About Havenhill Cuisine

Hello and welcome!

WelcomeIf you’re new to Havenhill Cuisine, please let me take a moment to introduce you to the site. Havenhill Cuisine is a blog, or a personal website, where I compile recipes of dishes that I cook for my family. At the heart of this compilation are recipes of food that my husband and I grew up with and associate with people close to our hearts—some of them gone, some of them far away, some of them bent with age. These pages tell stories that capture the personality of the recipes and enshrine family lore—Whose recipe was it? On what occasions was it cooked? What memories, happy or sad, does it evoke?

Havenhill Cuisine therefore, is more than just a cookbook and a blog. It is a treasury of personal memories culled from a lifetime of family meals and culinary practices. It is a reflection of our family’s culture, as much as it is a refraction of our family’s soul. It is an act of culinary devotion, a gift of the heart, as much as it is an act of filial piety, a tribute to my families—the one I was born into and the ones that I chose to be part of through marriage, as well as the ones I gave life to. It represents traditions and traditions-in-the-making.

Think of Havenhill Cuisine as a mother’s gift of love, through whose pages I present to my children a chronicle of our family’s culinary heritage, one recipe and one memory at a time.

How It All Started

recipiesofmamaEven as a young boy, my son had strategic vision and very definitive choices in food. At the age of 5, he made me promise to teach his future wife how to cook his favorite dishes so he could enjoy them till he’s old and gray. He also wanted his children to eat the same dishes, the way his Mama cooked them—which was how his grandparents cooked them as well. He planned to get married at 25, but he couldn’t wait that long for the cooking lessons to start. He had to make sure, so he took matters into his own hands. He picked a 1990 planner from an insurance firm and declared that I should, right then and there, start to document my recipes. On the first page, in his pre-Palmer penmanship, he wrote “Recipies OF MAMA.”

Passing on the Sandok
sandok
sandók [sun-dohk] | A native cooking spoon or ladle with a bamboo handle and a coconut half-shell as scoop. My grandmother cooked with this implement and no other.

Upon my son’s bidding, I naïvely set about compiling my family’s recipes, thinking this project would be as simple as recording ingredients and instructions. I soon realized that with each recipe came a memory and with each memory I was led back to another place and time — the Malolos of my childhood and, albeit vicariously, the Pasig of my husband’s. The process of recording recipes began to stir our taste memories and to unearth stories and practices from our almost forgotten past. Many times during the research, I would be so engrossed in reclaiming our respective family’s history that I would completely forget about the recipes.

My husband and I did not give our culinary heritage much thought until we were well into adulthood. Our elders had never been able to pass on to us their knowledge of cooking; their recipes were all in their eyes, nose, and tongue. Our children and grandchildren—especially mine in America—indeed risk the loss of our culinary heritage and the spiritual enrichment it fosters—until one boy, who so loved his mother’s cooking, recognized the risk and spoke up. Over the years therefore, my husband and I jogged our collective memory and recreated the prized flavors and textures we remember from childhood.

At the heart of this compilation are recipes of food that we grew up with and associate with people close to our hearts — some of them gone, some of them far away, some of them bent with age. These pages tell stories that capture the personality of the recipes and enshrine family lore: Whose recipe was it? On what occasions was it usually prepared? What are the special ingredients or techniques, those little family secrets, involved? Who likes it? Who doesn’t? What memories, happy and sad, does it evoke?

The recipes in this collection reflect the range of mastery that Havenhill’s resident cook has attained. In addition to treasured family recipes, they include recipes—native and international, traditional and contemporary—culled from a growing collection of cookbooks, compiled from an even bigger collection of magazines, recorded from TV cooking shows, downloaded from the Net, given by family and friends, or recreated from restaurant meals. The recipes share one common thread—they are dishes that my family and I love to cook—and love even more to eat.

Havenhill Cuisine therefore, is more than just a cookbook and a blog. It is a collection—nay, a treasury—of personal memories culled from a lifetime of family meals and culinary practices. It is a reflection of our family’s culture, as much as it is a refraction of our family’s soul. It is an act of culinary devotion, a gift of the heart, as much as it is an act of filial piety, a tribute to my families—the one I was born into and the ones that I chose to be part of through marriage, as well as the ones I gave life to. It represents traditions and traditions-in-the-making.

For in trying to record our family recipes and family stories, I acknowledge the legacy of our parents and grandparents—and hereby pass on the “sandók” to my children and their children, and all generations yet to come. ☙