Ambos Mundos Restaurant Blog: Preserving Culture While Preserving Traditional Food

11:13 PM

The connection between culture and food has long been established. In fact, talking about a country's culture without mentioning the food is impossible. Food has helped shaped many cultural identities around the world.

It is inevitable to conclude then that in the efforts of preserving culture, we will find ourselves preserving traditional food as well. I found this out for myself during a very simple interaction I had with my young daughter. It was just supposed to be a simple demonstration of how to cook champorado but it turned out to be a travel through time to my childhood memories.

The stories on how the simple champorado evoked memories that remain in my heart flowed effortlessly. It helped that my daughter was asking questions like who cooked the champorado when I was young, did my parents prepare it the same way I was presenting it to her, was the same ingredients used, and so on. I distinctly remember the smell of cooking cocoa tablea, the manner of announcement that the champorado was ready, and how my siblings and I would rush to the table and had our fill of it. It was almost like a ritual made more special if my grandmother was in the mood for telling stories.

Ways of Preserving Traditional Food

To make the analogy simpler, I will attempt to answer this in the context of a very simple traditional Filipino food - the champorado.

Make it relatable to the younger generation

Champorado traces its history in Philippine cuisine during the country's Spanish colonization. The cocoa tablea may be alien to many young people but they can certainly relate to chocolate. While champorado is traditionally enjoyed warm with dried fish, it can be served chilled with choco shavings and choco bits.

Provide variations of the original

Traditional champorado comes in choco brown color, just as most of us know chocolate. White chocolate was a later development which soon found its way to many food applications. White choco champorado is a perfect example.  

Combine with other local staple crops

Ube is an indigenous staple crop of the Philippines. Its possibilities as a flavoring for many food items have been explored extensively and with great success. Candy, ice cream, cake, bread, and now with porridge, have all been received positively by Filipino consumers. 

My Say

We, at Ambos Mundos Restaurant believe that passing on traditions to the next generation is essential to preserving our culture. That said,  if we can help do this through food, we will gladly do so.

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