Tuesday, July 29, 2008

wizard or vampire?

I am a Harry Potter maniac, admitting to reading and re-reading, watching and re-watching the movies. But I also enjoy vampire lore and have just picked up Twilight. Stephenie Meyer created her own vampire mythology so different from the known vamp rotes. It doesn't matter that I think she's a bit naive in creating a different lore but she writes really well. Albeit I wasn't too keen on reading teen-age romance which pervades the book, (duh, it's for tweens and teens) but her vamp lore kept me reading. Then there's the movie coming out and a JK Rolwingesque launch for her final book, where the heroine decides which way she is going after having a glimpse of having kids and a normal life with werewolf Jacob. So naturally the shippers. Will she or will she not end up with Edward? And if she does, oh well, for me, she better choose the vampire over the werewolf.(note: as in most of the lore, take Underworld 1 & 2, rather a vampire than werewolf for me)
Still the writing is intriguing although the teen-age angst that permeates does keep me skipping pages only to have to re-read because I missed a part.
But as a successor to HP? These are two diverse areas .Twilight will always have its following, and I browsed other vampire books only to shrug them off as none of them jumped at me the way Anne Rice's books called me, or even St. Germain, cheez I cannot remember the author's name right now. I even got the so many pages long the Historian, enjoyed it and even got chilled by the chapters.

Harry Potter is a universe unto its own. I can say accio and those around know I want something, or dementor, wingardium leviosa, reparo etc. and there are sniggers. Gone are historical and mythological allusions in my life, now there are Potter allusions and to the chagrin of even my children, they understand what I mean when I Potterspeak. Something Twilight will not be able to do as there are no new words like muggles or disapparate to use.

But my movie dates are filled. Half Blood Prince is almost here and Twilight follows soon. i am glad they got Robert Pattinson (AKA Cedric Diggory) to play Edward, he fits the bill and those die-hards who don;t think he's Edward are like those who didn't think Daniel Radcliffe was Harry. Oh well.
Me? The inner teeny bopper is alive and kicking.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cakes That I Have Known part 1

Cakes that I have known. I have more when I randomly remember but this is part 1.
I think back of all the wedding cakes that I have designed back when I worked for Gloria Y. Nichols of the Rolling Pin, aka mom . She was cake maker to the presidents and Manila's then elite 500, and cake maker to the cake bakers. So I treaded carefully and followed her path.
The last two big cakes I made before leaving home for good were those of Irene Marcos married to Greggy Araneta and Martin Nievera to Pops.
I remember asking Patty Araneta to allow me to re-design the family cake stand which was a two tiered masterpiece of hand carved antique gold leaf church pillar used in all the weddings. I added a third tier chosen from their vast collection of antique pieces. The cake had more than 10,000 tiny flowers, tulle, ribbon and leaves in ecru. It flew in its own airplane to Sarrat and we set it up at 4 in the morning. I remember riding the shuttle to the reception site watching so many women and children tying white crepe paper flowers on bouganvilla plants which had pink flowers instead of the white ones promised by Gen Ver to the bride.
Martin's cake was simple but full of orchids . Traditional white boxes with pound cake tied with ribbon and tiny flowers were the giveaways. If I remember rightly, the theme was pink and lavender. I could be wrong because it's been too long ago.
I did a lot of designing personalized cakes then. Now? I have to be careful because I no longer have a staff of 30 to make the tiny flowers, to plaster cast and paint specialized cupids, brides and grooms to make an entourage on sprawling cakes. I now have to do everything on my own which is why I now do stacked cakes. I still have to work on the new styles like fondant cakes, but I still believe a good meringue butter cream and a great combination of cakes and fillings make for a beautiful centerpiece and practical dessert cake.
Mom made the personal birthday cakes of Ferdinand Marcos, he would thank everyone for the many cakes he got on his birthdays but had the pound cake birthday cakes designed by mom and sent by Mayor Bagatsing (whose entire family's cakes were made by Rolling Pin) brought to the private quarters for him and the family to eat.
She also did the cakes of Presidents Garcia, Magsaysay and Macapagal. In fact, she made the wedding cake of Gloria Macapagal to Mike Arroyo. Come to think of it, she also made the cake of Susan Roces to Fernando Poe. Can't forget it cuz I thought it was crazy to have Xmas day as a wedding date. Oh well.
My only claim to fame to date is making the wedding cake of Congressman Mark Kirk. Oh, and a Tiffany colored wedding cake made to look like stacks of beribboned tiffany gift boxes with that particular robin's egg colored hues.

