We are half way through this mini series, and my journey takes us to a classic dish. If you’re Filipino, this dish will resonate with you. Growing up, my mother and Lola always dressed me in the prettiest dresses and accessories you could find. If you remember growing up wearing Easter dresses with the matching hats, my outfits were similar, but raised to the tenth degree. When it came to accessories, Lola had it covered, as she would get necklaces and bracelets to match with my dresses. I remember, at the time, I didn’t have a jewelry box to store my necklaces. One Christmas, my Lola got my mom a jewelry box. It was a square navy blue box with rounded edges and a mirror.When you opened it there were two trays that you could slide that opened for extra storage. I thought that it was the coolest thing ever. Since my mom got one I thought I was going to receive one, but that Christmas I didn’t get a jewelry box like my mom.
I believe she gave me my first jewelry box a few months after Christmas, before Easter time. If you look at the photo, you can see the box has a girl holding a hat with baby birds in a garden and a rainbow coming out of the hat. The rainbow wraps around the box and decorated with butterflies, flowers and more birds. When you open the box, it is lined with pink fabric, a small mirror and there is a ballerina. There’s actually a knob at the back of my box and when you turn it, the ballerina twirls with music in the background. So I guess it’s more of a music box. As much as I have grown away from using this box and graduated on to using a jewelry armour, I am still very attached to this music box. It still holds necklaces and bracelets she gave me. The music box plays this song that is like my own personal siren calling me back to my childhood.
All in all, this story connects to this week’s dish: adobo. Now, all my Filipino’s out there know this is the staple in any household. Adobo is basically any meat or seafood that is marinated in sauce, cooked and served over rice. In Spanish it means to marinate so cooking this dish is a breeze. You can adobo anything: chicken, pork, squid, heck you could probably adobo your own sock and it’ll probably taste good. *Disclaimer: I’m not held responsible if you actually try to do that.* This week I made chicken adobo, the classic dish on the list of adobos. You don’t have to do this, but I let my chicken marinate over night to let it soak in all of the flavors of the sauce. This marinate has a mixture of garlic, pepper, soy sauce and I add a little node of heat using a second sauce which I’ll leave a secret for now. Or if you have cooked this dish yourself, I say go ahead and conduct your own cooking lab to figure out the secret ingredient which I condone you to doing! Don’t be afraid to mix sauces! When I first learned how to cook this, I was at my Lola and Lolo’s house. I remember walking in and after Lola greeted me she said, “ today we are going to cook adobo.” Now, to me, making this was very big deal since it’s the trademark dish of the Philippines. I mean this dish is a necessary recipe/skill to know which sets the foundation for your life. A little over dramatic, but it’s important to know next to always having garlic and rice in the kitchen. #YouKnowYouAreFilipinoIf
So how does this all connect? Well, after my first experience cooking adobo I have learned a value lesson, aside from not assuming the Goya adobo mix is not an ingredient to the dish. That’s a different story for another time. However, the main lesson from this recipe is that there is always a first for everything. Don’t assume that you know everything or that you’ll always get it right the first try. It’s going to take a lot of practice, along with trial and error before you can master anything. If all us got everything right the first time around, being perfect would be boring. Wouldn’t you agree?