We’re curious. We often see in Facebook our friends in boodle fights and they seem to be having a lot of fun. So on Saturday when we normally have our weekly get together with my sisters we decided to experience it ourselves.
I asked when this manner of eating started. Someone said it is how the farmers in the Philippines eat their meals but I had no such experience because I grew up in a farm. Yesterday at a conversation with my cousin who’s visiting, they told us that it originated in the Philippine Military Academy and their explanation seemed more plausible. This is how one restaurant in the Philippines defines it:
 A Philippine military eating tradition, originally practiced by the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets, wherein members of the military—regardless of rank—gather around a long table where a jumble of food is spread over banana leaves or old newspapers, and eaten with bare hands, as a symbol of fraternity and equality
 In Philippine usage, the boodle fight is a military academy terminology for “eating combat” or “attack the food.”
 The boodle fight is usually prepared in celebration after a successful event or for a special occasion.
It has gone mainstream that many restaurants offer it in their menu. People do it during fiestas, picnics and other get togethers.
So last Saturday we had a potluck and invited a couple of our friends. I brought pork baby backribs, the sister-host marinated pork belly and pork chops, grilled stuffed squid or relleno, bilo-bilo ginataan (made of mochico balls), the other sister brought hamachi fish and fresh shrimps for grilling and also a couple of vegetable dishes while my friend Viv bought some native delicacies and Oberweiss ice cream. For sure we had plenty of food!
It rained but we weren’t deterred even though we planned it for outside. One even bought a portable table. For me there’s an advantage to a drizzle and cold temperature, no flies or yellow jacket bees attacking the food.
They lined the dining table with disposable table cover and then covered it with fresh banana leaves. We ate with our bare hands but we kept our dishes in bowls and yes, we used serving spoons.
I know it sounds uncivilized to eat with your bare hands in most culture but among Filipinos, when we eat at home and the food is extraordinarily good, we think it best to eat this way. Eating with your bare hands is the highest compliment to the cook because it shows his/her prowess in the kitchen. But it needs some practice to eat with your bare hands effectively.
After our meal, all we did was roll the leaves and threw it in the trash. No plates or utensils to wash!