Skip to main content

Nilupak

IT dawns on me now there’s more to nilupak than meets a naïve city slicker’s eye.

Let us recall a recipe. Prize firm semi-ripe saba bananas, most of ‘em dark green with hardly any hint of yellow sheen on their skin— stuffed full of starch with fruity sweetness about to begin. Pounded to a creamy smoothness, semi-ripe saba would have the consistency of corn meal or whole wheat flour.

Saba bananas of such sort are boiled, peeled, cut up in chunks, plunked into an aching maw-hole of a mortar hewn out of a tamarind tree trunk. Ah, tamarind tree boles often turn up into such farm household items as mortar or chopping board—the fine-grained tough wood often ages into a honeyed dull cream color. Tamarind wood doesn’t impart either tartness or sour-sweetness of its sap to any item of food worked upon its honey-smooth surface. Besides, tamarind—salumagi, sampalok, ampil -- throbs with, as wizened rustics have it, a nurturing love.

Palpate for such sort of love with a fond gaze on a firm hand wielding a pestle, pound-pound-pounding chunks of saba and grated young coconut meat into a silken mush. Need a helping hand? Find that at the end of your own arms.

Limbs flowing into arms into hands firmed up into a knot of wiry sinews can bear the tedium of that pound-pound-pounding. These are limbs-arms-hands wont to pumping water from a deep-well, taking home ‘em pair of jerry cans or 12-kilogram tin containers balanced on a shoulder pole, chopping firewood—or any other manly chore in a farm. These are limbs that can muster stamina to plough through the most back-breaking tasks.

That soft heave-pounding sound as smooth pestle head smacks like tongue lapping up a spreading mush-- that echoes a throbbing heart seeking a beat similar in rhyme, maybe a same reason as one’s own.

Time flies like a butterfly flapping its frail wings as batch upon batch of saba chunks-coconut meat-margarine churns slow into a satin paste of uncomplicated chemistry.

Yes, nilupak is done by couples as a field test of sorts on their capacity to withstand a tiresome task for two. Nilupak-making is a test of a couple’s endurance and inhered capacity to flow into a rhythm.

Can this lovesome pair keep it up? Will they turn up chewy nougat? Will they ruin whatever’s cooking between them? Whatever’s keeping them together, will it stand the test of time?

As old-timers have it, nilupak tastes much better when the couple pours a lot of heart into that aching mortar’s maw. It isn’t the fructose in the bananas, not the drizzle of sugar on that starchy amalgam that imparts just-right sweetness to nilupak.

It’s something poured out from a pair of hearts brimming with ah, that old-fashioned, crazy little thing called love.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lagay ng panahon

PAGLALAKBAY ng kalakal at balana, pangisdaan at pagsasaka—sa mga marahas na pihit o mahinahong usad ng panahon nakasalalay ang mga ito.

Hindi mga larong pagsusunugan ng utak o taltalan sa Facebook ang may pinakamalaking bulto ng naghahalungkat sa Internet— lagay ng panahon ang talagang inaalam… ‘hirap kasi sumalunga sa buhos ng unos lalo’t sa bahaging bundok maglilipat-puno o pananim… ‘hirap magpalipad ng saranggola o kahit barko sa halihaw ng bagyo.

Hindi naman pala dapat umasa sa PAGASA—mas asenso pa nga ang “Eat Bulaga” na may domestic satellite para maikalat at ipaalam saanmang lupalop sa Pilipinas at kanugnog na mga bansa ang wasiwas-balakang at yugyog-niyog ng EB Babes… aba’y makikita halos araw-araw na binabayo yata ng bagyo ang mga naturang tagasayaw.

Kaya naman mas tinatangkilik, marubdob na sinusubaybayan ng mga miron saanmang kuyukot at kili-kili ng bansa ang naturang palatuntunan kaysa maayos na paglalakbay, pangisdaan at pagsasaka.

Kaya naman dumadagundong ang katkat ng alipu…

Every single cell of my body's happy

I got this one from Carmelite Sisters from whose school three of my kids were graduated from. They have this snatch of a song that packs a fusion metal and liebeslaud beat and whose lyrics go like this:

"Every single cell of my body is happy. Every single cell of my body is well. I thank you, Lord. I feel so good. Every single cell of my body is well."

Biology-sharp nerds would readily agree with me in this digression... Over their lifetimes, cells are assaulted by a host of biological insults and injuries. The cells go through such ordeals as infection, trauma, extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins in the environment, and damage from metabolic processes-- this last item is often self-inflicted and includes a merry motley medley of smoking a deck a day of Philip Morris menthols, drinking currant-flavored vodka or suds, overindulgence in red meat or the choicest fat-marbled cuts of poultry and such carcass.

When the damage gets to a certain point, cells self-destruct. T…

Ayungin-- comfort food

PAMBIHIRA na ngayon ang makasumpong ng ayungin o lukaok (Therapon plumbeus) sa palengke. Pambihira--kapag nakatagpo ng ayungin para na ring nakatagpo ng matino’t matuwid na tao na nakaluklok sa gobyerno.

Nagmula man sa tubig na tabang, tabsing, o alat, bihira nang makahagilap ng ayungin o silver perch. Palatandaan kasi ang malinamnam na isda na tahasang malinis, halos dalisay ang tubig na pinagmulan nito. Kakayanin ng dalag, tilapia, talandi, biya, gurami, bangus at hito na mabuhay sa maruming tubig—na dagliang lilipol sa kawawang ayungin. Saan bang lupalop ng bansa meron pang lubluban ng tubig na nakaligtas o nakaiwas sa polusyon at pagsalaula?

Pintor-manlililok na Manuel D. Baldemor ang nag-alok sa akin ng ayungin. Hindi talaga ayungin. Anyo na lang ng ayungin ang inialok. Sabi nga’y visual food for thought. Binitad o nakatuhog na tila mga talulot ng bulaklak sa tuhugang tilad na kawayan. Masining na nakabukadkad sa bilao, nakasalampak na anyo sa papel. Hindi na mapapatakam ni magl…