Mama Sita Foundation, with its continuous support to the Cultural Heritage Program, recently joined the students of Ateneo de Manila University in their sixth edition of annual dinner gathering entitled “Ilocano Recipes for a Warmer Planet” at Victorino’s Restaurant, Quezon City. Every year, students of the said program organize an event to feature and relish cuisines from different local regions.
With cooperation of Ateneo’s gastronomic gathering, which perfectly lined with Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’ lifetime advocacy of promoting the Philippine Culinary Heritage, the foundation launched their annual food writing contest Mga Kuwentong Pagkain and encouraged Filipinos nationwide to talk about a particular dish, what makes it special, and how it is made and enjoyed in an effort to make known and preserve the flavors of homegrown cuisine.
“Mama Sita loved to promote local foods and how they are prepared. In her life, she traveled to different places to search for the most authentic flavors, and in turn she spread it out to share it with the world. This is what we hope to achieve tonight, talking about food and appreciating our culture and our flavors,” shares Clara Reyes-Lapus, President of Mama Sita Foundation.
Ateneo students of Dr. Fernando Zialcita under Cultural Heritage Studies Program of Department of Sociology and Anthropology, traveled from Manila to Vigan and Northern Towns of Ilocos Sur to study their foods, arts and crafts, and connected their Ilocano theme with today’s major crisis, global warming. This year, they are promoting the use of root crops, particularly kamote, as a substitute ingredient to rice.
“We hope that more chefs can popularize the many uses of kamote and other root crops in their dishes. We all know that, throughout East Asia, rice is prestigious whereas root crops are disdained as low-class. And yet rice consumes much water and requires more effort to cultivate,” Dr. Zialcita stated in his opening speech.
The organizers also prepared brief informative talks during the event; specifically on root crops, Ilocano dishes, and the prevention of global warming, on binakul and gold tambourine jewelry crafts of Ilocos Sur, and on disaster preparedness, which was given by guest speaker Dr. Emma Porio.
The night’s kamote-Ilocano delicacies were prepared by the notable chef Heny Sison, who was inspired by the vegetable recipes of Virginia Savellano, mother of Victorino Restaurant’s owner Congressman Deogracias Victor Savellano. A spread of splendid buffet included Bagnet Chips and Melba Toast as an appetizer, salad of Kamote Tops with Bagoong in Vinaigrette dressing, Creamy Sweet Kamote Soup, Kinirog and Plain Rice, Pakbet ala Apo Lakay, Lumpiang Kamote at Hipon, Roast beef with Kamotato, and desserts such as Kinalti with Panutsa Sauce, and Patopat with Mango Balls.
“If there’s one thing you should remember about tonight’s dinner, it should be ‘naimas.’ That is one word I’m sure everyone agrees can aptly describe Ilocano Food Heritage,” Chef Heny expressed in behalf of Congressman Savellano. “For those who are not familiar with Ilocano, naimas means delicious, and there is no doubt in my mind that this word can encapsulate what Ilocano cuisine is.”
Deadline of submission for Mama Sita’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain contest is on January 26, 2018. For more information, visit msita.com.