Do food choices say something about one’s personality?
At the time of the 2010 elections, I was fortunate to have interviewed the presidential candidates on a topic unrelated to politics—food!
Reviewing their answers now, somehow I could sense a relation between nourishment and leading the country.
And now, in the run-up to the 2016 national elections, the presidential candidates have bared their gustatory side, with their running mates joining the discussion.
In this series, hopefully you can get to know them in a “tasty” light.
Home-cooked fresh lumpia, lengua estofada and turkey.
Salt or pepper?
Patis or suka?
Sweet, spicy, salty or bitter?
I like my food well-balanced in taste.
Meat, seafood or vegetables?
Seafood and vegetables.
Bread or rice?
I usually eat a simple breakfast of rice and egg, with longganisa, Vienna sausage or dried fish.
Mangoes from Guimaras or Zambales, sweet atis, apple guava and fresh langka.
Favorite dining destination?
Gloria Maris in Greenhills.
I always keep a case of Perrier at home.
I liked brandy when I was younger.
Do you cook? What’s your specialty?
I used to cook a lot of food that stuck to the ribs. I was known for my steak. Alas, gone are those days!
If you were an ingredient, what would you be and why?
Pepper, because I can add a hint of spice to anything.
At the end of a long day, what food do you long to go home to?
I would like to drown in a hot bowl of La Paz batchoy.
What is the farthest you have traveled for food and for what dish?
I traveled around the world to study, not to eat, but I loved discovering food. Nowadays, when my husband and I travel to Hong Kong for the New Year, I enjoy dining at Jade Garden Chinese Restaurant.
Does your spouse influence your eating habits?
In all things, I am not easily influenced.
When you think of food, is there one person you associate it with?
Food reminds me of my husband, who, once he likes a certain dish, insists on eating it over and over again.
If you were to host dinner for a visiting head of state, what one dish would you insist to be prepared and why?
A host should never insist on what he/she wants to serve. If a head of state is coming to visit, I will do research on the food he or she likes, and have those prepared.
Where did your partner first take you for a dinner date? Do you recall the details?
I don’t remember any of our dinner dates (when we were a young couple), only the trips to the printing press that ran the Philippine Collegian, which I edited during my senior year in law school. My husband was kind enough to drive me. But when we go out for dinner, it was either at a steakhouse or a Chinese restaurant.
If you are to be president-elect, how will you celebrate your victory with your husband?
On the day I am announced president-elect, my family shall convene at the dinner table for a simple meal, punctuated by stories and laughter.
Santiago says her mother “made sure we had frugal yet well-balanced meals so we were rarely sick. As added bonus, the daily diet of vegetables gave us all clear complexions even during adolescence. We ate green leaves of the alugbati, malunggay, camote, kangkong and saluyot. Laswa, an Ilonggo vegetable stew, was a simple meal we were commonly served.”
1/4 kilogram shrimp
2 medium eggplants, sliced
1/4 kg squash, sliced
1/4 kg string beans, sliced
1/4 kg okra, sliced
2 medium tomatoes
1 1/2 cup saluyot leaves
1 medium onion, wedged
Salt and pepper
4-5 c water
Bring water to a boil. Add tomatoes and onion; boil for three minutes.
Add shrimp and cook for two minutes.
Add eggplant, squash, string beans, okra and cook for five minutes.
Add the saluyot and stir for five minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.