Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Food for Thought: 5 Days of Reheating Adobo

4:28 AM

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Adobo is one of those staples of Filipino life that you just stop questioning – like why we all have a piano in our living room when nobody plays it or why your Tita uses the opportunity to comment on a photo you just posted as a way to ask how your family is (instead of messaging or texting you).

But despite the lack of discussion or explanation, adobo still holds a special place in our hearts. The sight and smell of it brings back memories of the dinner table and the topics and arguments that flew across it; or the dismay it brought upon seeing your congealed lunch while eating with your schoolmates. Each and every adobo you’ve tasted all has a distinct flavor – you can probably tell which one came from which friend’s house you’ve stayed in (or eaten lunch from – Hi PaCho)! But you always go back to the one you have at home – the one recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Where did this magical dish come from? It is said that the invention of adobo sprung from need – as people needed to stretch the shelf life of the dish so that it may last more than a day in the pantry and can be safely eaten the following days. Not only does the dish stay for a long time, but also it gets better over time. Like fine wine, adobo is best aged. Reheating it from the next day only concentrates the flavors together and caramelizes the meat into perfection.

But how long can adobo really last? A writer from The Thing investigates.

Day 1
Freshly cooked adobo arrives at the table along with steaming rice. The smell of pork, toyo, vinegar and spices wrung together into savory perfection fills the air. Already salivating before serving myself. The first bite sends stars to my eyes. We make one hell of a mean adobo. Or because I haven’t eaten anything substantial today.

Day 2
First day of reheating. I have to correct myself – we really do make good adobo. The next day only emphasizes the flavor. Have to stop my family from attacking it further in order for me to stretch this out for a few more days.

Day 3
Second day of reheating. Experiment subject getting smaller and smaller – will have to stop my dad from attacking the food in the name of experimentation. No changes in color or smell; still brown, still smells like preserved pork. Still tastes good, but it’s starting to get a little dry.

Day 4
Third day of reheating. Experiment subject is getting dangerously small in order for the researcher to take observations and data down. Having a hole bored through my skull from the heated looks of my family members as I ask them to hold on for another day. Again, there are no changes in color or smell. Taste is still good, but is getting really dry.

Day 5
Fourth day of reheating. Subject has now magically turned into adobo rice. Moisture from the rice and oil from the pan have compensated for the adobo’s dry texture.

Results: The experiment proved that you could stretch the dish out for a few days (as long as you can keep it away from the hungry gazes of the members of your household) and proved that near-immortality is possible – both in shelf life and a place in your heart.

And life hack: you now have a dish you can prepare during the zombie apocalypse. Keep this one in mind, Thingamabobs! Adobo will never fail you.

Article by Mikee
Art by Pio
Mikee - One-cup magical procrastination powers, quarter-cup of gibberish, and a generous amount of FEEELS that has been baking under the Philippine sun since 1995. Filmmaker, baker, lover of the light, and your go-to supplier for staple wires (next to National Bookstore).

Pio is an aspiring animator and artist. A gentle giant, it's hard for him to go unnoticed anywhere, but gives him attention when he draws in public.


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