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ELIZABETH CASTILLO

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 5/15/2016 |




SONGSOPTOK: What, according to you, is the most important place in your house for communicating with the different members of the family? Why?

ELIZABETH: I believe that while eating together like for example having dinner with the family in the dining room is the most important place in the house for communicating with the different members of the family. While eating with your loved-ones, they say that it is essential to talk to them about what occurred during the day whether it was a bad day at work or you got a promotion or something.


SONGSOPTOK: In a lot of homes, kitchens are considered to be the nerve center where the whole family congregates at regular periods of the day. Is that the case in your home? Can you give us a brief description of such interactions?

ELIZABETH: Yes, I do agree that the kitchen or the dining room  is considered as to be the center where the whole family gathers together at regular periods of the day. When our family eats lunch or dinner together, we usually talk about different topics which involves our day at work, relationships with other people or events happening around us. At the end of the day despite our hectic schedules, we still have time to speak  or communicate with each other during this time. Important family decisions are usually dealt with in the kitchen/dining room.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you consider cooking as a chore or do you enjoy cooking meals for family and friends? What is it you like most about cooking? What do you like least?

ELIZABETH: I believe that cooking should be treated as a good hobby or something done out of love for your loved-ones and friends and not merely as a chore or a responsibility.  They say one’s dishes will turn out good and delicious to the palate if cooking preparations are done with love. In this case, cooking is considered as a labor of love.

In my case, I usually try out different dishes and I also get to do some experiments with food like a fusion of one dish to another. I also get to use stuff I can find in the kitchen and turn them into a meal afterwards. What I like the least about cooking is when it gets tedious to do it especially preparing some special dishes abut would be worth it if your loved-ones and friends would appreciate the food you prepared for them.


SONGSOPTOK: When you were growing up, did you often visit the kitchen? Was it to raid the fridge or to spend some time with whoever was cooking the meal?

ELIZABETH: What I could remember while I was growing up was that I often visit the kitchen to check if there is food stored in the refrigerator or if my Mom prepared a delicious meal for us. I just loved watching my Mom cooking in the kitchen and enjoyed smelling the sweet or spicy aroma of her dishes and just couldn’t wait to taste the food.


SONGSOPTOK: Were the cooks mainly women in your family? Did they teach you how to cook? Do you have family recipes that you cook frequently?

ELIZABETH: My Mom and my sister are the main cooks in our household and I just cook occasionally. My brother and brother in-law also gets to do the cooking once in a while. My Mom has many special dishes and experimental food she cooks but usually we prepare traditional Filipino food.


SONGSOPTOK: Is your kitchen different from your parents’ or grandparents’ kitchens? In what way? Are there features that you particularly miss? Why?

ELIZABETH: I can vividly  remember that my grandparent’s kitchen before was an old, traditional kitchen where they also get to use traditional cooking utensils and brick ovens compared to our modern kitchen nowadays. But there’s this kind of nostalgic and vintage beauty to seeing them prepare food in their traditional kitchen.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that cooking habits always reflect the culture and the practices of the societies we live in? Why? Do you consider this to be a positive or a negative point?

ELIZABETH: In each country, they observe traditional ways of cooking and preparing their dishes and these embodies their culture and customs which distinguishes them from the others. Different cuisines in varied nations carry with them certain special characteristics which relates to their personalities. This may leave a positive and/or a negative connotation but like any other factors and not just about food alone, each has its own “signature cuisine” which gives due recognition to their motherland.


SONGSOPTOK: What kind of food do you like to cook – traditional family dishes / traditional dishes of the country / society you live in / innovative and experimental cooking / fusion cooking / … Will you share some of your favorite recipes with us?

ELIZABETH: I love experimenting with food so when ever I have the opportunity to cook for myself and for my family, I try to infuse both traditional and modern cooking preparations. Steak is my specialty wherein you can use luncheon meat or fish as alternative to pork meat or beef.


SONGSOPTOK: In this context, do you favor the restaurants that offer the so called traditional food? Or would you rather cook it yourself? What is your experience, if any, about these ‘retro’ eateries?

ELIZABETH: I still would prefer traditional home cooked dishes to those offered in restaurants for the preparation of the food is still different and nothing tastes better than dishes cooked at home especially by your mother. I already tasted varied cuisines in different restaurants and their tastes are still not that authentic compared to traditional home cooking.  I believe it has to do with the “special touch” of the one cooking and of some “family secret ingredients” which are handed down from generation to generation which cannot be imitated by commercial food chains.


SONGSOPTOK:  ‘Fusion cuisine’ has become very popular almost everywhere around the globe. What is your opinion about this trend? Are you an adept of this type of cuisine? Why?

ELIZABETH: I am aware of this fusion cuisine trend and I am actually fond of it creating some fusion dishes myself once in a while. They are great food alternatives for us not to get bored of the same food preparations traditionally done at home or those that can be bought in eateries or restaurants around. I love experimenting when it comes to food for I want also to eat something which is both original and different in tastes.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you watch live cooking shows on TV? What is your opinion about them? Do you think that these programs, immensely popular in almost all countries in the world now, have actually contributed to better cooking and food habits?

ELIZABETH: I used to watch “Wok with Yan” when I was still a kid and I do check cooking sites and shows once in a while. While they do influence to better cooking as well as food habits and different preparations, sometimes the audience themselves feel disappointed if their dishes do not turn out as good or as lovely as the food prepared on the show.


SONGSOPTOK: Do you teach your children to cook? Do you think that a lot of our traditions can be handed down to the next generation through cooking and food habits? Why and in how?

ELIZABETH: I do not have any children yet as I am still single but I believe that traditional cooking preparations should be preserved and handed down from generation to generation as this is one family legacy they should be proud of. Parents should be able to teach their children their family’s secret recipe or well-kept family ingredients to special dishes as this is part of their history.



ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO is a multi-awarded and widely published Professional Feature Writer/Creative Writer/Short Story Writer/International Poet and Author/Journalist/Online News Writer/Proofreader/Editor and Speaker. Author of “Seasons of Emotions” (UK) and “Inner Reflections of the Muse” (USA) and a co-author to more than 60 international anthologies in the USA, Canada, UK, Romania, India, and Africa. A member of the American Authors Association (AAA), and PEN International.



We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)

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