Both my parents love to cook. My mom was a Home Economics major in college and my dad learned how to cook from his mother. When they were starting out in their married life and money was hard to come by, they turned to cooking to augment their income. They would cook siopao and piaya (a Bacolod delicacy) to sell to their friends.
It was no surprise, therefore, that we were raised in the kitchen and taught how to cook at an early age. Since my mom loved to bake, she taught me how to make cookies, cakes, and other goodies. I didn't like making ulam, but I loved baking. I was about 10 or 11 when my mom taught me how to make meringue, which I would sell to my classmates for P1 apiece. I remember my sister and I would bake cookies almost every Saturday, and I had a childhood friend with whom I also cooked. We would take turns baking in each other's homes. While other kids were out playing patintero, we were in the house baking – and eating, of course – our goodies.
My dad worked as an engineer in a sugar central where we also lived. We had a huge lawn which was surrounded by many fruit bearing plants, such as santol, indian mango, and bananas. There was a time that we had an unusually huge harvest of bananas (the green kind), and since we couldn't eat them all, my mom taught me how to make banana cake.
After my first few failed attempts, I finally got the recipe right, and pretty soon, I was cooking banana cake for birthdays, specialy occasions, and every time we had an oversupply of bananas. Eventually, my siblings got tired of it, but my mom would always ask me to make banana cake. Now, every time I see a banana cake, I am reminded of a happy childhood and the warmth of my mother's kitchen.
Here's the recipe to my banana cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking power
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (4-5 medium sized lakatan)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add shortening and half of the buttermilk. (To prepare buttermilk, place 2 tsp. vinegar or calamansi juice in a measuring cup. Add milk to make 2/3 cup.) Mix until flour is moistened. Add eggs, bananas, and other half of the buttermilk. Beat until smooth. Pour into greased and floured muffin pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until done.
Now that I have 2 kids of my own, I can't wait to teach them the joys of cooking… maybe in a few years when they become taller than the kitchen table.