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Aileen’s Kitchen Kwento (story) & Biggie Smalls

July 31, 2010

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been following my friend (Aileen Suzara)’s Kitchen Kwento blog as she embarks on “The Challenge – 26 Days, 26 Letters, 26 Kwentos.”  Check out:

Kwento means “story” in Tagalog (a language in the Philippines).  For every letter of the alphabet, she is blogging a culinary story that somehow ties in with the Philippine culinary culture.  Henceforth, her blog’s tagline showcases “recipes and stories from a Pinay kitchen.”  (FYI, Pinay is a short term for Pilipina or Filipina).  Aside from being my homie & a certified natural foods chef, Aileen, as briefly described in her blog, is also:

an educator, environmental justice advocate, and a lover of food and the written word.

I have been following every alphabet & story, even guessing what the next letter would represent.  So far, I got the “F” word right.  I predicted it to be “Filipino” & ended up being correct.  Well, actually, F = Filipino American farmer, so I thought that was pretty close.  Here’s what she has featured so far (clicking on the word will re-direct you to her blog post):

A = Atomic Foods

B = Bittermelon

C = Collards & Coconuts

Aileen demonstrates how to prepare a special dish with collards & coconuts

D = DNA circa 1980

E = Eggplant

F = Filipino American farmer

Asparagus fields in Stockton, California. Image from Little Manila Foundation.

G = Gulay = vegetables

Cute Veggie AKA Gulay book

H = Hilaw = perfectly unripe

unripe mangoes = a hit in the Philippines

I = Itlog = eggs

Egg AKA Itlog

J = Jeepnified

K = Kamayan = eating with the hands

How best to eat fresh crawfish? With the hands! Kamayan!

Even though the blog is all about Filipino-related kitchen stories, I have noticed that many of the postings infuse some socio-political elements so far.  It is refreshing to find someone who can dive into the rich culinary and political history of the Philippines and the Filipino global diaspora all at the same time without losing your appetite for the food.  Aileen’s eating + politicking = unconventional choices of what she will feature for the next alphabet letter.  You think you know what’s next, but then Aileen surprises you with an unpopular historical fact.  Unpopular or silenced stories of the Filipino struggle?  Either way, it is time for people to know now.  I would like to add a 2nd tagline to her blog, as inspired by the legendary rapper Notorious B.I.G.:

“And if you don’t know, now you know….”

If you don't know, now you know....- Biggie Smalls

My predictions for the rest of the Alphabet:

L = luya = ginger

M = manga! = mango

N = ninuno = ancestor

O = okra!

P = pina = pineapple

Q = queso = cheese

R = recycling

S = sari-sari store = corner store

T = tira = left-overs

U = upo = white pumpkin

V = vinegar

W = water

X = Xtraordinary…LOL

Y = yellow

Z = Zamboanga = a province in the Philippines

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 11:54 am

    Thanks for your review, the second tagline, and your inspiring writing as a “5er,” part of the work to wake up the appetite and help inspire a generation of healthy eaters conscious in more ways than one. Sarap!

  2. melo g3 ongini permalink*
    December 3, 2010 7:26 am

    You’re welcome! Thanks for being amazing!

  3. July 17, 2013 2:28 pm

    Hi there! This article could not be written much better!
    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept talking about this. I’ll send this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a great read.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • melo g3 ongini permalink*
      July 30, 2013 8:03 am

      Thank you so much!


  1. My friend Aileen Suzara wins a Filipino Food Contest (Kulinarya) with her Kare-Kare with Banana Heart dish « 5er for Life

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