Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Food’

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.

Salad and fish at Duck and Buvette

December 10, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food No Comments →


We liked the food at Cafe Provencal on the second floor of Shangri-La Mall (the old wing), so we were a little distressed to find that it was gone. In its place is a cafe called Duck and Buvette. We would’ve tried it sooner except that we thought everything on the menu had duck. It doesn’t.


As a devout meatatarian we hardly ever order salad of our own free will, but we had the weird urge to eat leaves. Maybe we had a roughage shortage, maybe our taste buds were just bored. So we ordered the grilled romaine salad with parmesan and anchovy garlic dressing. It was excellent, and we don’t even like vegetables. As you can see, they did not stint on the cheese.


For our main course we wanted the duck pie with foie gras, but they didn’t have it yesterday. Also we could feel the lettuce expanding so we decided to have something light. We had the brandade de bacalao dip—creamy cod and potato on grilled bread. Not only was it very good, but we could fool ourself that we had had a virtuous lunch.

A buvette is a food stall by the market, carinderia, basically. Duck and Buvette is bright and casual, reasonably-priced (mains are about Php390), and with an interesting wine list. We will be back to try the rest of the menu, with a glass or three of their bubbly. They also sell freshly-baked goods. Here’s their menu.

The second best bakery in Paris

November 21, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places, Traveling No Comments →

2nd best
Every bakery claims to make the best baguette in Paris. This bakery in Montmartre does not care to be in that overcrowded group. It proudly proclaims itself the second best in the region.

grocery cat
The cat at the grocery doesn’t care because cats don’t eat carbs (except in Italy, where cats eat pasta), but he’s very friendly.