How I turned into the EATER I am today
baking my destiny
I was destined to be an EATER. A big one. My life revolves around this activity. I liked food as much as I liked my Voltron toys. I was young as hell, but as soon as I attempted to master the art of flipping pancakes, I knew what I wanted (more pancakes!) and what flavours worked well with the things I liked to eat. Not one to sit there and demand or pant around until I got my way – I calmly negotiated with my mum and justified my reasons. In other words, I was a smartarse. But I didn’t win all battles – more on this later. It all started when I got real picky about what sort of birthday cake I wanted to what cupcakes I should bake to sell outside on my street and what frosting would go well with my edible Disney characters that lay on top like flat badges. All kinds of people from local kids to drivers passing through my hood would come by and ask what flavours I had. I would keep a tally of what was most juicy that day so I can keep making those flavours and watched the profits grow (though very tiny!).
blowing it up in the streetz
Some weeks later, I switched to selling imported bubblegum and candy to eliminate food wastage but still catering to the demand. I overheard whispers around the nearby bike track was my fellow rascals were longing for some cool bubblegum so I got thinking…. How could I get cool bubblegum, but in bulk and at a good price?! Costco wasn’t around back then ya see! Luckily, when my family took our first trip to the US, I came across the a huge tub of Bazooka Bubblegum. I hit the jackpot. I used the money I made from the cupcakes and the cash I scored from relatives in the States to buy me a bucket of gum. The kids around the neighborhood absolutely loved it! I sold it for 20 cents a piece making a 100% ROI. I guess my entrepreneurial spirit begun at an early age.
My kitchen BFF of Homer Simpson. It epitomises who I am when it comes to food…minus the beer gut.
start up to textas and how I grew up
After the last piece of gum was sold, I closed shop and just experimenting with various baked goods until I switched my focus on setting up an office in my bedroom as soon as I turned 8 – naming my company Adrian Advertising Inc with signage and all. Ha! I was so particular about what fonts to use and where my ‘receptionist’ aka my cousin should be sitting to take my very important phone calls from my mum who would alert us when lunch was ready. I took long lunch breaks and had set up urgent meetings aka watching my favourite TV shows Roger Ramjet, Monkey Magic, Transformers and Gumby. I also thought textas were way cool and had my ‘receptionist’ arrange them as part of her responsibilities from lightest to darkest in preparation for our younger cousins to use. I guess that’s how I also ended up working in an office. I don’t own my own advertising agency yet, but at least I do get to lead an amazing team of individuals in my day job in the digital advertising space.
For a period, we lived in a house with no heating. There was a heater but it was shattered by the previous tenants. Idiots. In fact, the whole house was vandalised so we all slept in the living room. I would look forward to breakfast because I got to warm up my hands above the toaster. I thought I was Ice Man from the X-Men. Like most kids, I loved attending birthday parties. Though, at the parties I went to, you didn’t find any party pies or fairy bread. Instead, they were pimped out with baymaries filled with an array of Filipino treasures from Adobo to a mammoth sized spit roast pig (Lechon) that sure did attract a flock of grown ups who also came prepared with take away containers. Geeze, was the party for them or for us? No one cared about the birthday cake. It paled in comparison to the other traditional desserts.
Mum never tried to tried to force feed my brother and I brussel sprouts. She was much more clever than that. We had to eat them because at times, that was all that there was at the table. We ate them or went to bed with our tummy’s growling. Unlike my birthday cake or my cupcakes, there was no negotiation here. The same went for fish. I hated fish. It was a combination of the fear of bones and laziness. Like my fat faced cat Creamy, we both prefer steak and jerky (gawd we love jerky) over fish. But the one fish that hooked my carnivorous heart right in was rainbow trout cooked over a bed of charcoal during a summer’s day BBQ. M..mm…mmm!
feels like a teenage dream
In my teenage years, it became clear that second servings was the norm. I applied for a job at the local All You Can Eat Buffet. That’s right, ALL YOU CAN EAT. Let’s just say that my focus was like a broken compass. I knew I had to walk towards the plates piling up but I somehow ended up either in the kitchen waiting by the deep fryer to cook up a batch of fresh battered wings aware that I was knowingly burning my tongue to then ending up at the soft serve ice cream machine making myself a quick fix to cool my burnt taste buds. The owners weren’t exactly fans of my work giving me evil eyes throughout my shift but hey, I was a teenager who had only two things on his mind being food and fun. So I told the bossman where to stick it and got a one way ticket to work at Maccas with the one goal of being able to invent my own burgers (think triple stacked with everything!) and a guarantee that I would always get fresh fries. By this period in my life, I was helping out mum in the kitchen more often learning as time went on and having taken on board some kitchen etiquette at Maccas, I no longer left behind a messy food. trail. It may seem like a small achievement, but HOMEBOY, that was a huge feat for the grotty teenager I was.
