Sunday, August 12, 2012


This, any day. Everyday.
From Pinterest

I remember seeing a photo of Marlon Brando (post-accident Brando), on set, eating a slice of watermelon with a cigarette in hand and immediately craving a cool slice of my own. Then there's the constant dilemma between buying Bon Apetite magazine or saving up those extra hundreds for something more "useful" and "necessary". Then there's that memory of how at Draft, their burger takes me away everytime to some happy place, something that possibly narcotics could bring you. And then also how that pinch of salt  makes miles of a difference on anything. That's how food is. Even mere photos of it elicit drive or a want to do something, to eat, to enjoy with friends and to remember how things have looked, smelled, sounded and tasted while we were at it. 

To Paolo Reyes, editor in chief of ROGUE magazine, congratulations. This month's Appetite issue has indeed made me hungry. It's habit for me to always read the editor's note and see how it ties up with the entire issue. Always thought an editor's note was the neat white bow that decorates the whole, beautifully-wrapped gift and just makes it more of a "gift" than simply a nice little box of something. And Paolo, you're right. The team has done well to provide readers with visuals and stories that make you want to sit down and wish you were hungry.

Inspired by the magazine, I look back on the billions of times I've encountered food, though not as varied and adventurous as I hope it would be, I still look at it and see a relationship with it in the works. Years ago at my lightest, I had an awful relationship with food. And years before that, when I weighed my heaviest, it highlighted issues of insecurities and loads of baggage that I had in life easily measured by the pounds I housed and the number of times my mouth opened and closed with food in it. 

At 22 I really couldn't say I follow eating habits that are applauded by Men's Health or by Eat This, Not That, but at the same time, I'm also not one to be greedy on everything I could buy and touch and see and smell and taste. Somewhere nearing a balance, I could say I eat what I want, when I want but never in excess of it. Sometimes I allow myself the "release" when I feel like I deserve an extra slice of cake. But what I've come to love mostly about food isn't so much the act of filling an empty stomach and hitting that satiation point, but the memories that tag along with the taste that stays ringing in the head.

I have memories of pistachio ice cream on a weekend, in a room, watching a movie with someone I used to know. Memories tasting tangy Sprite on Tocino back in high school. Memories of my first try of Sinigang and how after probably a decade saying "gross" to it, it now ranks heavenly high on my list of favorites. Memories of M&M's in an M&M dispenser with blues, reds and greens melting in my hand (which shouldn't be the case, right?) while watching a childhood friend through a window talking to my dad. 

I think it was that Sophie Dahl article I loved so much from VOGUE back in March 2010 that also helped me see food quite differently. She did make a point, that it seemed to have made no sense at all that people fear food and fear the consequences that come with the pleasure, when eating is one of life's best experiences. Before, I could live a day without breakfast, one heavy meal for lunch complete with dessert and then going to bed hungry. I was miserable, incredibly thin for my size and truly angry at the world for something it didn't do. I used to know myself during those times and thought such a decision would help me in the long run, until the stomach pains came and bad skin happened and grades were starting to look like threatening numbers to a possibly good future...

Now I'm better with food. Still afraid of gaining two folds for a chin, but more appreciative and excited of what food truly brings. If I ever had been stranded on an island, one of the questions I could never honestly answer would be "...the one thing you could eat all day, everyday on that island". I might say a burger since I consider myself a huge burger and sandwich kind of eater, but I'm also considering hot noodles with spare ribs on it and a dash of chili. Or delicious vanilla ice cream with warm, warm honey on top, for every single time I have to eat. I don't know. I was thinking if I could squeeze in a snack, let it be a bowl of roasted pecans or candied almonds, with dark chocolate chunks, lightly salted popcorn and a drizzle of sweet caramel sauce. Well, that just sounded like a ticket to one of Dante's circles, but anyway...

Food is one of life's greatest pleasures. When savoured and enjoyed in elegant portions and having the experience as bookmarks to life's little and wonderful moments, it's definitely far from a sin or a regret in the making. And even if ones relationship with food is troublesome, no one can ever shrug the truth that life without it is definitely life without pleasure, taste and satisfaction. 

Now, I'm hungry...again

ROGUE August 2012 issue

P.S. ROGUE's August Appetite issue is a diamond. Please grab your copies, it's one of their most well-written to date, start it with the Margarita Fores story by Raymond Ang, check out Bea Soriano's article and while you're at it, read up on gingham's history, written by yours truly with the amazing help of my editor, soon-to-be-New Yorker, LA Consing Lopez.

- Gerard

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