Kulinarya, a book for learning Philippine Cuisine

kulinarya2-2013-300x409In Filipino Cuisine class yesterday I had a student from Talisay Batangas who was in-charge of the menu. We were doing “sinaing na tulingan” ( fish cooked in water with a souring agent) a hard core and authentic Batangas dish. She told me that her grandmother taught her to twist and pull the fish tail out before cooking. Along with the tail came a tiny sack which could at times be poisonous. I was so amazed to learn something new!

FILIPINO CUISINE is a course that is offered to the seniors in the culinary program. It runs for one term (14 weeks) and is considered a major subject. I was tasked to work on the FILIPINO CUISINE curriculum back in 2003, honestly I did not know how or where to begin.

I am a “martial law”  baby and grew up in a decade were colonial mentally was very strong. I grew up with Sesame Street and English was our first language.  In fact when we spoke Tagalog in class we were charged one peso for every sentence. In my teenage years the very first McDonald’s store opened ushering in the fast food generation. We embraced all things western and American! Household Filipino food was

shunned as ordinary. I was at a loss!

Culinary schools teach us French foundations, but we are Asian, and we are Filipino. Our ingredients and techniques are different. I went to the library and noticed we had rows of books on French, International and Asian Cuisine. Disappointingly books on Filipino Cuisine were very limited. Anyway I had to confer with the other chefs and we agreed to do a “regional approach”, hence Filipino Cuisine was classified as a major subject. A lot of work was needed to preserve and promote our culinary heritage. Our advocacy was to start inside the classroom. Travel and  immersion in the different provinces for research was essential.

I also recommend “Kulinarya” as a good teaching reference. The gala dinner and book launch of “Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine” was held at the Peninsula Manila.  That evening I was surrounded by people who shared the same sentiments and passion for the Filipino food movement.  The book was produced by Asia Society Philippines Foundation with chairwoman Ms. Doris Magsaysay Ho. The project was done in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, San Miguel Purefoods, and Del Monte Philippines. Recipes are a collaboration between Chefs Myrna Segismundo, Glenda Barreto, Jessie Sincioco, Maragrita Fores, Claude Tayag, and Conrad Culalang. It was edited by Ms. Michaela Fenix, styled by Ige Ramos, Katrina Bolasco and photography by Neal Oshima. Guest of honor was DOT Secretary Ace Dorano.

The dinner menu was lechon, tinolang manok served inside a green papaya boat, adobong manok, pinaputok na isda, and pinakbet. Dessert was buko pandan, sapin sapin and turon. In Filipino we call events like this a giant “salo-salo”. The dinner began with a “parada ng lechon”, then a serenade of songs like “bahay kubo”, then speeches from the different chefs and key people involved in the project.


About Pam

Teacher, cook, foodie, wanderlust
This entry was posted in Food, Philippine Cuisine, Philippines and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Kulinarya, a book for learning Philippine Cuisine

  1. jo capareda says:

    Dear Cooking Class,
    I have seen the book but did not buy it because it is too expensive. There is one thing that troubled me…
    There is a photo of talbos ng kamote but it was labeled kangkong.
    Nawala ang credibility ng libro.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment. They came out with the softbound book already. It is around P750.

  3. Beth says:

    Oh my I would love to get my hands on this book. I’ve been waiting quite some time for its release. However I’m here in Canada. Is there any way for me to purchase the book and have it airmailed here? If anyone has ideas please let me know, it would be much appreciated. My email is mulchoseo@gmail.com . Thanks.

  4. Regina Newport says:

    Like Beth above, I would like to buy a copy of this book, and I’m in Virginia, U.S. — I tried Amazon.com but no luck. How do Pinoys abroad get a copy?

  5. Ige Ramos says:

    Thank you for posting Kulinarya in your blog. We all agree that we all have a duty to our country in promoting and placing Filipino cuisine in the world’s culinary map. For the last twenty years or so, we have seen Philippine cookbooks in the market created by the pillars of Philippine Cuisine, notably by Nora Daza and Sylvia Reynoso Gala to name a few. I’m not saying these cookbooks didn’t make any dent in the international gastronomic arena, in fact it’s readership is enjoyed only by a few expats and loyal fans of Philippine cuisine and collectors of “exotic” cookbooks.

    The aim of Kulinarya is to promote “best practices” in Philippine cuisine. It clearly states in its subtitle that it is “A Guidebook” and not “The Guidebook” because the publishers deemed it too presumptuous to call it such. However, the word “standardization” was also avoided because the magic of Philippine cuisine lies in its personalization of traditional cooking as “my adobo recipe is different from your lola’s recipe” and the sinigang in your province is different from mine.”

    Kulinarya was very expensive and a very difficult book to produce. The pre-production, the kitchen testing of the recipes and the initial writing of the text took about 2 years. The principal photography, graphic design, including its seven revisions took about a year to complete. All in all, it took about three and a half year to produce Kulinarya. The publishers, the chefs, the photographer, the book designer and the stylist were very patient to make sure that the book see light of day. However, a book of this scope is not safe from minor typos and misrepresented photo captions, as Ms. Capareda has pointed out that a photo of talbos ng camote was labeled as kangkong. It was just a minor mistake in the first edition, which was already rectified in the subsequent editions. I just hope that Ms. Capareda wouldn’t harshly judge the book’s credibility because of this minor mistake. If one reads the first edition of The Joy of Cooking and compare it to the latest edition, one will see how the book has evolved over the years. Yes, publishing is a very cruel industry and its output continually evolves.

    Kulinarya is now on its fifth printing and some of the recipes tweaked and essays updated based on the reader’s response. We also included, Anthony Bourdain’s views on his last visit and interview with Claude Tayag, one of the six chefs featured in Kulinarya.

    As the book designer of Kulinarya and as a Food writer, together, we should join our hands in promoting Philippine cuisine and place it in the world’s culinary map and we should stop bickering about who’s adobo’s recipe is better. 😉

    And for Filipinos living overseas, if you want to obtain a copy of Kulinarya, you can get in touch with Anvil Publishing or Ms. Vida Valverde of Asia Society Philippines

    To add another dimension in your quest for anything Filipino Gastronomy and Filipino Food History, you should read Ms. Felice Sta. Maria’s “The Governor-General’s Kitchen, Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes from 1521 to 1935. This book was also designed by me (please pardon the self-promotion) and it won the 2007 National Book Award for best Food Book and for Design. It also won in the 2008 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Historical Cookbook, awarded in the London International Book Fair. We Filipinos, after all, have something to be proud about.

    I just hope in the next five years, Filipino cuisine will be as popular as Thai, Vietnamese and Malay cuisines as they are now enjoyed overseas.

    good luck and more power to your blog,

    Ige Ramos

  6. admin says:

    Wow! Mr. Ramos thanks for the post. Such an honor 🙂

  7. Beth says:

    I really wish Kulinarya is brought to some of the online international book retailers like Amazon and Chapters/Indigo. It would be a big step in promoting our cuisine abroad.

  8. juliet aquino ramos says:

    Do you have instruction on how to make pesa sause for fish or dalag? I f not I’ve been homesick to make one? Does anyone would like to share recipes with me? Thanks a million….Juliet

  9. Bene Ty says:

    Hi Cooking Class.. searched Google for Phil Cuisine according to region and stumbled upon your blog, can you recommend this book as a reference? i need a published book for reference for the class that im teaching HRM students this summer, subject is Phil Cuisine according to Region, thank you in advance God bless and more power!

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