by Sarah Grutas
If there’s anything I hate about cookbooks is that they all tend to be too formal, or that each recipe is accompanied by a mouthwatering photo of the finished product, as if telling me that whatever I cook, it will only be a success if the result looks exactly like the one in the picture. Fortunately, Rosan Katlea Reodica’s The Practicing Misis is none of that.
It is a collection of 50 or so recipes that will delight not just the palate but also the heart. Each recipe is not just a step-by-step instruction on how to cook food as it’s interspersed with warm and uplifting stories of the author’s childhood in Cavite or her many heartaches and bad life choices (and the lessons she learned from making them); it is also a step-by-step guide on how to go through life.
WHAT I LIKED
Refreshing as a watermelon shake is how I would describe this book. It is a cookbook told like how a hyper and funny friend would narrate it. A friend who is sometimes irritating (because she either talks too loud or too fast) but is almost always endearing. She may sometimes disappoint you but most of the time she gets it right, especially in the tummy and heart departments.
The book starts with easy to follow Pinoy recipes (which she learned mostly from her beloved mother and grandmother) and progresses to complex formulas influenced by her travels and her experiences growing up; from simple to (somewhat) complicated ingredients. But in each recipe, the author’s secret ingredient is always included—love. And she does not just mean boy-girl love—she means love of food and love of life. She says:
“Through food, win the love of your life. By now you should know, this should have always been you.”
With this book, Reodica, actually tries to make homemade food and cooking appealing to young people, the millennials, who grew up eating McDonald’s and canned tunas and whatnot. It is actually telling us that yes, even with all the technology around us, we still need to know the basics.
The book aims to be hip and current, using hugot and puns to relate to the Filipino readers who most likely used (or encountered) a hugot line at least once these past months. I wish, though, it toned down on the mahugot (angsty) shtick a bit as it tended to be too saccharine especially if read in one sitting.
The book’s switching from Filipino to English may also jar you at first but once you get the hang of it you’ll be sailing smoothly in no time.
If you can look past the cheese, this book is actually a palate-cleanser. A standout from all the standard, normal cookbooks around. A recipe book of Instagrammable and hashtaggable dishes for the quintessential millennial. ☁