Friday, October 23, 2009

Death Meal

I sort of blitzed through all my backlogged pictures and I actually have a few more pictures that will merit a couple more posts, but it's getting late and I'm planning to be up and early tomorrow to register to vote, so I'll end tonight with a more or less apropos post. Considering it's almost Halloween and all.

^ is a photo of my paternal grandfather's death meal. He suffered a fatal heart attack after a dinner of fried dilis and eggplant with toyo-vinegar dip and rice. I was very young then, and I can remember that they, meaning the grown-ups, were sort of waiting for me to say something heartbreaking like "When will Papang wake up?" We were very close, you see, and I guess they expected me to miss him. Not that I didn't, but at the early age of six or seven, I was already aware that people die, and when they do, they never come back, so pray for their souls and get over it. Is that...odd?

In the years that followed, this food combo became the stuff jokes and family legends were made of. Dilis or pescao seco with fried eggplant has always been a cherished family meal (maternal side of the family I mean...paternal side was partial to fried chicken...easy game of analyze-the-difference, huh?). To me fried eggplant with fried dried fish taste really, really good. I swear that I'd take that over any fancy French Php2500-per-head-dinner. The rich sweetness of eggplant and the evil deliciousness of daing with the tart/umami-ness of the toyo-vinegar? Come on! Who can pass that up, right?

Just a quick note, whenever my grandmother, Mamang, would eat the daing-eggplant combo, she would always say, as if talking to Papang, "Pang, numa anay comigo saca para man uban contigo kay si Dimple (me) bata pa." (Pang, don't take me to accompany you yet, because Dimple is still so young.) And my titos would joke, "Pang, ta mira yu el ulam, sigurao yo yan dala ya tu come conese nu?" (Pang, can you see what's for dinner? I bet you already learned your lesson eating this stuff, huh?)

Sheesh. Remembering the jokes make me feel a touch eerie just about now.

Anyway, I still regularly eat this combo. In the office, I would just buy tuyo or dilis from the Jollijeep (and ask for toyo-vinegar) and a raw eggplant from a nearby mini-mart. We have an electric oven in the office so I butter or oil up the oven pan, place the sliced eggplants there and bake until brown, turning over once.

I haven't made up my mind yet what I want my death meal to be, if in case I can plan it. But if I end up like Papang, heck, what a good way to die.

What's your death or last meal?

Happy Halloween guys!

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