Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An Interview Meme

It took me long enough to get ‘round to answering this meme. First of all, the rules.

1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like your favorite lyric to your current favorite song. Or your favorite kind of sandwich. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.

So here are the questions that JunoMagic asked me:
1. What is your happiest childhood memory?
2. What is the worst?
3. What’s your favourite food?
4. If you have unlimited time and money for cooking for me, what are you going to put on the table?
5. If tomorrow were your perfect day and no matter what you did, it would turn out perfect, what would you do?
Hmmmm. Answers, anyone?

1. What is your happiest childhood memory?

I had to think about this one. There may be a few ... but the best comes from when I was 7 years old, visiting relatives in the Philippines. My grandfather didn’t speak much English, and at the time, I was losing my Tagalog, but was still able to understand it. He spent time with me, teaching me a few card tricks. He noticed how quickly I was catching on. He turned to my mum (his eldest daughter) and remarked how smart I was. I had this huge smile on my face – I learnt that even though we were separated by language, an ocean, and a continent, I was still a beloved granddaughter.

2. What is the worst?
My father was in the Navy, and we moved around a lot when I was really young. When I was 7 years old, I was on the verge of joining the school orchestra – I wanted to learn how to play the violin – but alas, on the day I was supposed to have gone for the initial meeting, I turned up to tell everyone I was moving away, and so would not be able to join them. There may have been worst memories (I was a favourite of the schoolyard bullies unfortunately), but sometimes I wonder – if I had the chance to learn how to play the violin, would I still be playing now? Plus – that was the last time we moved, so my brother had the happy chance to make strong friends, and he can honestly say he’s known his circle of friends since they were 5 years old. I cannot say the same, and now, my closest friends are those I’ve met within the last 5-7 years.

3. What’s your favourite food?
I love fruit, especially peaches and watermelons. But there is one thing I would eat no matter what: lumpiang shanghai. It’s not the healthiest thing, but it is so so good. Think of it as spring rolls, with a savoury minced pork filling. But any lumpia, whether it be fried (with meat/vegetable filling) or fresh (sariwang lumpia; the Malaysians have something similar they call poh pia) it’s something I can never tire of, and would eat any time of any day.

4. If you have unlimited time and money for cooking for me, what are you going to put on the table?

Considering how much I love Filipino food, I’d love to share the best of my cuisine with you. We’d start with a small cup of arroz caldong manok. The Cantonese know this as congee, and most of Southeast Asian cuisines have something similar. Think of it as a savoury rice porridge with chicken. Ginger and lemon are the most prevalent flavours, with saltiness adjusted with fish sauce. A couple of fried lumpia (spring rolls) would also be served at that time. The next course would consist of a plate of pancit palabok. Pancit is a general name for stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables, and palabok implies there is a savoury sauce that goes along with it. It is garnished with egg slices, fried garlic, and fresh chopped scallions. I still remember when I was 7 years old, visiting relatives in the Philippines – my uncles noticed how much I loved pancit palabok, and they ensured I had the chance to eat it as much as possible. The main course: a beautifully cooked stuffed bangus (Philippine milkfish). It would be fancily cooked: the fish would be cleaned, halved, as much of the bones removed as possible, as well as the flesh removed. The resulting cavity would be stuffed with a sautéed mixture of the reserved fish flesh, tomatoes, garlic, and onion, flavoured with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste ... and then the whole would be baked slowly in an oven. It would be finished with a quick frying in hot oil on each side, and then arranged on a plate. Usually, it would be served just like this, but a really nice savoury sauce can also be poured over the whole fish. This would be served with rice.

Dessert would be either leche flan (we got this from the Spainards, and my Spanish friend made it exactly as I would have done, minus the lemon essence that I like to add from time to time) or cake sans rival. Erm ... something sort of similar, sort of ... the idea is similar anyway ... is Schaum torte. Except that cake sans rival is a multi-layered cake, but is very delicate.

