Hierarchy of Pork
I\’m very nervous about tonight\’s Philippines show.
I\’m all too aware of the fact that the country is made up of over seven THOUSAND islands and that I visited exactly two of them. The food is intensely regional … I mean, even the difference between the food in Manila and Pampanga — only a couple of hours away –is striking. So I missed … a lot.
I\’m very aware of how many Filipino fans we have — and how enthusiastic they are about us (finally) covering their country. I wanted very badly to do a good job on this one. But I fear there\’s no way we got it \”right.\”
Not that I didn\’t have a great time. I did.
For one thing, I settled a karmic debt of sorts: Augusto Elefano, who\’d argued so fervently for his country of ancestry on the previous season\’s FAN-atic special had been sent home short of the prize after a brutal interrogation at my hands. Impressed by his zeal and feeling guilty about smashing his hopes and dreams I felt that Cebu would be good to see through his eyes. So we packed him, his wife and baby daughter onto a plane — and sent them off into TV Land.
What we did get right, I\’m quite sure, was making sure that the amazing, porky delights of \”sisig\” got plenty of camera time. If you\’ve never had this divine mosaic of pig parts, chopped and served sizzling and crisp on one side on a screaming hot platter, then you\’ve yet to have one of the world\’s best beer drinking dishes. And speaking of pig? It can now be said that of all the whole roasted pigs I\’ve had all over the world, the slow roasted lechon I had on Cebu was the best. This puts the standings in the Hierarchy of Pork as follows:
#3. Puerto Rico
If nothing else, I hope that homesick Filipinos living abroad get a glimpse of some of the food and scenery they\’ve no doubt been missing. And for viewers who weren\’t previously familiar with the wide and tasty spectrum of flavors available over there, I hope the sight of me shoving a lot of very tasty stuff into my maw provides — if nothing else — inspiration to look further.
Closer to home, I have a problem: My obsession with the HBO series \”The Wire\” is taking an unhealthy turn. I recently bought the DVD boxed set — all 60 hours of the show — as well as \”The Corner\” the previous six part mini-series by the same writer/producers. I\’m rewatching them all from beginning to end and just can\’t stop. It\’s like if I watch them closely, I\’ll somehow figure out how writing can be so good — how an ensemble of mostly little known actors and a mammoth, wildly ambitious progression of story arcs can make a whole city come vividly, tragically alive. It\’s funny, exciting, excrutiatingly sad and always, always feels real. I can\’t tear myself away.
Gotta go. Omar and Brother Monzon are making their move on Stringer Bell … I love this part.