(Is it possible for the Kapampangan, Ilongga, Bulakeño and Batangueña chefs to agree with a single version of preparation and presentation of a Filipino dish?)
I have been often asked for gift suggestions for a person who will be based abroad. I would consistently remark that it should be something practical, handy and useful. A cookbook has been one of the favorite suggestions. Yes, the person taking off may not immediately appreciate it until he or she begins experimenting in the kitchen. But whether you are gifting it to a kitchen expert or not, there is one cookbook that is an absolute pleaser.
Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine is a product of genius effort from six well-known and respected Filipino chefs, with its editor Michaela Fenix. They have collaborated, debated and performed kitchen testings since 2006 to come up with precise recipes that all Filipinos would embrace as their own no matter which dialect they speak.
It sounds like it is impossible to standardize recipes since we grew up in different homes such that each ilaw ng tahanan (mother) has her own way of preparing the dish (e.g. there are at least 8 versions of adobo as mentioned in the preceding entry).
(It was a perfect timing that I was in the culinary tour in the house of Claude Tayag, one of the writers-chefs, when the book has just been launched. Next in line when he autographed it was the foodie/former GMA newscaster/Erap’s spokesperson Margaux Salcedo. I remember almost behaving like a giddy adolescent when he was writing on my copy. How can you not be starstruck by the chef featured by Anthony Bourdain and is the brain of 5 ways lechon that made me eat for 5 hours straight? He was also the food stylist of this book.)
I got a copy of the “most coveted” cookbook in December 2008. Since then, it serves like a bestfriend in the kitchen and an easy reference for everyone. (Well, when someone’s consulting over the telephone or through the email, I can at least pretend that I know how to prepare a certain dish. There is a codigo to help me.) Although there are some recipes that I do not follow 100% because of certain preferences influenced by my orientation, like putting in a little amount of sugar to my chicken pork adobo, simplified halo halo because I prefer the hard to replicate Razon’s version, etc.
Kulinarya has positioned itself as an edible library which is a rich source of reliable documentation on how our major Filipino dishes should taste like withstanding the given variations for each region. Although the authors avoid using the term, I think that they succeeded in the “standardization” of the recipes.
Kulinarya becomes extra appealing because recipes are documented in a way that you are psyched to conclude that “yes, this is easy!” And no matter how difficult cooking may seem to a kitchen newbie, the delicious photos (taken by Neal Oshima) situated beside each recipe is more than enough motivation to give it a try. To the extent that you will be inspired to prepare everything down to the last line, creating an occasion to do it.
For people like me who is poor in butchery know-how, there are dedicated pages for butchery orientation, e.g. equivalent of Western to Filipino cuts and corresponding cooking methods (saute, grill, braise, etc.).
“Kulinarya was very expensive and a very difficult book to produce. The pre-production, the kitchen testing of the recipes and the initial writing of the text took about 2 years. The principal photography, graphic design, including its seven revisions took about a year to complete. All in all, it took about three and a half years to produce Kulinarya. The publishers, the chefs, the photographer, the book designer and the stylist were very patient to make sure that the book see light of day.
Kulinarya is now on its fifth printing and some of the recipes tweaked and essays updated based on the reader’s response. We also included, Anthony Bourdain’s views on his last visit and interview with Claude Tayag, one of the six chefs featured in Kulinarya.” – Ige Ramos, Book Designer (2 May, 2009)
Recipe selections were based on regional preferences and popularity throughout the country. At least 90 recipes were presented into different sections such as pulutan (appetizers), sabaw (soups), gulay at ensalada (vegetables and salads), ulam (main dishes), adobo (vinegar braised), pancit (noodles), merienda (snacks), and minatamis (desserts).
(Pinais na Alimasag)
“Filipino cuisine is a sum of Filipino history, from the indigenous food of the prehispanic era, to the influences of Southeast Asian cooking brought by trade, and the colonial influences brought by conquest.” – Michaela Fenix, Kulinarya editor
(Pinaputok na Isda)
Sawsawan (Sauces and condiments)
Kulinarya is a project of Asia Society, in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Tourism, which advocates improved cooking methods and best practices in the preparation and presentation of Filipino food. It hopes to build greater appreciation for and understanding of Filipino cuisine and its traditions at home and throughout the world.
Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine
Available at bookstores in the Philippines
You may call Anvil Publishing at +63 2 637 3621/ +63 2 631 7045
Hardbound (Php 2,500), Softbound (Php 750)
0 thoughts on “Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Cuisine”
This is even better gift for non Pinoy who are curious about our cuisine.
In case you are or anyone you know is interested, I hope this info about how to get it for those in the US still works: http://oggi-icandothat.blogspot.com/2009/04/kulinarya-update.html
i must get this book, i was groping for recipe for pinakbet just today!
that is a very good cookbook and wow you had an authograph pa. i normally buy yummy magazine where dishes are also easy to cook. though i haven’t tried doing one of them hehehe i just love browsing the pages.
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Nagutom ako! Now I know what pasalubong to ask for when my Tito and Tita come next week! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
i’ve seen this book displayed at the bookstore. a great gift idea, indeed! the photos are excellent. love the presentation of palitaw.:p
heeeey! may 750-peso version pala ito? will definitely get one… although i still maintain yung konting asar ko kasi walang dinuguan, as margaux salcedo mentioned dati pa. >.<
Yay to the cheaper version. 🙂 I have the softbound copy and it’s nice.
I remember that comment from Margaux about excluding dinuguan from this cookbook. The explanation provided by the editor and authors (in the book) was that they tried to avoid any sanitation issue that may be raised by some readers (especially the non-Filipinos). Hence, most of the related recipes were even deboned.
Hmmm, sounds like a must-have 🙂
I should ask somebody to give me a copy (hmm), so I can get back to being a responsible “ilaw ng tahanan” =) I have recently been feeding my family outside because nagsasawa na kami sa luto ko =).
The pictures remind me of Gerry’s Grill which I’ve been craving all the while here.
Btw, arent you so lucky to have Claude Tayag’s signature in your copy =)
this book is awesome!!! thank you for sharing.
i’m going to ask my mom to buy me this. just today while watching Masterchef Australia, i felt kinda guilty knowing Australian Chefs and being a fan of them but never having a favorite Filipino chef. This book is perfect in teaching what I need to learn about our cuisine.
Such a very detailed post about the book. It was like reading a section from a magazine. 🙂 I bet you regard the book as a gem since you never got to miss Pinoy food back there in UAE because of it.
While Pinoy recipes are now widely available online, it’s still great to grab a copy of an actual book – especially that book you have with its mouth-watering photos. Who’s the photographer?
The great Neal Oshima.
so this is the book :). thank you for sharing. i’ll try to find it here (cross my fingers).
I remember this blog entry on how to source out the cookbook for those in the US. I hope it is still available there: http://oggi-icandothat.blogspot.com/2009/04/kulinarya-update.html
good idea. yan ang must have ng mga taong aalis ng bansa. Ü
may cheaper version na pala nito. the last i saw it sa NBS, more than P1k pa sya eh.
I am not sure, but maybe they increased the price since there are several reprints already and updates on the recipes.
Beautiful pictures on the book. Wow, palitaw. I miss it! And the beef bulalo looks perfect.
i often see this at bookshops winking at me.
i want this book! =)
i also bought this book last year to feature on my blog. problem is that my copy was submerged by Ondoy 😦
think I have to buy another one
Rach (Heart of Rachel)
I want to get a copy for my hubby. I’m sure he will appreciate this wonderful cookbook. Thanks for sharing.
so this is the book :). thank you for sharing. i’ll try to find it here (cross my fingers).
i love cooking kaya lang nobody ever thought of giving me a cook book for my birthday which is about 16 days from now. 🙂 (wink)
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Thanks for maintaining this page. I always refer people to your page when they want a great pictorial view of Kulinarya. The book continues to sell and am happy for Claude and all the authors. For more info on other books about the Philippines, especially books on cooking, I can be reached at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 514-9139. Maraming salamat.
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Ma Cristina l Perez
Love it…. I just red it at natl bookstore and its so amazing… Proud to be Pinoy!