chips and gravy rolls, food rehab + my views on food blogging
Fast forward to a decade of shenanigans later, I still find solace in a chips and gravy roll like back in in high school and am blogging about the one thing that friends say I should be put into Rehab for due to my borderline ‘pyscho’ nature both in the kitchen and dining table – FOOD. I swear as my niece as my witness, friends can be cruel but in this case, enlightening, because without their good natured name calling and mocking, Food Rehab would have not been possible. And now I have even more friends that I’ve met through blogging that added to the name chart with spins like “Eating Machine” ” OMG Adrian you pig” “Food Junkie” amongst other rather interesting names. Pretty funny shit actually.
Through the ace people I’ve met from bloggers, chefs, industry icons to home cooks and the thousands of read blog posts, I’ve learnt so much. Practical knowledge that you won’t find in a classroom. I love the fact that I’m still learning and my energy; properly engaged. I’m not just talking about cooking techniques, unexplored ingredients and cuisines but the things you learn as a blogger. Disciple is a biggie. Huge even, as you wrestle your day job and whatever you have going on in your life with your passion. Being a blogger shouldn’t take you from first class to coach. It should, if done with much openness and integrity, improve many areas like defining your own unique writing style, networking skills, flexing your creativeness whether it be blog/logo/template design especially if you’re self hosted, project management skills, organisational skills (ahuh), marketing (SEO, ad management if relevant etc..) and of course social media and technology. Every blogger is different. Everyone has their own goals and like me, yours may change as your blog evolves. Now that I’ve finally released my cookbook, I now focus on things I like writing about the most – Filipino food and the popular Cafe Hopping series that receive the most requests plus the recently launched, ‘Your Top 5 Eats of THA Moment?’ that I get all giddy about.
In retrospect, all I can say is, after nearly 4 years of being part of this growing and honestly, changed community, I have no regrets. I’ve created a blog that has yes, I’ll say it again, ‘evolved’ into something that is unique I can be proud of, have remained passionate about and therefore committed on doing for as long as I can mama jax! But like the conversation I was having with a friend in my industry, I feel that something else – another platform is on the rise. Just like social media began it’s mammoth leap more than five years ago or search it a decade ago, what’s the next chapter for us bloggers? A few things come to mind that I’ve mentioned before but we agreed that so long as your blog is written in your own voice, perhaps armed with a rad concept, are not so concerned about ranking, stats or fretting about being ‘polished’ amongst other things or if you’re doing just some of these whilst having fun and being genuine, then that will shine through and readers will respond. Don’t blatantly copy other blogs, their style of writing or impersonate them. Dare to be different. I mean, come on, we’re food bloggers not writers for TIME magazine so boo hoo, who cares what others think? Don’t be so judgmental. Support one another, otherwise, take a damn seat. Make mistakes. I did. Pour your heart into it. I can go on forever about this topic but I won’t because this subject has been touched on many times in detail by other bloggers I admire. Perhaps a Part 2 specifically in that area in another post yah?
from that bazooka bubblegum moment on…
In conclusion, thankfully after all that, I didn’t turn into some uptight, overcritical and narrow-minded food snob. You gotta shake that right off! Otherwise, I would find it nearly impossible to blog about anything let alone feed my ferocious appetite that won’t quit plus it would make me the worst dining companion. Plus, I’m guessing my readers would be like “This shit ain’t right.” Being one to stick to the norm just ain’t in me. I still have that same excitement where I’d randomly open my mouth as wide as Brandy’s smile over such minute details, like I’ve encountered something for the first time. Mum led by example. When she was a kid, she also sold homemade sweets on the streets back home to feed the family and taught me to shut up and eat my damn food and to be grateful for everything put in front of me, whether it be bad or good. Despite our struggles as a family to make ends meet at times, from that Bazooka Bubblegum moment on, I ate, cooked and did anything I thought was possible and gawd dayem, I’m still staaaaaarrrrrving!
Thanks for tuning in. It was long I know, but luckily for you, I actually cut this post short by half! OMG < indeed.
Sky’s the limit…so keep on eating!”
How did you turn into the eater you are today?
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Keep eating…LIKE CRAZAAY!