Cravings founder Annie Guerrero shares cooking survival tips

(The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The unprecedented aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas, in particular its effect on the region’s viable food sources, brings into clarity the unabated case of environmental degradation. 

Environment champion and Cravings founder Annie P. Guerrero has come up with a comprehensive research framework on valuable disaster preparedness insights, including practical survival tips and the need to shift back to “green” sustainable living, which she shared recently at the USDA Kitchen Demo Theater at Cravings Katipunan in Quezon City. 

 In her “Cooking In Times of Disaster” demo-talk,  Annie shared tips on how to cook one’s food when a disaster happens. Her top list of survival foods are mostly endemically grown fruits and root crops such as banana, coconut, malunggay, cassava, papaya  and camote.

“I grew up during the early years of the Japanese Occupation era. We often resort to cooking whatever is available, make the most of everything.  We have to be resourceful and inventive,” she stressed.

Her puto maya recipe, for example, only needs two ingredients: glutinuous rice and gata.  According to her, the sticky rice dish counts as one of many other “war-time” food preparations.    She also shared her Malunggay Ade recipe, which called for only two cups or two handfuls of sorted/washed malunggay leaves, four cups of water and a piece of panocha or moscovado sugar as sweetener.

“Just simmer, strain and cool the juice before serving with syrup, and you’re done,” she said.

Annie also cited other natural food necessities that would keep a person or even a family still properly nourished and satisfied, even without grocery supplies. She said people can survive with the help of nature’s own bounty, and that a lifestyle of consuming organic food item nurtures not only your body, but also the Earth.

“The Yolanda onslaught reminds us of that. We need to nurture nature for it to nurture us as well,” she said.    

As for the Visayas tragedy, Annie said going back to basics is one way of fast-tracking its recovery.

“We have the capacity to rebuild by just planting sustainable food. Our affected countrymen in the Visayas can begin rebuilding by planting malunggay and camote. The region has vast hectares of lands suitable for farming,” she said.

“Whether one is preparing for an impending man-made crisis or not, it’s critical to remember what exactly one needs to weather a disaster. Through the bounty of the land alone, man can survive.  With no electricity or fuel, man can still eat provided that the land he stands on is nurtured and protected,” she noted.

As the author of two groundbreaking “green” books, An A-Z Guide for a Green Pinoy and An A-Z Guide for a Green Chef, Annie’s green advocacy is also emboldened in the practices of all companies under the Cravings Group, as it has been recognized recently with an ISO 14001, the first in the Philippines to receive such distinction after an audit by TUV Rheinland for the successful implementation of an Environmental Management System.

The Cravings Group, through its social arm Culinary Education Foundation, has been pursuing eco-sustainability goals by practicing composting, vermiculture, and aquaculture. Apart from enterprising recyclable materials like plastic spoons and soda can tabs, CEF also produces “Bokashi” (fermented organic fertilizer) which hastens the decomposition of kitchen and garden wastes.

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