Couldn’t quite make out what it is made of. They look like deep fried garbanzo beans but the more and longer I eat them, they taste more like tiny pellets of Cheese Curls only better, it is less salty. They are airy and light but they stick to your gums. It must be the starch in it. It tastes good and I have no doubt it is not good for me – I suspect it was deep fried in coconut oil and has plenty of MSG. And that orange color that makes you believe it is cheese? Don’t be fooled!
But the thing is, it is difficult to resist deep fried snacks even though you know it will eventually kill you.
Above is part of Glen’s gift from his Medical Mission to the Philippines. As soon as she told me she was going to Marinduque, a small island in the south of Luzon, I knew already what favor I would ask her. The mention of the place always take me back to my childhood.
When I was in grade school, my father was a drug salesman for an American pharmaceutical and his area of responsibility was Southern Luzon which covered the province of Marinduque. He went there perhaps every three months as his area was quite big and every time he came home he would bring us tins of cookies that is the specialty of that province. It is called “panganan”.
My sisters must have consumed a lot of panganan then and we always looked forward to his trips there as we already knew we will be feasting on those cookies. They easily became our favorite.
I told Glen how fond we were of those cookies of my childhood and I asked her to bring me back some.
However when I saw them, I was quite disappointed. I don’t remember them to be this diminutive. My memories of them were quite different. They were as big as my fingers and sometimes bigger especially when they were stuck together. They were semi-sweet and crumbly. They had a unique taste of their own, great like no other cookies.
As I eat a couple each time after my dinner, I was trying to figure out what was so special with those cookies that their memories stuck in my mind. It is like going back to an old love and then suddenly realizing you don’t love him anymore as you used to, you’ve outgrown him. So here I am trying to catch as I savor each bit of the cookie what made me loved it so much. I could taste the toasted ground rice and the sweetness of the molasses. I am not even sure what are the ingredients of panganan. But slowly it is coming back to me. It still has the taste of my childhood but it is not quite as great as those gone by days.
Maybe times have changed, times are more difficult now. Maybe they have made short cuts and they no longer make them like in the old days. And the size, maybe it has something to do with it too.
But who knows what has changed. Maybe it is me. My taste has gotten a bit more sophisticated. But no matter what, I am glad that I have found it again because it reminds me of the greatness of my father. How he thought of us each time he left us for his assignments. Those memories of his thoughtfulness and how he cared for us are more important than anything else.
Thanks Glen! And for the orange snack.
365 Project: Day 52