For the longest time, I have been telling friends about the way I Spam, the meat coated in brown sugar then fried until crisp, the sugar melting into a beautiful sweet glaze whose sweetness perfectly complements the Spam’s oversalted flavor. I talked about it so much that one of them began to believe that I was making it up. I had to prove him wrong by making Spamsilog– glazed Spam, sinangag (garlic-fried rice) and itlog (egg–in this case, scrambled).
I’m a big fan of breakfast food. I believe that breakfast food should not be limited to breakfast, especially since I’m never awake to enjoy it at that time, anyway. So Spamsilog became dinner.
First, the rice. I peeled and smashed a whole garlic, fried it in oil mixed with a lot of margarine (we forgot to buy butter), dumped in about four cups of yesterday’s rice, mixing everything until heated through.
I like to use a ton of garlic in my garlic rice because garlic is yummy, and because they repel vampires. This was confirmed during the grocery store run beforehand, where a passer-by saw the garlic my friend was carrying and asked, “For vampires?”
The Spam was sliced, coated on both sides with brown sugar, fried in hot oil until brown on one side, then flipped over until the other side achieves the same color.
Then the eggs. I beat six eggs until no trace of whites were left, put in about six teaspoons of cream and beat everything until fully incorporated. The mixture went into a pan with hot oil and margarine (which I really wish was butter), where it was mixed and mixed and mixed, the spatula never leave the pan until the eggs reached the right consistency–cooked thorugh but still creamy.
I also made Masala chai, basically black tea, green cardamom, black peppercorn, cinnamon, and star anise boiled in whole milk and strained, served with sugar to taste.
One friend said the Spam tasted like tocino. Another said the eggs were creamy without being runny or overcooked. The biggest compliment, I think, was when one of them passed out on the sofa.
Food always brings people together, but there is a special kind of togetherness that happens when the meal shared is homemade. There is a baring of emotions, an opening of a psychic vein.
The cook exposes vulnerabilities, letting other people into his or her world via taste. The eaters voluntarily put themselves at the cook’s mercy, carrying the burden of their relationship should the food not turn out well.
It’s a gamble, one that pays off if the meal is a success. The cook is happy that people agree with his or her idea of what tastes good. The eaters are happy because they just had a lovely meal and are relieved that they do not have to lie about it.
But most importantly, there is community and sharing, a strengthening of bonds, a renewing of camaraderie; the making of a memory to look back on fondly.