Not Your Usual Adobo

Let me tell you a short story.

I grew up with my Lola (Grandma) and Tita (Aunt), and the kitchen and the dining were our favorite place in our small house in Malabon.

As a kid, I remember always asking, “Lola, bakit ka naglalagay ng kutsara sa niluluto mong ulam?” (Why is there a spoon in the meat broth that you are cooking?).

“Para lumambot agad ang karne.” To make the meat tender, she would explain.

Don’t ask me why or how. Up to now, the physics behind it is still a mystery to me. But it seemed effective as every piece of pork or beef came out tender, juicy, and succulent.

How I miss those days! From searching for the freshest produce to cleaning the clams, from mincing garlic to crying over chopped onions, from choosing between chunks or tidbits and red or green bell pepper. I learned many traditional Filipino kitchen techniques from them that probably won’t be taught in a culinary school.

These childhood memories remind me that a good meal is not just about pleasing everyone’s palate at the dinner table. It’s also about the bonding moment with your family and loved ones while you attentively chop those vegetables and carefully sprinkle pepper and salt in preparing the family’s specialty dish that you always brag to people that you meet in everyday occasions.

You are already familiar to many of these recipes. You may even have your own version or style of preparation. Yes, we can argue all day about what’s better or what’s right, and that’s the beauty of it because it shows our passion and pride. Maybe you’re a kitchen novice. Maybe you’re an expert. It doesn’t matter. These recipes are here to be shared and passed on.

Luto Ni Lola (Cooked by Grandma) is about the food that we have always enjoyed and loved. But it’s not just a collection of heirloom recipes; it’s also about familiar stories that many of us can relate to. It’s about those fond memories of celebrations and surprises, late night dinners and Sunday lunches, love and heartaches, and metal utensils that we put into a simmering pot of meat broth.

To my Lola and Tita, I miss you so much. This site is for you.