The Italians have it, the French want it
IN MY BASKET - Lydia D. Castillo (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2018 - 12:00am

The “Intangible” heritage citation is meant to recognize traditions in various fields. UNESCO will anounce the awaited selection next month in Mauritius.

That is, the UNESCO listing as an “Intangible.” To start with,  “intangible” is a term used to indicate outstanding achievements, in this case in the culinary field. It is the prestigious and coveted listing of food techniques that have withstood  the test of time and have become art, achieving an honorary place in the international roll of honor.

Last year, Naples pizza was adjudged an “Intangible” for the technique that evolved in making it.

This year, the selection will be made and the French baguette is among various culinary productions considered for the listing. No less than French President Emmanuel Macron is supporting this quest of French bakers to enter the much coveted circle of world-class culinary food manufacturers. They are concerned that their traditional technique is being eroded by today’s frozen culture applied by modern bakers. They maintain that the dough should never be frozen and nothing should be added to the age-old mix of its classic ingredients – flour, water, yeast and salt. French traditional bakers are alarmed that their age-old bread is being replaced by bread sticks, etc. It is claimed that there is nothing more French than their baguette, hence it must be protected.

The “Intangible” heritage citation is meant to recognize traditions in various fields. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) will announce the awaited selection next month in Mauritius. We will await the fate of this French bread after final declaration in late November. Meantime, let’s continue to relish this particular bread.

An idea has come to our mind. Maybe bakers in our region, the Asian countries, can look at forming  similar groupings to recognize and honor our own traditional breads – the Pinoy pan de sal or our neighboring country’s roti? There is our own Gardenia which, to our mind, produces quality loaf bread. There is Monde, which gives us tasty mamon and cupcakes at very reasonable prices. There is Skyflakes which has introduced different variants of their crackers labeled as sandwiches – with condensada and sweet mantiquilla. Surely there are other local products we can all be proud of.

We had quite a shock last week when we sent our cook to buy cabbage and red peppers at a  supermarket near us. She came back with a small cabbage and two red peppers (not the capsicum type). The former was priced at P300 a kilo! While the latter came with a P500+ tag a kilo. Horrors! Unbelievable! But we checked the receipt and true enough, that was how much they cost! Maybe we should go back to the wet market where, presumably, prime commodities cost less.

We wonder how prices will be during the upcoming holiday season. We fear that cost of food will be escalating very soon. Good luck to us homemakers!

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