here are some of the conclusions:
1. Overweight people have a faster metabolic rate because the body needs to process a lot more.
2. Eating more protein helps to make you less hungry before the next meal.
3. Dairy food helps to excrete fat in your meals because the calcium coats the intestines. But remember to take nonfat dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt).
4. Portioning food is important. A smaller container helps. Visual aids will enable the eater to see how much food has been consumed such as chicken bones, crustacean shells. We call those “simi.”
5. Water can make you full longer but only if it is mixed with food, That’s soup! If you drink water first and then eat solid food, the water leaves the body right away and you will feel full only for a while.
The documentary has defined an eating program for me. (Let’s be positive and not call it a diet.) And it taught me that even if I ate just one bite each of all the desserts, grazing is the finer word for it, the sum of it would probably mean a big box of everything. That is how the event ended, with the exhibitors going around with their boxes, asking for dessert samples, indeed, a sign of appreciation for each other’s art.