Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Food’

What is your favorite meal in literature?

November 04, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Food 12 Comments →

Madeleines and tea from Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust. All photos from 10 Great Meals in Literature at the Telegraph.

Chowder has its own chapter in Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Holden had a Swiss cheese sandwich and a malted milk at a drugstore in The Catcher in the Rye.

Inevitably someone mentions that eating scene in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, but the novel doesn’t go into detail about what they ate. Probably because they were really consuming each other.

In Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen, Babette the French maid prepares a spectacular dinner. The Dwarves dine rowdily at the house of their unwilling host Bilbo in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog is full of meals. In Light Years, James Salter declares that “Life is meals.” Though as prepared by Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, they require more death than usual. In the Jeeves books by P.G. Wodehouse, Bertie Wooster is always being lured to his Aunt Dahlia’s house by the promise of fabulous meals prepared by her French cook Anatole.

Then there are the terrible meals, such as that eventful dinner in Atonement by Ian McEwan.

Despite the late addition of chopped fresh mint to a blend of melted chocolate, egg yolk, coconut milk, rum, gin, crushed banana and icing sugar, the cocktail was not particularly refreshing. Appetites already cloyed by the night’s heat were further diminished. Nearly all the adults entering the airless dining room were nauseated by the prospect of a roast dinner, or even roast meat with salad, and would have been content with a glass of cool water. But water was available only to the children, while the rest were to revive themselves with a dessert wine at room temperature.

And Patrick’s breakfast in Bad News, the second book in the Patrick Melrose series by Edward St. Aubyn.

The smell of decaying food had filled the room surprisingly quickly. Patrick’s breakfast was devastated without being eaten. A dent in the grey paste of the porridge contained a half-eaten stewed pear; rashers of bacon hung on the edge of a plate smeared with egg yolk, and in the flooded saucer two cigarette butts lay sodden with coffee. A triangle of abandoned toast bore the semicircular imprint of his teeth, and spilled sugar glistened everywhere on the tablecloth. Only the orange juice and the tea were completely finished.

Of course there was a meal to, uh, celebrate the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey in A Storm of Swords from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, but we don’t remember what food was served. Just everything else.

What is your favorite meal in literature? Post the passage in Comments. There’s the tinola in Noli me tangere…

Between Edsa and Ayala, a secret garden of earthly delights

November 04, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places 1 Comment →

Edsa is chaos and tension, multitudes packed into a single road, baking in black fumes.


But right on the corner of Edsa and Ayala, hidden away from the careworn populace, is a garden.

And in that garden is the most charming French restaurant.

The food is wonderful, intense, soaked in butter. We had the snails, foie gras, a salad with smoked salmon, braised oxtail, salted caramel chocolate cake and coffee. The liquor ban was on so we couldn’t have wine. Cost of the meal for two: Php3,300. It was worth it (Since we’re not likely to eat there daily).

Lunch was so fabulous, we could not insult the memory of it by eating anything else for the rest of the day.

Maria Luisa’s Garden Room is located at the Makati Garden Club on Recoletos Street, just outside the Urdaneta Village gate off Ayala Avenue. Southbound on Edsa, turn right on Ayala and right at the first corner. You’re there.

The shop with the pink door

October 22, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places No Comments →

The door is inside the shop.

We spend so much time in shopping malls that during last week’s holiday, we decided to take a holiday from the malls as well. First we had lunch at Seryna in Little Tokyo. The food was good, as always, but the usually reliable service failed and Victor’s order (bento) took an hour to arrive. Well, maybe they just hated him. Happy Birthday, Victor!

From our experience, Japanese restaurants tend to have limited dessert options. After they’ve served your wee portions of fresh fruit, what else is there? We racked our brains for non-mall coffee-and-dessert options in Makati. Chocolatier on Jupiter? Happy Cream Puff on Malugay? Purple Oven on Metropolitan Avenue— excellent cakes, but not enough seats for our group.


Juan suggested Bebe Rouge on the corner of Sacred Heart Street and Metropolitan Avenue in San Antonio Village, outside the New Hatchin Japanese grocery. We’d heard of Bebe Rouge, a Japanese-owned French patisserie that makes madeleines, but being a mall creature we hadn’t figured out where it is.


