One of the things everyone looks forward to during the Christmas season is the food.

Not me.

As my wife says…I don’t have an emotional relationship with food.
For me, food is to fuel my body.

Oh sure, I want it to taste good. I don’t like eating brussel sprouts.  They’re gross.  But I still eat them.

I don’t eat sugar…and I don’t ever have a “cheat” day.  If something isn’t good for me, why cheat?

Anyway…I’m not normal…I know.

For the rest of you, here are some Filipino foods that get served around the holidays.  Yes, you can get most of these foods year round; they just taste better during the holidays (at least, that’s what my OFS says).

Queso de Bola: This literally translates to “cheese ball.” Usually made of Edam, cheddar, or processed cheese, and covered with red wax. They open it just before the midnight feasts and serve with ham, bread, and fruits.

Ham: The most popular one served during the holidays is pork ham with pineapple glaze. The glaze is what makes it extra special when you use the leftovers to make ham and cheese (from the Queso de Bola) sandwiches.

Castañas: Wok-roasted chestnuts that are sold everywhere during Christmas. Best eaten while it’s still warm and sweet.

Puto bumbong: These are cylindrical purple rice cakes steamed in bamboo tubes. It’s usually served on a banana leaf and topped with margarine, shaved coconut, and brown sugar. They get it fresh and hot after midnight mass. It pairs really well with Kapeng Barako (a strong coffee varietal that grows only in the Philippines) if you’re having it for breakfast. If you’re having it for midnight snack, you can pair it with tsokolate, hot chocolate made from roasted chocolate bean paste and brown sugar or sugarcane molasses.

Bibingka: Another type of rice cake. This one is flat and usually has a salted egg topping. Unlike the puto bumbong, this one is baked/broiled over charcoal while wrapped in banana leaves. Traditionally served with margarine and shaved coconut on top. Also pairs perfectly with coffee or chocolate.

Julia my OFS says “I got a Queso de Bola early hoping to avoid the Christmas rush. But sadly, my daughter found it and I think there’s only half of it left. I’ll need to get another one. Hopefully, this one will last us until the New Year.”


PS. If you’re thinking about hiring someone, now’s not a great time. Wait until the new year. I’ll explain in my next email.