Memory tidbit: Immaculate Sorbet

Perhaps because of the searing heat these days, I remembered the traditional “Buco Lechias” sherbet which was made in a wood-and-steel “garapinera” churn with lots of rock salt outside (to keep cold?).  As far as I knew, it was made in every good Capampangan household.  In Lola Charing’s home, it was made by the mayordomo, Benito Nuqui or “Bito” for short.  “Bito” was modernized to “Bits” in the hip 60s.  LOL.

I was a preteen in the late 70s (born 1967).  Lola Charing had passed on in mid-1977 and my uncle Brother Andrew FSC of De La Salle University became the principal figure in the family.  Brother Andrew had the most luxurious and demanding gustatory tastes.  In one of those phases, he became obsessed with producing an excellent “Buco Lechias” sherbet.  He insisted that the “Buco Lechias” sherbet of his childhood (late 40s) at Lola Titay’s (the Arnedo ancestral house in  Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga) had the WHITEST lychee fruit flesh, not the pale pink ones in the cans currently available.  Of course, the flesh of the lychees in the “Buco Lechias” sherbet at the Arnedo house was white, because Lola Titay and her younger sister Lola Ines used only fresh lychees bought all the way in Binondo.  So he sent Bito to Binondo/Chinatown to look for the whitest lychee fruit flesh.  Well, what did he expect?  It was the Marcos years and there were tight import controls.  No whitest lychees.  Just cans and cans of lychees with pinkish fruit flesh.  Bito returned with the palest pink lychee fruit flesh.  No can do.  Bito was scolded.  Bito was sent back to Binondo/Chinatown and — nobody knew how he did it — but he returned with the whitest lychee fruit flesh!!!  Brother Andrew finally had his excellent “Buco Lechias” sherbet with the whitest lychee fruit flesh.  Brother Andrew was satisfied, at least for that Sunday.

I remembered that at Lola Charing’s house sherbet and ice cream were served on etched crystal stems on porcelain saucers for everyday.  During beautiful lunches and dinners, sherbets and ice cream appeared on chic, Art Deco Christofle footed bowls on Brussels lace doilies on matching Christofle saucers.  Of course, I know all about the metallic taste that silver imparts to food, but I’ll use beautiful silver anytime.

The sherbet/ice cream phase did not end there.  Brother Andrew wanted a “Calamansi” sherbet.  He wanted it tart and dry, something like lime mixed with champagne brut.  Not sweet at all (Brother Andrew intensely disliked sweetish food that was not meant to be sweet, like spaghetti).  Odd, but “Calamansi” tended to sweeten slightly in sherbet form.  No can do.  It took Bito several tries to produce that tart and dry “Calamansi” sherbet, but he did, even if he couldn’t tell the difference.  Brother Andrew was satisfied, at least for that Sunday.

Now in 2013, I wonder why it didn’t occur to Brother Andrew to have a “Dayap” sherbet, when in fact fragrant “dayap” lime (“dalayap” in Capampangan) was used extensively — on practically everything — in our Capampangan/Sulipan cooking?

The best version of “Buco Lechias” sherbet that I’ve had in recent years — exquisitely and expertly tinged with “dayap” lime rind with a hint of French cordial — was served at dinner by my dear friend Albert Salgado Paloma, who is an equal (perhaps even a superior) to Brother Andrew’s luxurious and demanding gustatory tastes.  Worldly and elegant Albert thinks nothing of marinating Italian veal shanks in a very expensive French grand cru for his “Ossobuco” and of marinating goat meat in a very expensive French X.O. cognac for his “Caldereta de Cabrito.”  For Albert, luxurious excess is the only culinary way to go.  Truly Capampangan.

Back to Brother Andrew, the sherbet/ice cream phase did not end there.  He wanted the “Mantecado” ice cream of his childhood at Lola Titay’s (the Arnedo ancestral house in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga).  Mind you, it was not the commercial, vanilla-flavored “Mantecado” ice cream you can buy at the megasupermarkets now.  Brother Andrew’s inherited idea of “Mantecado” ice cream was of thick carabao’s milk, full of egg yolks, and “dayap” lime rind shavings.  It was golden yellow with sprinklings of grass green.  It looked so chic!  If Hermes and Chanel made ice cream, that would definitely be it.  So Bito produced our family’s version of “Mantecado” ice cream with “dayap” lime from Lola Charing’s rose garden.  It was ambrosial.  I would have finished off a gallon if I were permitted to do so.

