of children laughing,
their beautiful echoes
coloring the summer air.
of fragrant cooking
wafting in the warm breeze,
teasing palates and appetites.
Sundays at home.
Sunday is almost always the best day of the week for me. Although my weekends start on Saturdays, it is always on Sundays when the whole family gets to converge and bond. So, no matter how sick I am, I always make it a point to get up on a Sunday. And, dressed in my pajamas with my messy top knot, I stay in the sala (living room), the main room that holds the heart of our Sundays together.
This Sunday started out as other Sundays before it. Anticipation is in the air. As usual, the children are expecting the arrival of my sister Dana and her fiancé Mochie. The kids love it when they come over. Aside from always bearing goodies, they have a way with the tots that always have them sticking to their side the entire time they come visit.
Aside from the company, another thing that the entire family looks forward to during Sundays is the food. Although we do not always cook something special, everyone can be assured that what we will be having, especially during lunch or dinner, is not the usual meal set on the table during weekdays.
Breakfast was a simple fare of eggs, corned beef, sardines with eggs, bread fresh from the neighborhood’s bakery oven, and of course, every Filipino family’s staple, steamed white rice. Lunch, however, was a joy to the palate.
My hubby cooked inun-unan or what others also call as fish paksiw. It is fish stewed in vinegar, garlic, onions and different choices of vegetables including eggplant, bitter gourd, or carrots. This time, my hubby only added carrots for the vegetables and left everything to simmer and cook together for more than an hour. The result was heaven to the taste buds.
The fish was cooked to perfection and spiced just right, while the carrots melted in the mouth. Everyone couldn’t help, but take second and third helpings. Even I, who have been sick since the other weekend and nauseous because of my pain medications, was able to finish a substantial amount of the delectable dish.
And, the day was not over yet. For dinner, we had veggie balls. Made with minced cabbage, green beans, carrots, onions and garlic mixed in flour with some spices, these veggie balls are everyone’s favorites. Aside from being a huge hit among oldies and kiddies alike, the dish is also one of the clever ways my sister Dana was able to think of to get all the kids to eat vegetables.
Our family’s very own recipe, the dish was originally Dana’s idea and was just added on and tweaked along the way. Before, we also used the veggie ball mixture in different ways, like as a filling for dumplings or wontons. Other times, we mixed it with squid rolls or balls for added flavor. The only thing we haven’t done with these veggie balls, sans baking equipment, is bake them.
Since we started cooking the dish though, one thing remained constant. Everyone gets to help in the preparation and even in the cooking, as it takes time to fry up a huge number of veggie balls, enough to feed our large family.
And, of course, with all these sumptuous fare, was the ever present babble of beloved voices, the giggle and laughter of everyone, especially the children, and the general overall feeling of love all around. So, yes, Sundays will always be the best days for me. The simple pleasures this day brings could never be equaled by any worldly riches, as what can be felt wholly in the heart is treasure worth far more than gold.