I was starving but my hunger wasn’t enough to give me the drive to eat. I have food, I have plenty. I consider it plenty though my refrigerator is not full of food, it’s because I couldn’t consume all that’s inside it, for I live in my home just by myself. Though I love cooking, just the simple-not-so-complicated-kind of cooking, but sometimes I prefer to just eat anything for my dinner like biscuit at least to pacify my grumbling stomach. It’s not because I don’t feel like cooking but because no matter how well-prepared my food is, I must eat just by myself and it’s not exciting. What I am trying to say is; it’s hard to eat alone!
I was raised in a big family, I have six siblings. I am accustomed to eating in a setting that you must be a fast eater, so you could still have extra pieces available on the serving plate aside from your regular share. I remember that I and my siblings were like having eating competition because we all wanted to have more, and that’s what made our dining room cheery and exciting. When I got married, me and my husband were blessed with three daughters, though my kids are fewer in number, they grew up in the same ambience, in a lively and happy family dining time. Today, because I turned out to be an Overseas Filipino Worker, miles away from my family I must live by myself, always home alone. Six years ago, I brought one of my daughters here but since she got married and already have her own family here in American Samoa they decided to move out of my house. I’m home alone again. Maybe some of you can relate to my situation. But I am not pity-partying, it’s not my cup of tea. I have already outgrown that kind of feeling by the grace of God. My point is, since being alone is the kind of life that I must be accustomed to, I must teach myself of ways to adapt to it and enjoy it.
Last night, I asked myself; what must I do now to put some excitement on my dining table despite being just by myself, so I can revive my appetite? Well, I chose to start making my dinner a little more interesting for me. How? I should make a slight variation of the food that I used to cook and eat. I was craving for something tasty, so I decided to cook “ Fish Paksiw “ but I cooked it with little additions to the usual way, just to make it a bit different[D1] and “upgraded”. For the non-Pinoy readers’ information, “Fish Paksiw” is a tasty Filipino dish, where the fish is being cooked in vinegar, ginger, onion, black pepper and long green chili. Some vegetables may be incorporated in it like eggplant or okra or bitter gourd (ampalaya ). Let me share with you how I cooked my “Fish Paksiw” last night, you may give it a try, it’s one of the simplest and easiest Filipino dishes;
- 1 or 2 Medium size Red Fish ( Vermillion Snapper) scaled-off and cleaned or Pompano Fish
- 1 pc. Long Eggplant, cut diagonally, thinly
- ½ cup White Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Fish Sauce ( Patis )
- 1 Medium size Ginger, peeled and sliced diagonally
- 1 medium size Onion, sliced
- 5 pcs Long Green Chili
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1 ½ tsp. Sesame Oil
- ½ cup Chicharon ( Pork Rind )
- 1/4 cup Water
COOKING DIRECTION: In a pot, carefully arrange the fish or fishes. Spread the slices of ginger and onion, under and over the fishes. Add the slices of eggplant and long green chili. Add the vinegar and the fish sauce. Do not add water, let the vinegar boil first for it to be absorbed by the fish’ meat ( do not stir ). When it starts boiling, add the pork rind or chicharon, then add ¼ cup of water. Cook in a low heat for ten more minutes or until the fish is fully cooked. Add ground black pepper and sesame oil. You may add seasoning of your choice. I used ½ shrimp cube. Serve and enjoy!
There are situations in life that we cannot change but we must learn to adjust to it so we can still enjoy life at its best no matter what.
After quite a long time, finally I enjoyed my meal alone. The simple variation of my fish paksiw helped me perk up my appetite but when I decided to add something to the usual way of cooking it, that very moment of decision unconsciously, was due to an already changed mindset. There are situations in life that we cannot change but we must learn to adjust to it so we can still enjoy life at its best no matter what. Furthermore, the mere fact that I have food on my table is already a big blessing from God. I must be very grateful and appreciative of God’s provision and faithfulness in my life. My eyes must always be opened to see all these things that He has blessed me with. Yes, physically I’m alone but God says “ I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” God is omnipresent, thus He is always with me. The knowledge that I am never alone gives me joy and soothes my heart with peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you for reading. God bless you!!! [D1]