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This reprint of a highly sought-after and well-regarded book of Filipino food culture has been long awaited.
Doreen G. Fernandez (profiled here in The New York Times) was an insightful and rigorous scholar of the foodways of her native country, bringing a knowledge of and curiosity about culinary history to her work. She was also a gifted writer, who brought clarity and spirit to her prose. This collection of columns features work that was published in a variety of periodicals, as well as prepared specifically for events such as The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery.
“Writing about food,” Fernandez notes, “is not a matter of dipping into the thesaurus to discover the many ways to say ‘tasty.’ Instead it means digging deep into human experience, because tasting, eating, and savoring are intimate ventures….When one describes food, one does not use words alone, but the readers’ remembering as well—of past pleasures, of savored sensations. One writes on their reservoirs of pleasure. In effect, one draws on all of the culture that shaped oneself and one’s readers.”
The essays are divided into four broad sections: food and flavors; people and places; books and other feasts; food in Philippine history. A glossary is included for readers still building their Filipino food vocabulary.
This particular printing, a 2020 paperback release by Anvil Press in the Philippines, has a compact 5.5″ x 7.5 trim size. Its 220 pages are densely typeset. And there is no denying that the price, reflecting not only a small print run but the costs of importing the book from more than 13,000 kilometers away, is higher than we would like, though it is considerably less than other that from other US sellers.
However, we felt we simply had to offer this book.