Dirty Laundry

I’m back to washing my own clothes again. I don’t know why I got the idea that paying someone to do my laundry is going to give me more time to do other things. Sure, some people think it’s more convenient to just go to a laundry shop and bring that bulk of dirty clothes and weigh ’em up and pay for the services. Sounds convenient, I know. But along the lines, I realized I won’t include my underwear in that lot. No sir, I will not let other people see the skid marks and stains that may or may not be present , but you can never tell. There are times I am such a slob I may have worn the same pair of briefs a couple of times. You aware of the Side A and Side B mythos? Ask a college student from Recto and you’ll get an idea.

So yesterday I woke up and just  looked at the pile of tees, denim shorts, jeans and socks on my one laundry basket and asked myself, how did I let this molehill get so big, the clothes are spilling and the basket is bulging. After much thought, and two mugs off coffee, and after checking if the water will be available for the rest of the day (I am renting a matchbox of an apartment on the third floor, no water pumps, you get the idea, and yes it is Quezon City)  I began with the whites.

Always start your washing with the whites.

The entire procedure is a combination of science and tradition, handed down from generation to generation. My mother, bless her soul, nearly fainted the first time she saw me attempting to wash my own clothes back in high school. Not of shock, but out of sheer, ecstatic laughter at what I was doing wrong then. You must understand, my mother was a gentle soul, but when it comes to household chores, no one comes close to being a stickler for details. And so I learned the intimacies, the methods, soaking really dirty clothes overnight, using your hands instead of a brush, arranging some on a flat surface for the sun to do its work on tough stains. Continue reading

Instant Noodle Mentality

Sustenance in plastic packs

Typical instant noodles without the flavor packs.

Let me tell you something. I’d you to know that  me and my friends could have written and published a book with a title that sounded like –

“101 Ways To Cook Instant Noodles”

And we could have made a killing, catering to most college students and ‘syanos who rent roach infested, stale smelling, gin blossom patterned, cramped rooms around the University Belt – Morayta, Dos Castillas, Carola, Bustillos and that most loved hole-in-the-wall dwelling we had in Lincallo, a small alley along Legarda, in Tanduay.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

You see, nowadays whenever I resort to instant foods, a couple packs of instant noodle does the trick, but not without added trickery, too.  Oh, there  has to be some veggies to add to the  monosodium glutamate that comes with the 60gm pack, along with the requisite egg to make it “special”. A chicken flavored noodle goes well with Pak Choi (Petsay for the uninitiated) or Malunggay. Beef noodles are just begging to be boiled with Cabbage. With Pancit canton, you can use any of the three, plus some Squid Balls to add fun. And if there are no more veggies to add, because your budget just doesn’t allow for extra (it could be that your salary went south about a week ago) or there was no time to drop by your local market or talipapa, chopped onions or garlic will certainly make your eating-solo worth the time to prep for. You should try sprinkling those beautiful, finely chopped raw garlic on freshly cooked pancit canton and you can never go wrong.

But during college, and I was going to Far Eastern University at the time, a group of seven hungry promdis scrimping and saving for everyday expenses, the usual solution was pool small amounts of money, specially near weekends when allowances just can’t seem to get through the week, and try to make a feast of the measly budget – barbecued chicken neck + head, lavishly dipped in vinegar and soy sauce concoctions, or two cans of Red Ligo Sardines, sauteed in garlic, onions, extended with water and egg, because the sauce is thick enough. Now how could you feed 7 hungry college students with just 3 packs of chicken noodles? Easy. Okra, kangkong or saluyot might just add variety and flavor  to your gastronomic adventure.

We used to put a single tinapang Galunggong, deboned, shredded, along with garlic and onions so that leftover rice can be enjoyed without the usual Ulam, black, powdered pepper enforcing the taste. I still do this every now and then.

Speaking of leftovers, don’t throw away those unfinished potato or corn chips. Grind them, and throw them into a couple of beaten eggs add some chili sauce. That’s why I never throw away those unopened chili pizza sauce packs away. You never know.

Why am I rambling about food? Continue reading