Made with love: Mom’s comfort food recipes
MANILA, Philippines – What’s your favorite comfort food?
Perhaps you’re already picturing a very specific meal in your head: a cheeseburger sold in a hole-in-the-wall joint near your old high school, or the garlicky fried rice you'd always have for weekend breakfasts.
Comfort food doesn't just satisfy a craving. It makes us feel better when we’re down or stressed out.
But among all kinds of comfort food out there, nothing beats the ones our mothers made. Do you remember how your mom would make your favorite snack or pasta when you've accomplished a feat or need a pick me up?
Grilled ham and cheese sandwich
When we were younger, we’d usually spend afternoons playing actual games like habulan or patintero with the neighborhood kids. Come mid-afternoon, moms would call for everyone to come over and enjoy merienda that she had prepared.
A grilled cheese sandwich paired with a cold glass of fruit juice is a common merienda. It’s a no-frills meal but somehow, your mom’s version always tastes amazing. She’d take two pieces of bread out, slather butter, mayonnaise, or sandwich spread on them, add slices of cheese and cooked ham in between, then toast it to perfection with a sandwich maker or grill it on a pan.
Pinoy spaghetti with cheese
No Filipino children’s birthday party would be complete without pans of spaghetti: sweet, meaty, and cheesy. This version of the Italian classic will always be a hit for kids and kids at heart.
Parties are often held in the afternoon, so mom would usually wake up extra early to prepare the handa. For the spaghetti, she’d mix in ground beef or pork with spaghetti sauce that’s either pre-packed or homemade, then season it with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar to taste. Then she'd heap all that over al dente pasta and sprinkle it with lots of grated cheese!
Cheese sticks with jalapeño
When we’re older and our tastes become more adventurous, we begin to look for twists to old favorites. For example, humble cheese sticks can turn into a café-worthy dish in mom’s hands.
To spice things up, she’d add jalapeño to give it a kick with a hint of sourness. She’d carefully separate the lumpia wrappers, line up strips of cheese and diced jalapeño on it, roll them up, then deep fry the cheesy sticks of goodness. It’s that simple!
Just like how Pinoy spaghetti is a staple at children’s parties, no noche buena, media noche, or any reunion with the whole clan is complete without a bowl of buko salad. It’s the perfect dessert to cap off a hearty meal.
You’d probably have vivid memories of your mom making this salad in the kitchen while preparing for those big celebrations. She’d get a big bowl and put in condensed milk, cream, cubed green gelatin, and grated coconut. She’d then top it off with grated or cubed cheese before putting it in the fridge to chill.
Mother's cooking will always be the best. Drop by the comments section and share with us your favorite home cooked dish by your mom, made more special with cheese! – Rappler.com
All illustrations by Nina Martinez