In the spirit of this very special day of the year, family and orphans are asked by friends to join them for noche buena. I’ve asked some friends, “What is the one dish that must always be included in the late-late dinner or for lunch on Christmas Day itself?”
Carla Tengco makes the best salmon loaf topped with her homemade mayonnaise, based on a recipe she got from her grandmother.
Linda Oledan is famous for her callos (ox tripe stew), whose recipe we all ask for and which she just answers, “Secret.” It’s also something her mother got from her grandmother ages ago.
Brothers Ramon and Chito Antonio are both architects and in-demand designers who always give the best dinner in town. Ramon says he must have roast turkey with chestnut topping and old-fashioned English fruitcake on the dinner table while Chito will have nothing less than his favorite roasted duckling à l’orange in Cointreau, and Gateau Saint-Honore with Cristal champagne.
Choy Cojuangco makes sure that Carla’s spaghetti and KFC chicken will be served after they come home from Mass on Christmas Eve.
Senator and vice-presidential bet Bongbong Marcos enjoys nothing better than his top favorite roast lamb or roast goose, while his wife Liza Cacho Araneta fusses around the table with their three sons, home on holiday from studies abroad.
Pepper Teehankee, a food aficionado, cooks mustard and herb-crusted roast prime rib for the family.
Ambassador and real estate magnate Joey Antonio insists that his adorable wife Hilda have his favorite paella and caviar pie included in the eight kinds of dishes during dinner or for lunch the next day.
Liberal Party standard bearer, the hardworking Mar Araneta Roxas, will give a big smile of approval when he sees on the dinner table his all-time favorite red beans dish that his grandmother, the late Doña Ester Araneta, used to serve. Mar always has two or three servings of this dish that none of the Araneta clan or cooks can follow. It is a well-guarded recipe that his mother, Judy A. Roxas, keeps a top secret, palangga.
Kitkat Silverio Zobel, the eye-catching wife of Ayala Corp. president and COO Fernando Zobel, makes it a point that her husband’s favorite turkey with liver sauce is among the dishes served.
Columnist and car racer Mandy Eduque must have his favorite dish of lechon with good wine served for the family during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day lunch.
Entrepreneur Ed Soriano and his wife, headturner Menchu Menchaca, enjoy his favorite dish, roast beef with gravy and mashed potatoes, during Christmas Eve whether they are in Manila or abroad.
Dr. Vicki Belo looks forward to her turkey and paella during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day lunch.
Fund-raiser and fashion plate Maricris Zobel relishes her family’s favorite roast beef dish on Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner.
Businessman Ed Angeles and his wife Renna Hechanova savor his favorite dishes like fabada and cochinillo on Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner.
Businessman Manoling Poblador and his wife Sandie never forget to have cochinillo, callos and paella—three of his favorite dishes—during Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.
Merry Christmas to all of you, my wonderful palangga, especially to the staff of Inquirer Lifestyle section and my darling editor Thelma Sioson-San Juan.