Oldie Blog Post

Food is the fabric of our lives part 1

Have you ever wondered what happens when you sit at the table with a new group of people? date? first meal at your potential girl or guy friends home?

Sweat it out because where we are concerned, how you eat the food, join the conversation and hold yourself up to burns and what not will be the measure of how long you'll last with the person you're with.

Like an initiation of sorts.
Can you take me eating with my bare hands? Uncle Bing too.
Can you stomach foods you probably have never eaten much less heard about till now?
oh my goodness, all that yelling, screaming and please pass the this and that.

hey you, give me that.
aughhh eating pasta with rice. scuse me, that's pancit and rice, needs be.
was that spaghetti with adobo beside it?
what it that thing? cow tongue, cow or pig feet, tail????
hey osso bucco is what??? so kari kare should be a cinch to eat. what? peanut in it? hey, what about mole? so don't say you can't handle it.

Chances are that you won't last if you are a picky non adventurous eater. we gauge friendships and how they last at the dinner table.
I already ate....LAME!!!!
I am allergic to......hmmmm, good excuse, but....NOT.
Try it at least once is what I say.
really Mrs. A, that chocolate soup tastes funny....hahahahah food fit for the cannibal in me.
You are what you eat...hey pigs...how baboy the pig. what? pork chops and ribs again?
you're lucky you aren't in the I want to marry your daughter phase....balut for sure, hey sam, you still have to eat that balut.
crabs? barbaric. yes, you only know crabs legs. dainty pincers and all. we eat the whole thing. watch kylie anamite and bambi dissect the poor thing inch by inch. makes me so proud. butter????euuuaw. gimme vinegar, garlic and lotsa rice. and please, use your hands only... more later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wish I could really cook

I am a cook wannabe. My biggest regret was not surreptitiously watching Mang Lucio and Mang Emo when they were cooking what would be Rolling Pin's signature dishes at the old MH Del Pilar restaurant of GY Nichols. I did catch one for the asado. Let's see, lea and perrins, soy sauce, onions and a bit of brown sugar. But the others were secretly made so that remembered memories of caldereta, beef with green peppers, adobo, bistek pilipino, binagoongan are frustrations to me.
I ordered my paella and lengua from Libby for all my parties, and suddenly, here in the US of A, I had to learn how to do this for our family gatherings. Of course, I did seem to ace the paella and lengua. I even managed to make a better chicken tinga than my Mexican staff who introduced me to this wonderful dish that I submitted it to lutongbahay.com so it is part of their recipe file. Just a few days ago, I finally managed to make adobo of one of my remembered memories. The type you get at the cafeteria or in some one's house during fiesta time. I actually enjoyed it and was thrilled I remembered the taste. So I've added another to my list of adobo recipes. And pancit is another of my downfalls. I still cannot make the pancit they serve at the food stores although the family says each pancit I make is pretty good. I love palabok/luglog/malabon and heck, without Mama Sita, for sure, I cannot make this the way I like it to pig out with. Shoulda coulda learned our cooks' secrets if I weren't so intent of being the hostess that can roast a turkey with all the sides, make imported style spaghetti, roast beef, etc. Aughhh. So ordinary here, seemed great there. And all the while regretting being unable to really hold my Head high when it comes to Filipino cooking. Sure, I can make bistek pilipino, but morcon? Relleno from Nora Daza, and with the help of Pat Dayrit and Enriqueta David Perez, I can actually cook some without being apologetic. Still, being the lazy apology laden cook, I thank Mama Sita for helping me bluff the rest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

About Mrs. A's

A gentleman walked in and bought a cookie. As usual the "you're no longer Mrs. fields?" query came out and we immediately went into our spiel. He was thrilled about knowing we were just us and told us we should write a story About Mrs. A’s. So here it is and it's in our website as well as our summer flyer.

