ISSUE NO. 1
JAN - MARCH 2005
Featured Stories The Tastes that Bind The Big Picture Mini-Size Me Where's the Beef? Green Dining Mutants on Your Plate Movable Feast Why are Filipinos Hungry? At the Kitchen of Divine Mercy Republic of Pancit Mama Can't Eat Eating Without Fear Order your copy now!
The Tastes that Bind
The Big Picture
Where's the Beef?
Mutants on Your Plate
Why are Filipinos Hungry?
At the Kitchen of Divine Mercy
Republic of Pancit
Mama Can't Eat
Eating Without Fear
Order your copy now!
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle has proved to be a great societal leveler. Convenience has become the key consideration in putting together a family’s daily menu, both for the moneyed and the masses, especially now that two-income families have become common, even as reliable househelp has become as rare as erudite senators. That’s largely why instant noodles are such a hit in this country, as are canned goods like corned beef, meat loaf (read: Spam and Maling), tuna, and sardines. One could even say these have become the new Pinoy staples, never mind if they seem more appropriate as emergency rations. They’re relatively cheap (well, excluding Spam), quick to prepare, and — admit it — quite tasty.
There’s the hook: more often than not, these quick foods are loaded with sodium in a variety of forms, pleasing the Filipino palate, which is a slave to salt, among other things. Sodium serves to preserve the food in some instances and to enhance the taste in all.
Enhancing may be an understatement, though. The label of a popular brand of pancit canton, for instance, says that each 65-gram serving (or the whole packet) has about 1,760 mg of sodium or 73 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 2,000 mg a day. Unlike the mami variety, which is often shared by many members in a lower-class household, a packet of instant canton is consumed usually by just one person. Ravenous teeners and office workers have been known to consume two packets each in one sitting, sometimes at breakfast, which means they start their day already packed with almost twice the amount of sodium their bodies should have for the next 24 hours. But like most Pinoys who get restless if their jaws aren’t working (talking as well as eating), they will still be plowing through snacks, lunch, more snacks, and then dinner. More salt will be present in those foods, which could be accompanied by condiments such as patis or soy sauce. A tablespoon of patis or fish sauce has 1,394 mg of sodium while an equivalent amount of soy sauce has 1,423 mg. By the time they go to bed, our canton-eaters will have a lot in common with Lot’s wife after she turned around and had a last look at Sodom and Gomorrah. No wonder hypertension is among the top five causes of morbidity among Filipinos.
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