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Showing posts from March, 2010

Meeting Frances Mayes

At a book signing at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park recently, I had the pleasure to listen to Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun : At Home in Italy, talk about her fascinating life in Tuscany. Mayes spoked about how food and  community are deeply intertwined. As an example, after the olive harvest, locals go to the piazza to share their olive oil with one another while each one believes his/her oil to be the best of the lot. When asked about her favorite food experience in Italy, Mayes mentioned the first communion celebration of a neighbor's child where 140 people were invited and a procession of pastas were served at the end of which, four men carried a roasted cow from the Val di Chiana. She said that in Italy, an eight-hour meal would not be unusual and that guilt is never associated with food. 
After her talk, Mayes read a chapter from her new book, Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life. It was followed by a Q&A session and book signing. Someone as…

Bacolod Revealed

What a great opportunity I had to visit Bacolod when my friends from Los Angeles were visiting their hometown! I took a local bus for Iloilo that stopped in numerous towns along the way. It was an interesting but long ride with vendors coming up the bus and peddling in a sort of mantraspeak their "puto, bayebaye, bingka". I bought the bingka, a mini version of bibingka (a rice cake). Two hours later the snacks for sale were "balut, mani mani, mais". Arriving at the bus terminal in Iloilo I jumped into a taxi for the port and took the fast ferry to Bacolod. It was just an hour and 15 minutes away. But before boarding the ferry, I bought some mais (corn) as I was starving.

In Bacolod I was met by my friends and we drove to Los Feliz Alegria Resort in the outskirts of Murcia (where there is a large outdoor market). Our gracious hosts, Julie and Joe Torres, are the owners of this lush and secluded resort where the swimming pool is fed by cool spring waters that trickle …