A Prologue to American Independence Day
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Last July 4, the United States commemorated the adoption of its Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu GM Brian Connelly from the U.S. invited the local media to a dinner called “Star Spangled Celebrations” on July 1.

Today there are four million Filipino-Americans, and many Filipinos want to visit the US.

In 2004, my family was granted visas but only after lining up for three days to get an interview. I found the procedure demeaning and so I applied for a visa online 10 years later; a bit late in life but I made it as a tourist. In San Francisco, I cooked live dungarees crabs, visited a supermarket and found an incredible variety of dried ingredients, meats, spices, fruits and vegetables.

Before computers, I had updates on food cultures because I collected cookbooks including TIME-LIFE Foods of the World with four volumes on American Cuisine (1968).  I learned that Diamondback Terrapin Stew was once an iconic dish of the elite, Virginia Smithfield Ham was best prepared in the style of Mrs. D.W. Sykes, and Thomas Jefferson (third US President) was America’s first great gourmet. I dreamed of actually tasting the food served in Jefferson’s home in Monticello, Virginia. 

Back to reality, at the media dinner Café Marco served salads: Coleslaw, Potato Salad, Tex-Mex Chicken Salad, Tortillas Salad (Tomatillo, Black Beans & Beef Fajitas), Pinto Beans Salad (Corn, Lime, Cilantro), and Spicy Shrimp Salad (Cucumber, Avocado & Lime Chili Dressing). I tried the Tex-Mex, Tortillas and Shrimps and it had layers of lively flavors, from sweet to tangy to sour and a bit of chili. Nice!

Two food displays caught my attention, the Tex-Mex (Beer Batter Onion Rings, Pork Empanada, Taquitos, Potato & Cheese Flautas, and Beef Chimichanga), and the Mini Burgers Section (New York Burger, Dallas Burger, Sta. Fe Burger & Louisiana Burgers). A taquito, rolled taco or flautas, refers to rolled up tortilla with fillings of meats then deep-fried. Chimichanga is also a tortilla, but folded into rectangular shape.

The Main Dishes were Chili Chicken, Beef Steak & Chicken Fajitas, Baked Whole Fish, Chili Con Carne, Chorizo Grilled Shrimp, Crispy Pork Knuckle, Barbecue Pork Ribs and Roast Beef. My favorite was the Chili Con Carne, though I wanted to taste the original Texas-style Chili without beans, served separately.

The sweets at the Desserts Section were Panna Cotta Choco Mousse, Bailey’s Chocolate (my favorite), S’mores Melts, Yemas de San Leandro, Apple Pie, Bacon Maple Bar, Tocino del Cielo, and Cookies, all dressed in lively colors of the American flag and star-spangled. 

By the way, yesterday, July 18, this newspaper marked 100 years since its founding – and I am, excuse me, proud to be part of The Freeman family!

INDEPENDENCE DAY
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