Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Writers, historians, and anthropologists will treasure this book

Phil.Daily Inquirer photo @inquirerdotnet
2 books make a delicious survey of ‘edible history’

When Felice Sta. Maria sent a copy of her book, “What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food” (Adarna House, 2016), I expected a simple source of information for children about Philippine cooking.

But it was more than that because it kept even an adult like me enthralled by the wealth of knowledge the author provides, aided with colorful illustrations by Mika Bacani.

If millennials don’t appreciate long readings, more so children. Sta. Maria’s texts are short but replete with facts—historical, medical, cultural, geographical, botanical. Folk riddles and proverbs add to the fun.

I expected to breeze through the book, much like scrolling through my phone screen to get to the next pages. But every page and section held my attention because there was so much to absorb.

The chapter on rice explains what bran, white rice and husk are, as well as traditional cooking methods using the bamboo tube and clay pot, and the use of banana leaves and pandan to enhance the taste.

The reader is also introduced to the “rice soul,” called “umayun” by the Mandaya people of Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte.

"Another book, one that writers, historians and anthropologists will treasure, is titled 'Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary' (Anvil Publishing, 2016)."

Ingredients in Filipino cuisine are effectively presented. For example, Sta. Maria provides not only the scientific name of banana, but the plant’s varieties as well. She also explains the process by which sugarcane is pulped which becomes white sugar.

She even includes an Aklanon proverb on sugar (“The fruits of our labor are sweet to us…”), and a historical tidbit (“Sugarcane was so highly valued that only a leader could select who should enjoy it…”). And then a riddle about banana: “Make it a flower first or you can’t eat it.

Kitchen info

There are pages devoted to the kitchen, the author identifying old equipment and storage areas and their respective terms.

For instance, “a small cupboard for utensils and highly valued ingredient” is called “kaling” in Filipino, and that “a rack above the stove where salted fish, meat, tobacco and even kindling are hung” is called a “paya” by the Ivatan of Batanes.

Regional cuisine occupies several pages because each region has distinct cooking, terms for ingredients and dishes.

In effect, the book gives the reader the scope of Philippine cooking, as Sta. Maria invites us to appreciate the country’s “edible history”: “It is what makes us unique as a people” but “because it is so commonplace in our lives, we often forget that food is part of our cultural heritage.”

Photo by Edgie Polistico 2016
Dining dictionary

Another book, one that writers, historians and anthropologists will treasure, is titled “Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary” (Anvil Publishing, 2016).

Edgie Polistico, a lexicographer, compiled the many terms of ingredients, cooking and ways of eating through several regions and languages.

He says he became a food lexicographer when he started translating Cebuano food terms to English. His interest was so aroused that he started to look into other Philippine languages as well.

Polistico has a day job as an insurance employee handling the digital monitoring of accounts; this brought him to places where he became interested in local food cultures. 


Seeing the thick manuscript by Anvil Publishing two years ago, I couldn’t wait until it was published. Polistico’s work has helped me with my own writing; I would refer to his digital dictionary when a regional term proved difficult.

But even with the book’s 300-plus pages, some terms were still not included because it would have made the publication too expensive.

Sta. Maria, who wrote the foreword, says the book is a local Larousse Gastronomique, the French cuisine encyclopedia.

Polistico says the book has been chosen to represent the Philippines in the food writing category of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The winners will be announced in May.

This article is a reprint from Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle Section column. See the original post here.  By Mickey Fenix Makabenta - @inquirerdotnet, Published on January 12, 2017
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

PFCDD - the first Philippine Food Dictionary ever printed. Best gift for all seasons.

After more than two decades of research and another 2 years of pre-publication works, the first Philippine food dictionary now sees print. Edgie Polistico's Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary (PFCDD) is dedicated to feature multifaceted Pinoy food culture, local tastes, and cuisine.

This book is published by Anvil Publishing in Metro Manila and was first released in September 2016 during the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, Philippines.

Get to know more about Pinoy food culture with this book.

Know the local and common names of Pinoy food, ingredients, tastes, implements, and other words Filipino used in culinary and related food culture.

We have more in this food dictionary. Learn how locals call the different colors, flavors, and tastes. You can find in the book most of the fishes commonly found in the Philippine seas and freshwater, with their local common names. As well as list of other animals (including the exotic ones), vegetables, fruits, grains, crops, spices, etc. also with their local common names. And when appropriate, with their corresponding scientific names.

The book is ideal for culinary students and teachers, food researchers, food writers and bloggers, foodies, historians, tourists, local travellers, home cook, those in food business. and those who want to learn new words of the many languages and dialects we have across the archipelago.

Because of his extensive research and the story of struggles behind the creation of this book, Edgie Polistico was featured by ANVIL Publishing in October 2016.

Incidentally, the Gourmand Awards jury has announced in December 2016 that this book won the national category on Food Writing. The book will represent the Philippines in international competition in its category against winners from other countries for the Best in the World to be announced at the annual Gourmand Awards Ceremony in Yantai, China on May 27 & 28, 2017.

Buy a copy for someone dear and someone special. Of course, gift yourself a copy too.

It's a unique and worthwhile gift you can give. The best gift for all seasons. It is the first of its kind - the first Philipine food dictionary printed ever.

The Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary (PFCDD) is available in the Powerbooks and the National Book Store, or shop a copy online.


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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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