Growing up in the Philippines, no one brewed their coffee in coffeemakers or Moka pots or French presses. They used instant coffee, and that’s how it was in my house. Instant coffee with lots of sugar. Then when I worked at the radio station during college, the DJ’s taught me how to brew coffee in the coffeemaker, the first I’d ever seen in my life.
When I moved to L.A., I brewed coffee morning, noon, and night in a tiny 4-cup coffeemaker in my tiny 1-bedroom apartment. Then my best friend Galia, who grew up in what was then Yugoslavia, taught me how to make coffee over the stove in a moka pot. She said she liked her coffee strong enough to stand a spoon in it.
Years later, when I met Tania, a Brazilian Swiss yogini, she introduced me to the moka pot again, this time, showing me how she brewed her coffee each morning, tamping down the coffee grounds (“You’re not supposed to do it, but this is how I do it,” I remember her saying) with the back of a spoon.
My best friend Pam used to brew a full pot of coffee in the morning and pour it into a thermos which she took with her when she drove to see her massage clients all over L.A. Pam knew how to live – I can still see her sitting in her car with her cup of coffee (black, not a drop of creamer), and a library book to keep her company as she waited in her car for her appointment to start. She usually arrived to her clients’ appointments really early, which meant that after she found parking, she’d wait – reading and enjoying her coffee.
When I would visit my mom in NYC, I as appalled that she still used instant coffee. So I would pack my moka pot with me whenever I visited, till one day she bought a French Press and proudly showed me how to use one. I already knew how (I have two) but it was a proud moment for me to see my mom graduate from instant coffee to the French press! But then, she only used it when she had guests over. When she was by herself, she admitted later on that she used instant.
When I went to the Philippines, I was appalled once again that they didn’t have coffee makers in the hotels. Not only that, when you ordered coffee, they served you instant coffee! Horror of horrors! I should have packed my moka pot then, too. Then I went to Boracay and I remember walking around with only one thought in my mind – freshly brewed real coffee. I was like a woman possessed. If you pulled out instant coffee, I thumbed my button nose and moved on. Then I stumbled upon a place called Real Coffee and it was like someone opened the doors up to heaven – and gave me the cure to my coffee withdrawal symptoms, 48 hours after arrival. Lee and her daughter, Nadine, are originally from the US and have made Real Coffee into an institution. They serve real coffee – no instant coffee here!
And because they have no signs pointing to their little spot from the beach, here is how you find them.
Anyway, so if you haven’t figured it out yet, coffee is my poison. In Breaking Bad, I loved Gale’s “pet project” and if you’re familiar with Breaking Bad, you’ll know what I mean.
Not to be outdone, on Hannibal, this is how Hannibal brews his coffee – doesn’t she look purty?
So there you have it! Since I can’t be drinking margaritas and wine coolers all day, I have had to settle for the next best thing. Coffee.
And while we’re on the topic of coffee anyway, here’s one more.
When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?
When I was a kid, my mother would take me, my brother (my older brother was smart enough to be ‘busy’ doing other things) and all my cousins to the movies – horror movies to be exact. Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Amityville Horror, Halloween, Prom Night, Carrie, Poltergeist, Dead & Buried, The Changeling – just to name a few.
All of us were scared half to death from what we saw onscreen and since we were all under 12 years old then, we had nightmares because of it. Still, we went because none of us wanted to be called a scaredy-cat, or in the dialect, talawán.
By the time I turned 16, I’d had it. The last horror movie I saw with my mother left me with nightmares of someone hammering a large nail into my forehead, a scene from the movie that has never left me to this day. Recently when I asked my mother if horror was indeed her genre, she said it actually wasn’t. She just got a kick out of scaring the crap out of the kids.
I do still watch a few scary movies though – like Pan’s Labyrinth, La Orfanata, The Others and one of my favorite zombie movies, 27 Days Later. But I’m definitely more picky. No Rob Zombie movies for me, or gore-fests like Saw.
