I did a project in 2011 for the Asian University Digital Resource Network. That project involved digital tagging of traditional Filipino food ingredients that are easily grown in the backyard and the documentation of the cooking process of known Filipino dishes. Apart from availability, the project sought to establish the influence of family tradition (how a dish is passed on from one generation to the next) on the choice of food served on the table. The narrative behind the dish that reminded the cook of her late mother (who when still alive had told them about how that same dish figured in their family book because of her mother’s mother) provided depth to the understanding of the relational and sentimental value of food beyond nutrition.
The process of determining which Filipino ingredients to focus on was fun. We engaged some 12 mothers in the town of Dauin. They listed down main Filipino ingredients based on availability in their area and frequency of use, then they narrowed down their choices to the Top 8. Each of the mothers then took charge of an ingredient and cooking a Filipino dish with it. On demo day, we documented In video how they cooked their respective dishes and their stories of how those dishes reminded them of their childhood and loved ones.
Sometime in 2011, I was able to present this project at an international conference in Manila.
One of the videos produced by the project features how to cook ‘tortang puso sa saging’. Click to watch: