friends

yana's ube bibingka & no forks given

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After traveling all around the US hosting kamayans in 50 states over 52 weeks (!!), my kasama Yana Gilbeuna is writing a book! Not only do I think No Forks Given is the best title ever (that literal and pun perfection tho), I think this book is critically important today with the influx of Filipino food in mainstream media. 

Can we talk about that for a second? In the past year or so, friends have been tagging me all over the interwebz whenever something remotely Filipino food related (but especially ube related) is posted.

I love this. After a childhood of having to explain being Filipino, it means a lot to see more of my culture in the media. I love that there are more Filipino restaurants. I love that people are learning that "Asian food" is not a homogenous thing, but actually complex and different everywhere. I love that I can talk about eating fried fish with rice and eggs for breakfast without getting weird looks. I also love that people finally know what ube is.

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But I don't love that people keep calling Filipino food "the next big thing" (see here and here). I don't love that these posts quote "established" white chefs confirming this notion (like here and here), as if Filipino food might not be relevant without their blessing. I don't love that the conversation is often about Filipino food being a cool new thing in America when Filipinos are the second largest Asian-American population here.

With this influx of attention to Filipino food, it's critical we center the conversation around Filipino voices. We don't need to read more stories about how someone "discovered" how amazing our food is (cause dude, we know). We need to read more stories from Filipinos themselves on how complex, personal, and often political our food is, as we hold so much of our identity in what we eat and share.

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We can and will continue asking for more representation in the media, but we can also fund projects by independent artists to help get their voices out into the world. Backing Yana's book on Kickstarter is a great way to do that-- to fund the change you want to see, as my Twitter hero Jee says.

On a more personal level, I'm really pumped about this book because the team behind it is mostly Filipino and Yana asked yours truly to take the photos (!!!) So if you have the means to donate, or even some time to share, by backing this project, you're backing independent artists, you're backing women of color, you're backing POC telling their own story and taking back their own narratives.

Back No Forks Given here! And without further ado.. 

yana's ube bibingka

1 package glutinous rice flour
1 package regular rice flour
a carton of coconut cream
1 cup water
1 jar of ube jam
ube flavoring
a jar of macapuno
1/4 cup muscovado
banana leaves
butter to taste
 

Whisk the two rice flours together, then slowly incorporate the coconut cream. Add about a cup of water to loosen up the mixture if it's too thick. Mix in your ube jam and add extra ube flavor to taste. Take Instagram pics of the cool marbling effect. Mix in your macapuno and muscovado. 

Line a backing dish with banana leaves, pour in the bibingka batter (don't worry about filling to the tip-top because this doesn't really rise), and bake at 395°F for 20-30 minutes, preferably while watching Riverdale and gawking at Jughead. Once the top has baked, rub some butter over the top then return to the oven. Bake for another 10-15 or until a toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with moscavado. Share with all your friends, the true Filipino way.

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river baes

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I've struggled to share my life the way I used to. I miss being in college and blogging every day; I miss lugging my camera around to remember everything; I miss keeping up this diary of memories.

Today I've been in Portland for just about 3.5 years and realizing I came for things that don't really exist here. It can be lonely, especially as a self-employed artist and woman of color. Sometimes it's suffocating how small and impossible this town feels. But in this loneliness I've found something so much better.

Somehow I've found a community that's surpassed all of my dreams. I'm so glad that we keep growing and learning and loving with each other. And I can't wait til it's 100 degrees so we can do this again.

Thank you to my POC family for sharing space and making this place finally feel like home. 

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a picnic at the bluffs

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I wasn't home much this summer. 36 hours in July, a week in August, and a bit more in September. I was heartbroken, because summer in Portland is something special, but I was also happy to have the work to take me away.

This is film from a quick trip back home, picnicking at the bluffs. We managed last minute snacks and fawned over Noodles. I don't remember a single thing we talked about, but I remember feeling so content to be there, just then.

Photos taken with my Minolta SRT 101, Kodak Portra 160, and a little prayer with every snap of the shutter.

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Somehow it's the middle of summer again and I haven't fully soaked in last year's. 

After spending the last few weeks in Seoul, Singapore, and Bali, it's 5am in California and I'm nostalgic for the days when writing and sharing used to come so naturally. I would have taken these photos and shared them within a week so that by this time the year later, I'd already have the photos and memories documented and archived to look upon.

But this is the life I lead now and I'm always trying.

I've already written a bit about Sweden with Ariela and this was the next chapter. We found a beautiful summerhouse in the Danish countryside and lived a rural dream life, if only for a few days. When we weren't exploring the area and foraging for fruit, we made a cozy little sanctuary here and Ariela cooked up a colorful storm. Today is her birthday, and she's on the other side of the country cooking up more colorful storms, this time alongside experts and fellow students, and I couldn't be more proud.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. Can't wait til we're both home so we can leave together again.