Mrs. A’s Cupcakes & Cookies is a small independent, mom and pop, micro-bakery. Operated by Mrs. A and her two daughters but with 3 other older kids pitching in along with Mr. A, in-laws and grandkids getting into the picture either doing cookie runs, providing cookies, grandkids opening doors for guests and helping stock and eat cookies from 8 year olds to a year old toddler, all welcoming and inviting passersby to take a peek into the busy bustling bakery.
Cookies are baked throughout the day, chocolate chips, chocolate chippies , oatmeal raisin walnut, triple fudge, peanut butter, white chip macadamia, snickerdoodles, Sugar butter M&Ms, and decorated (like the Smileys, butterflies, flower powers, fishies) in front of everyone. Cupcakes are iced to order, and those in the case are replaced each time a cupcake is sold.
After a ten year run in a North Shore bakery, we opted for the baker and recipes of the Bakery from Elm. Many North Shore kids jump up and down when they see their favorite SMILEY and Winnetka’s Frosted Ginger staring at them from the windows of Mrs. A’s.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cakes are decorated within minutes of ordering, Mrs. A’s expertise after attending Mrs. Field’s Cookie boot camp in Salt Lake City during Debbi’s heyday of wanting to sell the perfect cookie. Migz went the bakery cafĂ© path, Kylie, the chocolate candy store. So each of us has that food sense of wanting to provide the best cupcakes and cookies, with some family drama for a bit of comedy club flair.

Asked if we want to open up other stores, can you clone us? So enjoy our cupcakes, cookies, birthday cakes, cookie cakes, wedding cakes, bubble shakes and camaraderie at our little store which includes service with a smile!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

cussing here

Mr. A is sooo against swearing in English. Kids take note , no -effing in front of him. But this peculiarity is negated by the fact that he does not mind my cussing in Filipino. tang ina, hindot, anak ng ____, ay, puki... oh well. But if I just said FiretrUCK the right way, does he get miffed.

Years ago, on our first trip to the US, jet lagged from the long flight and dozing off, we ended up in Chicago's red line and after a harrowing first time El ride, (waking up in the south side) we got back on the right track and ended up on Madison and Wells. By the garage were two African American guys (later we learned these were homeless men) fighting and in my sleepy hazy sleep deprived scared mind, I thought I heard them yell at each other MADAPAKA!!!! I told Mr. A, ay naku sabi niya madapaka, madapaka rin!!!(Good grief, he said madapaka (you fall down, you there, fall down, fall down, you!) . Years later, I would be in that same area, unafraid at 5 in the morning and used to the whole scenario. but MADAPAKA (m-effing is taboo)stayed. And now I am free to say MADAPAKA! Manigas ka is not as emphatic.

I am writing this because I read another blog that had WATDAPAK. So I remembered this little tidbit. Also the running joke of Mr. A, titi-lik mo ba? i-fak mo na lang.
Okay, so much is lost in translation but i like the new WATDAPAK.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Meeting a real live HERO

Last night was the gala of Ateneo Alumni's convention aimed at helping those Arrneeow
grads to deal with life in the US and of course many more tidbits of net working.

But the guest speaker , Antonio Meloto, was the draw for me. Tall, silver haired, and mild mannered but with the power to change the world. Three years ago, Gawad Kalinga was brought to Chicago through an informational meet. My ignorance labeled it like Habitat for Humanity. But boy, was I wrong. It goes way beyond building a house for those in need, it goes way beyond wild expectations. And it is working.

So I gushed and told Tony Meloto that he was my hero, that I believe inhis life's work and project even if I am one short of the three T's needed. (treasure, cheez, I probably would be one of those building and then hoping to live in one of those houses built).

