Adobo is so identified with Filipinos that it is almost always expected to be part of any welcome treat especially for foreign visitors. This instant association is probably one of the reasons why Marvin Gapultos, the author of The Adobo Road Cookbook chose to name it as such. This book promised to be a Filipino food journey and after reading through it, I understood why.
The Author's Personal Journey to Loving Filipino Food
What makes this cookbook particularly interesting is that it is written by a Filipino who grew up in the American ways. He tells stories of how he used to protest loudly as a kid when served with food like adobo, pinakbet, or sinigang, only to find himself missing them when he was off to college, able to have his fill of pizza, burritos, and hamburgers. The resolve to finally learn how to cook came when he got married.
He married a non-Filipino who he admits is a great cook. Still, he found himself craving for Filipino food thus the weekly trek to his parents' home just to satisfy his cravings. He realized soon enough that it would be better to learn to cook Filipino food on his own. Learning came though his mom, his grandmother, and aunties who turned out to have a treasure of recipes under their care.
Marvin Gapultos documented his culinary trials and tribulations through his blog Burnt Lumpia in reference to his propensity to have at least one burnt spring roll when cooking a batch during his novice days. With experience comes confidence and so he opened The Manila Machine, a gourmet Filipino food truck serving people in Southern California. The Adobo Road Cookbook seeks to spark greater interest in Filipino food and culture.
The Adobo Road Cookbook
This cookbook does not go straight to recipes but rather provides the basics that will prepare an aspiring cook of Filipino food. Recommendations for the most useful tools to have as well as ingredients to have for a Filipino pantry are given. Even before the first chapter of recipes begin, recipes for basic condiments, sauces, and dips are presented to serve as foundation for all the cooking that is expected to follow.
In spite of its title, The Adobo Road Cookbook is not all about adobo. It has at least one chapter dedicated to the art of adobo but the rest of the chapters feature appetizers; vegetables and salads; soups, noodles, and rice; main dishes; Filipino finger food and cocktails; as well as desserts and sweet snacks. The recipes are provided in an easy-to-understand manner that will not intimidate even those who are trying them for the first time.
It is very evident in the way that the cookbook was written that the author is very much aware that he is catering to a wide audience in terms of nationality and ethnicity. He does not presume that anything is automatically understood and goes to great lengths to explain a terminology or a cooking method at every opportunity. He even shares his own twists to traditional Filipino recipes and that lends a more personal touch to this cookbook.
I highly recommend this cookbook to everyone who may like to try their hand at Filipino cooking.