February 09, 2005

The Sauteed Upo and Plagiarism In Our Midst

The Sauteed Upo
Yesterday, my stomach cringed a bit trying to put morsels of fried herring into my mouth. The day before, I just gobbled pieces of chicken meat and swallowed it just in order to put some heaviness in my tummies. I felt I was just flooded by too much fish and meat in the past days that I could possibly go haywire in the head when I see another dish of fish and chicken. So I said what’s enough should be enough. Last night, I swore before the evening stars that I shall eat vegetables by tomorrow come high or deep water. 

I went scouring for vegetable recipes in the internet and since I knew a few blogsites offering these kinds of postings, I went to them immediately. It was in Ting Aling’s site that I found the apple of my palate, of all blogsites in the world. Right before my eyes was the how-to-cook presentation of Guinisang Upo and my heart was palpitating a bit and was strained, worrying that I may become the dreaded plagiarists that the local blogosphere was talking about. The million-dollar question was whether or not to cook Ting Aling’s vegetable brew or not? More than one question were whirling in my head and my hands trembled like I was a thief. This dilemma--this doubtfulness--has never haunted me ever before, not even when I was into downloading music many months ago (which I have stopped already, to say in clarification).

I wanted to ask for the permission of Ms. Ting-Aling but I decided against it for it may take a lifetime to wait for her responses and besides, I would like to settle the question all by myself. I wanted to settle these questions on my own account and perspiration and analyze every matter of the issue like a judge about to pen his decision and worrying so darnest if there would be grave abuse of discretion.

I asked myself then, should Ting-Aling wish her readers to cook her suggestions when she posted these kinds of entries. If not, then why would she bother to put them in public view? What’s the use of her writings if she doesn’t want us to partake of its benefits? Maybe, it’s up for sale but I haven’t noticed anything that says “Download this for 95 Cents” button, which could bring us to the question of whether to “Open File From Its Source” or “Save to Disk”. I tried saving the web page of Ms. Ting Aling but the right-click was disabled so I reckoned she is protecting her works. I may warn her that despite the Java Script denying the right-click mode, one could still have her recipe by saving the web page as a text file.

And so I made a version of Ting Aling’s Guinisang Upo that is cooked daily by many Filipino households, the way our Moms and helpers do it. I must clarify that what I meant by “a version” is not exactly that of hers but one we are used to see everyday of our lives. And so this morning I said to the wife that I would be the one to cook today’s staple. I traipse along the sidewalks of Lustre St. and examine where I could find the freshest and crispiest upo. To cook this everyday Filipino meal we should need the following:

Half a Kilo Upo (which would be about half of a fairly sized one.)

300 grams Corned Beef

2 cloves Garlic

2 pieces Onions

3 pieces Shiny red tomatoes (Make sure they are red.)

1 ounce Peppercorns

1 pinch Rock Salt

1 quart Cooking Oil

1 Table Spoon Soy Sauce


Cut the upo into thin slices, not too thin but about ¼ inch in thickness.

In a saucepan, cooked the corned beef until its brown and supple. Do not overcooked it to avoid drying it up and count only about 120 seconds before you drain it and set it aside for the meantime. In cooking, one needs to know how to count even without a timer in hand. I wonder how dreadful life it is for those who couldn’t count pass 20. There would be no cooking in their lives. So educate yourselves in numbers to make your lives more sublime. If you do not know how to count pass 20, I could not see how you could be able to cook simple meals like instant noodles. The packages always say, “cook for two and half minutes” which is exactly 150 seconds. That is a lot of seconds to count.

In a separate pan, put enough cooking oil to a boil and sauté garlic, onions and tomatoes all at once until the tomatoes become tender in the eyes. After that, pour on the halfly cooked corned beef and count about two minutes before you pour the minced upo into the whole mixture. After a while, pinched in the salt and season with pepper and a few drops of soy sauce. Cover the pan and simmer for about ten minutes. Again, please do not overcook it for the vegetable may become soggy and the taste would be affected in a negative way.

Before noon, I ate the meal ahead of the rest and found out that at times, we can always get what we wanted if only we try our darnest and that I could get satisfaction contrary to what Mick Jagger was lamenting about for nearly four decades now.

After my meal, I went to the computer upstairs and wrote this posting. I wondered if I had become “The Plagiarist” many bloggers fear. I hope not.

KUNG HEI FAT CHOY to our Chinese brothers and sisters!!!
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