Following Tony Meloto's work, listening to the critics jealous of his success, wondering why, if they claim to be Catholic, they persecute him the way Jesus was persecuted, hey, I am not likening him to Jesus, but he is following the foot path of Jesus in serving the people. His method of reachin out to people is not threatening but rather, makes one wistful in wanting to be a part of this building futures and giving hope for many destitute Filipinos. Give them an out from the depths of their poverty, house them and then give them the tools to educate themselves, find a livelihood they can master and have them police themsleves to lower the crime rate, keep them from going back to the drudgery of petty thievery, drunkenness and hopelessness. And for this Tony is being branded as not being a good Catholic.

Now, there are groups from all over the world studying Gawad Kalinga and working to bring it to their countries. It would be disappointing to find out later on that they ran with the ball and would surpass the Philippines in this just because the stumbling blocks that Catholic Filipinos and clergy are wont to create.

But for whatever it is, Tony Meloto is my hero. He believes we are all heroes in our own way when we help GK. May the Lord always be with him and guide him, and protect him from the crabs in the basket.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Harry Potter

Why do i enjoy reading and re-reading Harry Potter endlessly? Don't I have better reads to do? But JK Rowling's magical wizard has captured my inner child.

Many years ago, as a day dreaming teenager (14 to my 55) I used to write poetry and stories, mini novelas of Odine Odette Odelle, Melalee and other heroines. But one thought form found its way into my writing, a magical black haired green eyed boy of about 8 or 10 who showed up in a magic garden, often as a friend of one of my heroines. I named him James Bernard which became my pen name and then named son #2 and I guiltily admit it came from Paul McCartney's name (James Paul and Bernard Webb).
But I was too young to create a better venue for him, too many distractions and I let him go. And here we are years later. This thought form found its way into the fertile mind of JK Rowling who ran with the ball with her creative, focused and wildly imaginative mind. I thank her for giving life to this thought form. Many of us know the mythology of how Harry came about during JK's sojourn. But I do believe he existed in the other world just waiting for the right person and the right time. I am sure there are many more out there who saw this black haired green eyed magical kid but didn't do anything to bring him to life.

it also helps to have Daniel Radcliffe bringing Harry to life on the big screen giving a face to this wizard. And each book delivers an escape to every day life, adds on to my vocabulary driving my kids crazy when I always allude and refer to passages, incidents, characters and what nots to drive a point, and hey, they understand me when I use Potterisms,tsk tsk.

I speed read and have read the books when they first come out within 4 to 6 hours tops. That's because I hunger to know the entire story. Then I start rereading at a leisurely pace enjoying each chapter and picking out tidmits in hopes of foretelling the next book. JK Rowling ended the series wonderfully, critics notwithstanding. Tied up loose ends, had me shed a tear or two for the sacrificed characters. In hopes that she will be forgiving of the universe she created and tell more stories of those around Harry. Hope springs eternal, right?
Until she does, I will continue reading and re-reading Harry Potter, watch all the movies, (once twice , thrice and more times) listen to John Williams' HP music and those who did the following soundtracks. And drive my kids crazy when I use Harry Potter allusions.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ruben S. Menguito

Remembering daddy. Handsome, suave, ladies' man and how. Man for everyone, great friend to many (but as a father, hmmm, let's sit on this)
He would always say he'd die happy if his dream of" I want to be mayor of Pasig", the town he loved, his birthplace, his hood, would come to be after being a councilor there and many failed sojourns into bokal and con-con elections. He also wanted to make a million bucks in commissions for the kitchen equipment he brokered for Allied International. One day, he got both and the next day, he died.
He was appointed interim Mayor of Pasig, the town he loved, now a city. He used to argue with his eldest son, my half brother Cesar, "Would you rather be the son of the mayor? Or the Nephew of the mayor?" At the same time, he landed one of the biggest (and last) accounts ever, that of providing the new Asian Development Bank that just moved to Ortigas (thereabouts, how should I know, places have changed so much) and actually would have made a million in commissions outfitting the kitchen and the tableware for this project.

