Friday, October 23, 2009

I wrote this?

I'm preparing my presentation for tomorrow's talk for the College Editor's Guild of the Philippines.  Since they want me to discuss fiction in two hours as part of a workshop, I thought I'd delve into flash fiction.  While searching for some of my old samples, I stumbled on this story:

"Why do you spend so much time making that? Can't you just buy it from Aling Siony?"

Carding always asks me that question each time I go through my weekly ritual. It's not so much petulance, I think, as it is concern. Boiling rice over our woodfire stove, pounding ginger, adding a dash of chocolate and pinipig.... It's a long process, molded by years of tradition.

I say nothing, though, I only smile, and Carding shuffles off to another household chore, as if to show what else I could be doing. I calmly wrap the rice in the banana leaves and put it on the clay pot.

But I know in an hour's time, when the fragrance of the sticky rice wafts through the house, his mood will mellow down. When I remove my work of art from the pot, he will be at the table waiting silently.

Then he will say: "Ah, Neneng, this brings back memories of mother you know. Aling Siony could never really get it right."

And I know it will all have been worthwhile. Suman latik, just like mother used to make.

According to my blog, I wrote it back in 2005. Somehow I can't believe I did. The words just seem so different.


  1. Is Suman latik different from budbud?

  2. Hi, Bob,

    They're basically the same, though the presentation might be different. One suman latik I tried in Manila was flat and round, like a disk. I suppose it varies from region to region.

    Nothing beats budbud kabog, though.