Unlike those self-consciously swanky tea places where the tables are so close together that you’re practically sitting on each other’s laps and you can hear the most private details of strangers’ lives whether you care to or not, Bebe Rouge has lots and lots of room. (Even the gleaming washroom is huge.)


We love Japanese bakeries because the cakes are exquisite and light. Hey, we’re self-indulgent, not suicidal. We had the matcha roll, which was lovely—the green tea taste is not overwhelmed by the sweetness. The word “double” next to “fromage” suggests that when you finish eating it, you’re ready to get shot out into space as a satellite. But Bebe Rouge’s Double Fromage, a two-layered cheesecake with mascarpone cheese mousse, is surprisingly delicate. And the madeleines are dreamy.


The coffee is excellent, the service brisk and unobtrusive. We took home several packages of the anpan—bread with red bean filling. Think of hopiang mongo, but not lardy. Delightful.

LitWit Challenge: Ramen Noir

September 25, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest, Food 14 Comments →

ramen noir
The rain was falling like dead bullets when we left the Mind Museum last Saturday. Dr. Cuanang gave a talk about the brain. It started with art; almost everything does.

ramen noir 2
We had nothing to do and the whole night to do it. Freedom spawns uncertainty, uncertainty summons chaos. We ducked into a restaurant for some hot food. The ramen smell was strong enough to build a garage on.

ramen noir 3
Cherchez la ramen, Buddy. Remember that. Why are we repeating assorted quotes from hard-boiled detective novels? Because Ricky took these photos at Wrong Ramen and they came out looking like Blade Runner. With a guest appearance by Uncle Junior from The Sopranos.

ramen noir 4
So write us a story, will ya? A story of 500 words or more, based on these pictures. Could be a detective story, a mystery, a comedy, knock yourselves out. Post them in Comments on or before 4 October 2013.

The prize is a surprise. Of course it’s baffling. You don’t need a private eye if you already know the answer. But it’s something to read, maybe write on. Something good.

The LitWit Challenge is brought to you by our friends at National Bookstore.

Frying pan or handy iron club?

September 10, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Shopping 2 Comments →

saffy with pan

To Saffy it’s a snack dish. To us it’s a handy weapon to have around the house—nice weight, good balance, easy to grasp, made of good old iron. To people with culinary skills, it’s a tiny Mineral B Element iron frying pan by De Buyer, manufacturer of cooking and pastry utensils since 1830. It is has an organic beeswax-based protective finish with no chemicals or coating added, and has natural nonstick properties.


De Buyer, Kuhn Rikon, knIndustrie, Shun, Swiss Diamond, Mori, Barazzoni, Rosle, Spring and other cookware brands that cause gastronomes, epicures, and culinary folk to hyperventilate with lust are now available at KitchenWorks on the lower ground level, East Wing, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong.


KitchenWorks had a media launch last week—what we were doing there we have no idea, we are useless around the kitchen, but those are the most beautiful pots and pans we’ve ever seen.


Tiramisu or tira-tira?

September 09, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Coffee, Food 4 Comments →


Illy Espressamente, your coffee is great, but is the tiramisu supposed to rise from the plate in a single solid mass when you stick a fork in it?

Is the mascarpone supposed to have the chewy consistency of bubble gum, or has it merely coagulated from sitting inside a vitrine for several days?

Is your tiramisu an hommage to the chewy Pinoy candy called tira-tira? Or does tira-tira in this case mean “unsold baked goods”?

The waiter said we had to pour the shot of espresso over the tiramisu in order to enjoy it fully. Oh, thank you. As we were sharing the cake with a pregnant woman who was already over-caffeinated, we poured the espresso over our half of the tiramisu. We thought the espresso was supposed to soak into the sponge cake and ladyfingers and give it an intense coffee flavor. Is the espresso really meant to run off the hard surface of the tiramisu and spill onto the plate?

How old is this tiramisu?

How old are the pastries in the vitrine? Is their firm, attractive appearance the result of fossilization?

Tsk, tsk, tsk.