Father of 21 (at last count) from myriad women who fell prey to his suave good looks (and he actually wanted to re-incarnate as a doberman pinscher because "they get paid to mate"). He genuinely loved GY, not as beautiful as probably the others he had, but one who brought him into the world of glitz from his meek and mild teacher's life, to wine and dine in the restaurant and hotel industry. Most romantic moment: he came home and shut the lights and GY thought he was coming home drunk again, as she started to rant and rail, he opened a jar and released hundreds of fireflies he took the time to catch and save for that moment.

Never mind the other times I would rather not remember, but that I was the first daughter to walk down the aisle and he actually haad tears in his eyes, so there!

I could go on and on about daddy, all the ups and downs, the fights and the good timesand finally the acceptance that he was who he was and just have fun with it.

After he died, I had one dream , in a light blue striped shirt, youngish probably
30ish, at his handsomest, he did say, "I have always loved you, even if you didn't believe it".

The summer I was 8

I can remember being in the kitchen of Tia Fe Palma every afternoon for 2 weeks, being taught how to bake brownies and make cookies. I didn't know why until I was brought to the studio where Nora Daza's Cooking Show was shot. This was live TV, no cuts nor takes. I was being touted as the baking daughter of Gloria Y.Nichols of the Rolling Pin Bake Shop. At 8 years old at that! And during the show, I must have impressed Nora Daza as I did everything I could remember, but twas really hazy as I remember resenting time in the kitchen when I could have been out playing with cousins.Impressed that she told everyone I was going to enrol at the Manila Gas Cooking School for the summer. And before you know it, the next youngest one to me was a 16 year old. Everyone else was way older. In what I still believe was the best type of layout for a cooking school. But what does an 8 year old know?

Again, I did so well that they created a children's cooking class for the next year. Of course, I couldn't join my peers as I was put into an advanced class.
All I can remember was putting sardines on a pizza, the flavors I still cannot re-make, boiling salt instead of sugar to sweeten kaong, and , the most traumatic that made me unable to decorate cakes for many years, her assistant said in a loud aside when we were decorating cakes, I was trying to do a butterfly shaped cake "ganyan ba ang gawa ng anak ng may ari ng Rolliing Pin?"(Is that the work of the owner of Rolling Pin?)
Scarred me almost for life. I didn't decorate cakes until I got here. Even now, I never think I make great looking cakes even if I get compliments. Lesson to all, don't ever denigrate a child's efforts. It can damage them for life. It's a good thing I overcame this trauma and can actually really decorate a cake. (Although I am one of those free flow persons, always out of the box, out of the line, nothing perfect, nothing the same...AHA, one of a kind, masterpieces each one!)

About Me

My photo
wife, mother of 5, lola(grandma)of 5,joined facebook and still wonder why friend, cook, baker, decorator,daughter,sister, Mrs.A'sCupcakes&Cookies Virgo Year of the Snake St. John's Academy 1970 University of the Philippines BSHRA I'm afraid to admit this, but oh well, Jack of all Trades, master of some. Football fan. Totally. Mrs. A's Cupcakes & Cookies, my latest venture.

another year and patty

another year and patty

Trendsetter at 8

Trendsetter at 8
Cooking on live TV with Nora Daza, the Philippines' Julia Child


All Mine!!!

All Mine!!!
Taylor, Maddie, Daniel, Hunter & Lynn

GY Nichols and Grandkids

GY Nichols and Grandkids
looks like lola's birthday

simple elegance

simple elegance

wedding cakes and me

wedding cakes and me
finishing touches


pure joy, returnable at the end of the day

Summa Cum Laude Bambi Bell

Summa Cum Laude Bambi Bell

patty and me

patty and me
another holiday has come and gone

Daniel's 1st Birthday Cake

Daniel's 1st Birthday Cake
labor of love following tradition, merry-go-round