Food and Leisure

Comfort food for the closet introvert in you

COME FRY WITH ME - Johanna Garcia - The Philippine Star

It’s that time of year when nightmarish traffic, crowded malls and gray, gloomy weather tend to leave me cranky, drained and overwhelmed.

This year is especially intense, because in my new line of work as a food entrepreneur, I’m spending nearly every weekend of the “ber” months at a pop-up or bazaar. Speaking of which (insert shameless plug here), come see me and the rest of the select purveyors of home, fashion and gourmet food items at the carefully curated Urban Artisans pop-up. It’s at Nest, 40B Jupiter St., cor. Paseo de Roxas, this weekend, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

And while the vast majority of my customers and fellow vendors are wonderful and interesting people, being around lots of people, no matter how wonderful and interesting, can be exhausting and overwhelming for closet introverts like me. Yes, I am a closet introvert, a fact most people who know me — especially from my past life in corporate communications and public relations — would be very surprised to hear.

Most people describe me as outgoing, friendly, chatty and utterly delightful. Okay, that last one may have been just me. But as much as I enjoy 99 percent of my interactions with my customers and vendors (yeah, well, there’s always that one!), in true introvert fashion, being around lots of people drains and exhausts me as quickly as an iPhone.

So what’s an introverted salesgirl to do? Well, first of all, I listen to my body when it’s trying to tell me it’s had enough of anything. Except Cheetos. My body sucks at telling me when I’ve had enough Cheetos. 

But for everything else, the signals are clear, and then it’s up to me to figure out what I need. Sometimes, that’s complete solitude — just me, my cats and a good book or some trashy TV. Other times, I need the company of immediate family or close friends, people who know me and love me for who I am; people I don’t have to be “on” with and utterly delightful for all the time.

More importantly, I need to be around people I can have real conversations with, the kind of conversations that come from the heart and remind me of who I really am. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than doing this at home where I can make food with love for the people I love.

Pasta in truffle cream with mushrooms and prosciutto is one of the dishes I love to make for these occasions. First, it’s quick and easy, which leaves you much more time to hang out. Second, it’s luxurious and decadent enough to make the night and whoever you’re feeding feel special. And really, there’s nothing like feeling special to restore any introvert back to her usual (really!) utterly delightful self.

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The author is the owner of Real Girl Toy Kitchen. Instagram: realgirltoykitchen.

FB: Real Girl Toy Kitchen. Visit www.realgirltoykitchen.com or email

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