The last time I covered my eyes (though I left a slit between my fingers to still see) was during a scene in Hannnibal, the TV series starring Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Lawrence Fishburne and Caroline Dhavernas. It’s one of my favorite, if not my favorite, show on TV.
It was the episode (Takiawase) which guest starred Amanda Plummer as an acupuncturist I would not go to for pain relief at all – not even if you paid me.
“Takiawase” also features a guest appearance by Amanda Plummer Pulp Fiction‘s Honey Bunny, as the honey-obsessed/acupuncturist killer-of-the-week who lobotomizes her clients. Hannibal wouldn’t be the same without some truly horrifying images on display, and “Takiawase” offers the first scene in which this critic just had to look away.
It’s time to share my world again! My full month of vacation of teaching is winding down and I’m feeling a bit sad about that – but at the same time, it’s nice to get to teach topics I actually enjoy teaching. I was actually hoping to finish a novel that I started writing, but I guess it was too ambitious of me to think I could finish it in a month. But I have 5 days more to go, so you never know!
So anyway, here we go!
If you could go back and visit any time period, what time would you travel to and why?
I’d like to travel back to the time of the industrial revolution, to see how northern England changed to become this hub of mills and other manufacturing towns. It has to do with my reading of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South as well as her other books set in that time period, where her husband ministered to the working masses and she got to see first-hand the effects of industrialization upon the people. I wrote about Gaskell on my everything-else blog here.
If you could have three wishes granted for you alone, what would they be? This is a time for you to dream and have fun.
This must be a trick question – don’t mind the seriousness of the first wish though. Or better yet, just skip to the third question.
But let’s see, if I had three wishes granted for me alone – here they are:
I wish to have been born among the race of colonizers (Spain, which colonized the Philippines and Mexico; England, which colonized India, etc.) – just so I could see how it feels to be one of that skin color.
I wish for a world where people were kinder, countries were more mindful and no one was better than the other.
I wish I were a better mother.
Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?
Just water, thank you very much. I fear a world where water will be difficult to come by. In fact, for my birthday in a few days (which Mr. M will forget for the 7th year in a row), my wish is to raise money for charity:water. I had set up the giving page last month and unfortunately forgot to link it to anything on this blog (bad bad me!).
So since this question came at just the right time (and reminded me of the page I had set up!), if you’ve got a few pennies to help provide safe drinking water in countries like Mozambique, Haiti, Malawi, Bangladesh and Cambodia (to name just a few), here’s the link to learn more about charity:water and how you can help.
If you watch TV what are your favorite three television shows?
HANNIBAL. I am crazy for this show. I am mad for Mads Mikkelsen and the writing is impeccable, so complicated at times and I like the horror aspect of it. When this show comes, I shoo everyone out of the living room and watch it with hands covering my eyes. I love how they have a food stylist who fashions all these interesting human-looking meals that actually look so good and blogs about it here. Tonight is the season finale, too, so I suspect I will be suffering from withdrawals.
GAME OF THRONES – I have a confession. I’ve only watched this in bits here and there from the beginning but I am not offended by spoilers, so I got caught up really quickly in time for season 4 – which unfortunately has its finale next week. I love George R.R. Martin’s writing and it’s interesting to see how his work is adapted for TV. I am strangely attracted to Lord Oberyn Martell and love the scheming Petyr Baelish (may you never turn your back on this man if you value your life) and of course, Peter Dinklage’s Tryrion Lannister.
PUSHING DAISIES – Sorry, this is an oldie for me. It’s no longer on the air but I have fond memories of Ned, the piemaker, Chuck, his once-dead-now-alive childhood crush, Emerson Cod, the private eye who knits when he’s stressed (he knits gun cosies), and Olive Snook, next-door-neighbor and waitress at the Pie Hole. It’s also narrated by Jim Dale, US narrator for the Harry Potter series. If you’ve never seen this show, watch it – even though it will never come back again, like another favorite show that I LOVED – HBO’s Carnivale *sob*