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Chef Jose? Evidences show Rizal loved cooking, fish |

Food and Leisure

Chef Jose? Evidences show Rizal loved cooking, fish

Jan Milo Severo -
Chef Jose? Evidences show Rizal loved cooking, fish
From left: One of Jose Rizal's archival photos; his family home's kitchen and dining area at their home in Calamba, Laguna / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — Whenever we think of Jose Rizal's novel "Noli Me Tangere," the only dish that it reminds us of was Tinola.

But did you know that Rizal loved to cook and eat fish, if you take a deeper look at the different dishes in "Noli"?

In Ambeth Ocampo's "Dirty Ice Cream" book, the historian particularly noticed that in a scene in "Noli," as Maria Clara's foster sister Andeng prepares to cook, Tia Isabel takes charge and gives instructions on how to churn out different fish dishes. 

“Ayungin is good for sinigang, leave the bia for the escabeche, the dalag and buan-buan for pesa. The dalag lives long, put them in the net so they remain in the water. Lobsters to the frying pan! Banak is good for broiling wrapped in banana leaves stuffed with tomatoes," Tia Isabel said, as seen in the book.

“It is too bad that the only food we remember from Rizal's novels is the tinolang manok from the Noli. However, there are many references to food in both novels that suggest that Rizal knew how to cook or at least knew how he wanted his fish done,” Ocampo noted. 

Apart from the fish dishes, Ocampo said that Rizal not only knew the different ways of cooking fish as detailed in his “Noli;” he also sent natural science specimens to Dresden in Germany from his place of exile, Dapitan, 1892 from 1896, in exchange for books and periodicals. 

“While he is best known for the winged lizard (Draco rizali), the frog (Rhacophorous rizali) and the bug (Apogonia rizali) that bear his name, Rizal sent specimens of fish together with some descriptive drawings and attempts at classification,” Ocampo said. 

RELATEDDid you know? Jose Rizal won lottery while in Dapitan exile

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