It’s that one food-related thing you do every weekend that makes getting through the week worth it.
Note: M.I.Y.O. Monday stands for Make It Your Own Monday, a question thrown out to DCF readers every Monday to jumpstart the week with lively interaction. I also welcome questions and suggestions for future MIYO Mondays. Email me.
During the week, my Bin and I wake up at about the same time everyday. We’re both early risers and discipline dictates we get our workouts out of the way first. So, with varying levels of grumbling, we get dressed and my Bin heads outdoors for his run while I head to my exercise mat and dumbbells. Afterwards, we come together for a painfully healthy breakfast of last night’s leftovers (him) and cereal and black coffee (me).
Such rigid routine is why we love Sundays so. We still get up early but on this glorious day that comes just once a week, this day celebrates a weekly breakfast ritual and one no-holds-barred happy meal (usually lunch). We’re out of the house by 7:30am and we stop by a McDonald’s to get my coffee from McCafe, usually a flat white.
Then we drive to Pan de Manila to buy a breakfast of bread rolls and all manner of fluffy, floury things. I consider Pan de Manila as the new generation panaderia, that has, in the years I’ve been patronizing it, kept up very well with the times. From just a selection of big or small pandesals, they now offer a whole wheat version, various ensaymadas, and square loaves. They’ve seemingly thought of everything too with their offerings of various bread spreads – peanut butter, coco jam, and the like – and packets of instant Café con Leche and Tsokolate con Leche. I admire the company’s drive to promote the arts by commissioning select artists to display certain images on their packaging for paper and plastic, and lately, they’ve been touting a chocolate brown recyclable bag with a calesa print. Very nice.
For our Sunday breakfast, we buy ten big pandesals; two Spanish Classics, the traditional roll now crescent-shaped but with the same bread crumb-margarine-brown sugar filling; and one Ensaymada Espesyal (larger and topped with shredded queso de bola), for Boo.
Once home, the bread sits for a spell in the toaster while we set the table. I’ve been sipping my coffee during the short ride but now I transfer it to one of my favorite cups. Takeaway cups are fine but coffee just tastes better in a real cup.
My Bin was the one who taught me the “proper way to ‘slice’ a pandesal” – with a fork, not a knife, bread knife or otherwise – “… so that you won’t flatten it,” he says, as he carefully spears the side of a pandesal with the fork, gently prying it apart. I’m fascinated by the dough’s crumb coming apart rather languidly, strips of dough stretching like melting mozzarella. Warm from the toaster, it reveals its pillowy belly, wafts of steam rise into our noses and tickle our appetites. My Bin likes to eat his pandesal with corned beef or some other canned good that we don’t allow ourselves to eat during the week, but I prefer to eat my pandesal plain. I relish its smoky flavor, a characteristic of being baked in a pugon, and between bites, I like to pinch and touch the bread’s doughy interiors. I feel the coarseness of the bread crumbs that the pandesal’s been dusted with, its now crusty top burnished from its time in the toaster.
Not much is spoken at Sunday breakfast between my Bin and me, we’re both busy revolving around our own little spheres of bready bliss. But when the last bite is bitten, the last sip of coffee supped, we look at one another – eyes bright from a breakfast of bread – and begin to talk about where we’re going to have our “happy meal lunch.”
Tell me: what is your Sunday or weekend food ritual?