The Newest Mangaoang
Abigail Madriaga (my nephew Tito's daughter) and her daughter Alyssa and 14-day-old daughter Angel Eloisa
Well, yesterday afternoon we walked over to the next block, where my nephews Jose and Ben live with their families, and spent some time hanging out at the Mangaoang store. The girls played badminton and volleyball in the street with their cousins, and I sat and talked with my nephews Ben and Galileo (the oldest) and met lots of nieces and nephews and lots and lots of children.
(A digression, if you please, on the blessing of children. Upon meeting an older relative, Filipino children are taught to take the elder’s hand and raise it to their foreheads so that the elder can bless them. At this moment, my brother has 29 great-grandchildren (including Abigail’s two-week-old daughter, Angel Eloisa), so I’m getting plenty of practice. Although technically, I’m their aunt or great-aunt or great-great-aunt, everyone has just started calling me “Lola” or grandmother.)
After the games were over, and everyone was sitting around drinking pop or beer and the kids were enjoying some dumdums (lollipops) from the enormous bag we brought with us, a young man came by selling balut. For those who’ve never watched Bizarre Foods
or No Reservations
on the Travel Channel
, balut is a duck egg
On the street in front of my nephew Ben's house
in which the embryo has been allowed to develop. When they reach a certain stage of maturity, the eggs with the embryos are cooked and then sold hot by the Filipino equivalent of door-to-door salesmen. Rosario bought a couple of bags of balut and then the show began.
Teresita, Jose’s wife, called us over and along with my great-niece Holly Lou, provided instructions (with plenty of assistance from the crowd). We peeled a little shell off of one end, sprinkled a little salt into the opening, and then drank the liquid that collects in the shell. Then you peel the egg the rest of the way, add some more salt, and pop it into your mouth. Basically, it tastes like a very fresh hardboiled egg, with a little creamy patch. The only part I didn’t like that much was the hard white that collects at the bottom end. It’s the albumin with uric acid and it’s pretty crunchy.
But, as you can see, EVERYONE was gathered around to watch us eat our first balut. Rosario finished hers first and was awarded with a big cheer from the gathered relatives.
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