Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Food’

To tip or not to tip

April 08, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Food 8 Comments →

Waiters, Alfred Eisenstaedt

Tipping is confusing, and paradoxical. We tip some people who provide services but not others who work just as hard for just as little pay. It is insulting to leave any tip in Tokyo but offensive not to leave a large one in New York. It is assumed that the purpose of tipping is to encourage good service but we leave one only after the service has been given, when it is too late to change it, often to people who will never serve us again. Tipping challenges the sweeping generalisations of economists and anthropologists alike. To understand how and why we tip is to begin to understand just how complicated and fascinating we human beings are.

Read To Tip Or Not To Tip in Aeon.

Do you tip waiters? How much? In some places you have to leave a 15 percent tip or the staff will run after you. Some argue that since Manila restaurants already add a 10 percent service charge to your bill, you don’t have to tip. Others say that if you eat there regularly and don’t tip, hala ka. And what do you do about a really obtrusive waiter who interrupts your story as you’re getting to the punchline, to ask, “How is your food, sir?” Or a waiter who seems to be listening too closely to a very private conversation?

Ten Plagues Cocktails for your annual viewing of The Ten Commandments

April 01, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Movies 3 Comments →

When Anne Baxter cries, “Moses, Moses, Moses, you stubborn, adorable fool!” have an extra shot.

Plague 6: Boils
Cocktail: Bumpy Eruption

The go-to drink for when the afikomen* surprise at your sister’s seder** turns out to be the recently-divorced sweetheart you broke up with badly in high school and haven’t seen since. Swell for slow grudge-nursing throughout the evening, but for a truly memorable Passover meal you may want to down three in quick succession just before the partaking of the bitter herbs, all the better to bring to an explosive head every pustule of sibling rivalry, personal betrayal and unfulfilled promise that’s tormented your soul since the day you entered this vale of tears.

Especially satisfying with a big steaming pile of tsimmes* * * .

2 oz Cognac
1/2 oz Crème de Cassis
1 oz tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau

Instructions: Shake all ingredients in ice. Strain into martini glass. Garnish won’t help.

10 Plague Cocktails. Thanks to Noel for the link.

* dessert
* * Passover family ritual
* * * sweet stew

The name of the biscuit

March 17, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, History 1 Comment →


Blue Kitchen was all out of Arrowroot (a.k.a. uraro) cookies. We were a little relieved, because once we start eating them we cannot stop. For snacking carbs, we bought a bag of thin square biscuits called Jacobina. They were a childhood merienda treat, like otap or rosquillos, but we never knew they were called jacobina. We just referred to them as biscuits.

Why are these biscuits called Jacobina? Jacobina, like Jacobin. What did they have to do with the Jacobins, Robespierre, the Terror which followed the French Revolution? Is it because they resemble blades and remind people of guillotines? The jacobina we bought are the exact size of a razor blade. Or were they simply named after a person?

So we asked a historian where Jacobina biscuits got their name. After all, he’s written about local bakeries and we always have a giggle over the bread known as pampam. He was no help at all: he said maybe they had something to do with Jacob’s crackers. But that’s probably why he’s a historian and we write fiction.

Belatedly it occurred to us to google, although we think one should always figure out an answer first before going to the Internet. We learned that Jacobina is a trademark of a bakery in Cavite (so we should’ve asked Ige). Their website doesn’t explain the name, either. For now we will eat our biscuits and imagine the screams of the aristocracy losing their heads.

Kung hey faaat choy

February 18, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Food No Comments →


Saffy and her stuffed toy sheep, with a box of the world’s greatest hopia. Delicately flaky crust, finely ground mung bean paste. Hopia that you have to get from Xiamen, since they invented it.

New Yorkers discover embutido

January 09, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places 2 Comments →


Read The Rich Tradition of Filipino Embutido in the New York Times.

After reading this piece we looked up Elvie’s Turo-Turo in the East Village and found out that it has closed. Nooooo!

Good, cheap embutido: Teresita’s of Guagua.

We haven’t been to New York in years. We should go this year.

A French-Filipino bistro in Paris

December 17, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places No Comments →

Cuttlefish in ink and spicy cabbage at Le Servan. Credit Edouard Sepulchre

Restaurant Report: Le Servan, Iya’s daughter’s restaurant.