Comedy relief:  Remembering Brother Andrew’s predilection for “Buco Lechias” sherbet, I am reminded of the time when, already severely diabetic with counts from 300-500 in the early 1990s, Brother Andrew requested his dear first cousin Dr Erlinda “Linda” Arnedo Sazon-Badenhop to make him some sugar-free “Buco Lechias” sherbet, which she claimed she could.  Two or three Sunday lunches later, she arrived with the desired “sugar-free” “Buco Lechias” sherbet which she made herself.  Expectedly, given the Arnedo tastebuds that she had, it was delicious and Brother Andrew was in rapture.  “Are you sure this is sugar-free???  It’s so sweet and so good!!!  It’s delicious!!!”  Brother Andrew rhapsodized as he rapidly consumed 5 scoops of the concoction.  “Yes, Brother!  No sugar, definitely no sugar!”  she claimed most assuredly, with her characteristic deadpan.  Later, when Brother Andrew had retired upstairs (doubtless dizzy from the sugar rush LOL), we asked:  “Wow, Tita Linda!  Your “Buco Lechias” sherbet was so good!  And it’s sugar-free!  What’s your secret??!!”  “Easy!”  she replied, “I poured all the syrup of the cans into the sherbet!”  “HUH???!!!”  Aghast, we cried out:  “But Tita Linda!  That’s all sugar!!!  The syrup IS sugar!!!”    She insisted firmly but comically with a naughty smile:  “No, no, no!  That’s only syrup, NOT sugar!  Besides, how will it taste good without any of the lychee syrup???!!!”    TOUCHE.    LOLOLOL    ROTF    LMAO    !!!!!!!!!!!!

So this is what this warm, warm spell does to me.  It makes me think of sherbet and ice cream from the past.  From the distant past.

These days, I am delightfully condemned to the highly unusual, positively weird, molecular gastronomy, New Age ice cream concoctions of my brother Gene and nephew Gino.  But it’s a nice problem to have.  LOL.

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13 Comments

  1. Mike Jordana said,

    April 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I take back what I said — “I can’t get it to type directly into my work by just selecting the displayed special character with the mouse. I still have to do the extra Paste step.”

    I just figured out how! You first have to tell Extra Keys what application you’re using, by selecting it from a dropdown list. Once you do that, you just need to click on the special character you want on the small Extra Keys display and, bingo! there it appears in your writing application, right where you left the cursor. I got it to work with Notepad and Word and my email editor, and that’s really all I need.

    I’ve had Extra Keys on my 10″ notebook for months — don’t ask me why it took me so long to figure it out. Must be getting senile, heh heh.

  2. Mike Jordana said,

    April 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    This is in answer to Grace David’s comment, where she says, “I’m not sure if it can be done on Notebooks and other touchscreen devices…” For people with notebooks and other portable machines without dedicated numeric keyboards, I would suggest a very small downloadable-for-FREE program from a small software business in the UK called Deeproot Software.

    The program is called “Extra Keys” and is downloadable from C/Net, among other sites — just Google “Deeproot Extra Keys.”

    This is their description:

    “With Extra Keys you can type any accented characters for French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Scandinavian languages. Also other special characters — this small Windows software tool enables simple input of letters and symbols that may not appear on your normal keyboard.

    “Using the mouse, each letter will be typed directly into the selected application, at the current cursor position. The character is also copied to the Clipboard. In some situations, typing directly into another program is not allowed but the character can still be inserted by simply using Paste.”

    I found that “In some situations” is sort of an understatement — I can’t get it to type directly into my work by just selecting the displayed special character with the mouse. I still have to do the extra Paste step. (Paste is most easily performed via Ctrl-V.) I’ve found this to be true with Word, Notepad, Wordpad, and within my email editor, on a Windows 7 notebook.

    But in the absence of a numeric keyboard, it’s still a good solution . I do a lot of writing in Spanish, and when I have to use my 10″ notebook without its external keyboard, I’m grateful for Extra Keys.

    I’m sure others who don’t care to remember the many Alt combinations for all these special characters will appreciate this little program too.