Sweetened kalamansi juice (native Philippine citrus fruit) would be served with dinner. The main course ... well, I suppose we could pair the fish with a white wine, but I’ve not recalled meals served with wines, so I’d have to think about this. Dessert would be served with coffee.

I hope this made your mouth water with anticipation. :-)

5. If tomorrow were your perfect day and no matter what you did, it would turn out perfect, what would you do?

I suppose here is where I would be quite predictable. I’d be sitting at the console of a magnificent tracker pipe organ. If I can get my hands on the Duke Chapel Flentrop organ ... TPTB would have to peel me off that organ. I can dream, can’t I? Alternatively, I’d be in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and experimenting with various recipes. At this point, my lab is my kitchen, and I love cooking for others.

My, I have been rather verbose, haven’t I?

Anyone who reads this, feel free to ask me a random question in the combox. I would be particularly keen to hear from Brian, Jason, Charles, Ebeth, amongst others. Everyone else: please feel free to play along.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I love your answers. Especially "my" menu. I'm so terribly hungry now! :-) Thank you for indulging me. And I hope that one day I'll get to try that kind of food for real!

Charles said...

Random thought: California should secede from the United States.

Lyn F. said...

Oh Charles, did I ever tell you that you are one strange duck?

Okay. Here are your questions.

1. Put yourself in Ahhh-nold's place. What would be the next great piece of legislation you would introduce to the State Legislature?

2. What would be your ideal gig?

3. You are commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI to compose a new Mass that would reflect the new English translation, that would be debuted in Rome. What would you present?

4. Okay. Back to California. If California were to fall into the sea tomorrow, and if God commissioned you to escape in an ark, who and what would you take with you?

5. If California were to secede from the U.S., would you follow, or would you staunchly stick with the U.S.?

Brian Michael Page said...

Charles, I've often agreed with your random thought. California is so different from the other 47 continental states (not necessarily in a bad way either). It's like what the city of Woonsocket is to Rhode Island or Quebec to the rest of Canada.

That said, my random thought (and this is the topic of my forthcoming podcast - doing some extra research, so probably Sunday night it should be up and running):
Which Gather Comprehensive do you feel is better (or should I say "the lesser of the two evils")? The 1994 dark green edition or the 2004 maroon edition?


Lyn F. said...

Honestly, Brian -

Knowing you, that is not so random, but no worries. That will just make the questions a little more ... interesting.

1. You have complete editorial control over a new hymnal project. What kind of material will you include in it?

2. See Charles' Question #2.

3. See Charles' Question #3.

4. Say you decided on a career change and leave the church music business. If you had a choice, what career would you choose?

5. You have access to any organ anywhere in the world. Which would you want to play on a regular basis, and why?

There you go, Brian. Enjoy!

Lyn F. said...

@Juno -

You're very welcome :)

Charles said...

Your questions are hereby responded to out in the ether, Lyn.

Tyler said...

Ok, Lyn, I got over my case of laziness. At least in part...

Random thought: wouldn't it be great if our five toes were long and nimble like our five fingers? Then we could play really crazy things on the pedalboards (not that we don't already!).

Lyn F. said...

@Tyler -

Very interesting thought. I would think the foot-fingers would be more effective on a piano or other similar keyboard than along the typical pedalboard ... unless we're talking flat pedalboards with the very short "black" keys ...

Very well then. Your questions, sir, are following.

1. What crazy things would you play on the pedalboards if you were blessed with five long and nimble toes?

2. You are stuck on a desert island with nothing more than a computer and a bottle of gin. What will you do to get yourself back to civilisation?

3. You, unlucky soul, find yourself stranded on yet another desert island. Name one vocal piece and one organ piece you absolutely cannot do without during your exile in apparent paradise.

4. It's many years down the line. You have embarked on a journey that involved the slings and arrows of prickly customers and the idiosyncrasies of indecisive priests who can't decide what kind of music they like. You've reached a fork in the road and must choose one path. Which do you choose - the one with the ever-lasting customer, or the one with the ever-unpredictable priests?

5. See Brian's Question #5.

Have fun chewing on this one! >:-)