Friday, December 24, 2010

My mom’s ube halaya teaches me a lesson

My mom likes to cook delicacies that are very tedious to prepare: ube halaya for one.
The hand that mashed a few kilos of ube

See, my mom’s Pampangeño family has this recipe passed on for decades. And every December, she would go to the market and look for authentic purple yams (Yeah, that means some vendors sell “fake” ube. Go figure.). Then on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, she’ll call us–me, dad, and my siblings–to help her prepare the delicacy that made dad love her (Ayie. Cheesy. Or ube?).

So to sum up the whole process: you mash the ube, watch reruns of Glee, heat it over a very large skillet along with butter or margarine, watch reruns of Glee, mix it with a wooden spatula in one direction only, watch reruns of Glee, mix it continuously until your mom tells you to stop, watch reruns of Glee, cool the mixture, and watch reruns of Glee. Whew. I may narrate the process in just one paragraph but believe me, it would take more than one hour to cook ube halaya. Uhm, frankly, watching reruns of Glee is optional.

When I was mashing the ube, I can’t help but notice the stains it was creating on my hands. At first I was so conscious that I kept washing my hands with running water but then I realized that those stains were the proof of my hard work. That’s why after crushing every single purple yam, I took a picture of my purple-tinged hand…via webcam (see above).

The next steps were more difficult. For one, ube and margarine mixture is very sticky that it would require you a significant amount of force to mix them. Secondly, hot coals create a very hot environment that every part of your body with sweat glands work overtime. Thirdly, you cannot stop mixing until it is finished or until someone volunteers to do the work for you (and that rarely happens). All hard work, right?

So here’s the bottom line: When you want a sweet reward, prepare to work hard. And don’t forget to capture proofs of your hard work. Hey, it’s a few hours before Christmas Day. Merry Christmas to you dear reader. :D
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