  3. April 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Mike:

    Ah yes, the http://www.wordpress.com kinks.

    I think there is a way to do that. In fact, I think we reversed the order of the comments specially upon your request, for your mother. If I remember right, the default order of comments was that the first was first and the last, last.

    We’ll look into it and let you know.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  4. April 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Dawn:

    Thank you for the keyboard shortcuts!!!

    Best regards to Jiggs!!!

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. April 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Grace:

    Thank you for the keyboard shortcuts!!!

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  6. April 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Mike:

    Thank you for the keyboard shortcuts!!!

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  7. Mike Jordana said,

    April 27, 2013 at 6:52 am

    By the way, Toto, I find the lay-out of your Comments sections a bit …. um, inconvenient. This is because they’re listed in reverse chronological order (i.e., newest first). Sometimes it makes more sense to read people’s comments from oldest to newest. Then one can follow the thread when the commenters start contradicting each other or bickering among themselves. Doesn’t WordPress offer a feature whereby the reader can order the Comments as s/he chooses, by either “Oldest first” or “Newest first”?

  8. Mike Jordana said,

    April 27, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Toto, I forgot Alt+129 for “ü.” This for words where the “u” could be silent (like “sigue”) but isn’t (like “vergüenza”), as in when one might say “¡Que vergüenza!” when scandalized.

  9. Dawn Lopez-Ona said,

    April 27, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Hi Toto,

    Try ctrl+shift+~ (tilde), the letter =)

  10. Grace David said,

    April 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I’m not sure if it can be done on Notebooks and other touchscreen devices but if you have a regular PC and keyboard, you just have to type 164 using the number key on the right side of the keyboard while holding ALT key and you’ll have ñ and ALT (hold) and type 165 to get Ñ. I hope that helps.

  11. Mike Jordana said,

    April 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Toto, you said, ” I want to spell the Spanish “enye” but it does not appear in my keyboard. I know there’s a technique but I don’t know what it is.”

    Here goes… with NumLock on, press and hold down the Alt key, while typing 164 on the numeric keyboard. That’ll give you an ñ. There’s also Alt+160 for á, +130 for é, +161 for í, +162 for ó, +163 for ú, +168 for ¿, and +173 for ¡ — you know, if case you decide to write a letter to a friend in Spain.

    Hope this helps.

  12. April 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Mike:

    “Pampangueno,” yes, of course, specially in the old days. “Capampangan” too. “Kapampangan” with a “K” is the term most widely-used these days. I have an incorrigible, politically incorrect friend who termed it thus: “Use ‘Capampangan’ with a ‘C’ to refer to US. Use ‘Kapampangan’ with a ‘K’ to refer to THEM.”

    The Spaniards who chose to remain during the American occupation were loyal to Madre Espana and everything Spanish. D Enrique Zobel de Ayala established the “Premio Zobel” literary prize to maintain the language in the Philippines.

    Hahah. I want to spell the Spanish “enye” but it does not appear in my keyboard. I know there’s a technique but I don’t know what it is.

    Ah well, for whatever it’s worth, Spanish in all its forms is still (widely) spoken around the world.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  13. Mike Jordana said,

    April 26, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Garapiñera… now there’s a word you don’t hear much anymore.

    Say, Toto, speaking of “Capampangan,” when I was living in the Philippines is the 50s and 60s, people and things of Pampanga were referred to by the Spanish word “Pampangueño.” When I went back to the Philippines in the 1st decade of the new century, I noticed everything from Pampanga was now “Kapampangan.” When did this change occur? Or did the two terms always co-exist, even though the Spanish term may be on the wane, or already completely dead?

    It’s also interesting to me that the use of Spanish flowered after the arrival of the Americans — apparently because when the arrogant Spaniards held the reins, they declined to teach us Spanish, believing the common Filipino to be “beneath” such an elegant and aristocratic language. But at one time in the last century, the Philippines had three official languages, of which Spanish was one.

    Now all that is gone, and even blog authors no longer write place names like “Biñan” or “Dasmariñas” or “Ángeles” anymore. (Hmm, maybe their software won’t let them — let’s see how this looks after I submit it.)

    I blame the Spanish — they had a chance to immortalize their language in Asia but, in their disdain for us, chose not to do so. Now they have to satisfy themselves with just South America (save Brazil).


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