Oh, hot summer days...
Time for frolic and for trips.
Let's go to the beach!
(c) ed industan
(from Praising All Seasons Long, Comfort Publishing)
Summer is here again. Many families and individuals are traveling to enjoy their annual summer trips. Well, what can I say; it is part of the American culture. Most will try to save a little every month for a short break, either from office work or house chores.
This year, summer trips may be shorter. The economic sting is too serious to ignore. As much as possible, many would like to make the trip cheaper.
The idea of cheap travel has led my thoughts back to the past. I cannot help myself remember Pinusu` or pusu`, which people in Visayas and Mindanao (Philippines) love to eat while traveling. Pinusu is rice wrapped with a coconut palm leaf blade plaited and shaped like a diamond.
This is how we fix Pinusu`. We first remove the midrib of the coconut leaf; then, with the other hand, we shaped the leaf blade like a diamond. After it's done, we filled it with a quarter of a cup of uncooked rice; then, we drop these diamond-shaped plaited palm leaves into a pot of boiling water. In the process of cooking, the sap of the coconut leaves adds flavor to the cooking rice and also make the cooked rice longer from spoiling. The steaming usually takes, at least 30 minutes. When the cooking is done, the pusu` is firmly packed with cooked rice. To eat the rice, we always enjoy the subtle drama of unweaving the plaited leaf blade. However, If we are really starving to death, we usually cut the pusu` with a knife cross-wise. We usually eat pinusu` with either a grilled chicken or fish on a stick, which are oftentimes sold by food vendors at bus stations or sea ports.
How I wish there are coconut palms here in southern California; how I wish some Filipino or Mexican food markets sell coconut leaves as they sell banana leaves. Unfortunately, nothing is available here. Therefore, if we wanted our summer trip cheaper, we would take our rice cooker to fix the Filipino staple food, i.e. rice, in a motel where we would end up spending the night over. But I assure you, the aroma of a pusu` is beyond compare.
Happy Summer vacation everyone.