Mommy Talks

I made these burgers because college education is expensive

I made these burgers because college education is expensive |

In the angel hair pasta with pesto and crumbled spicy sausages post, I mentioned that I’d write separately about the burgers in the photos. I was about to post it as a recipe article then changed my mind. There is a much more profound story behind those burgers and that story won’t be told by just writing about making patties and grilling them.

The burgers were made with excess filling for lumpiang shanghai. I made the ground meat mixture into mini burgers to go with the angel hair pasta left over from the previous day. So, that day Speedy and I had the burgers and pasta, we were actually eating two leftover dishes.

It’s about economics. We have two children in college and any parent with kids in college would know that financial dynamics in a family irrevocably change with the payment of the tuition fee for the first term of the first year. It’s not easy. But I never really wanted to articulate it because I don’t want the girls to feel like they’re being a burden. They’re not — it is their right to be educated well. I don’t want them to feel guilty and apologetic either that they chose an expensive school. That school is the only one that offers the courses that they want and they have the right to choose courses to prepare them for professions that they feel truly passionate about rather than careers chosen for expected monetary returns. I taught them that very early on and I meant it. I don’t want them to feel bad too that their school exacts such high tuition fees. It’s not their fault. It’s a systemic flaw in our society that good education costs so much.

It shouldn’t be that way. In a just society, everyone should have equal access to quality education, irrespective of economic status. But this is not a just society so quality college education is often beyond the reach of most. We’re lucky because although we’re not rich, we can manage our finances to enable us to send our daughters to college and provide a comfortable home for them. And we’re working darn hard to make sure that the luck doesn’t run out.

What’s that got to do with the burgers? Like I said, it’s economics. Managing finances is no walk in the park. Heck, it’s tight. So very tight and we feel like professional jugglers and tightrope walkers rolled into one. Because college education, as well as everything else including food, is expensive, we make every peso count. And that means zero food waste as much as possible. That also means getting creative and imaginative so that leftovers don’t look and taste like leftovers lest we start feeling sorry for ourselves. Self-pity just isn’t in my vocabulary.

So, yes, these burgers were made with leftover spring roll filling. There’s the cross-section if you’re rolling your eyes in disbelief and you can plainly see the bits of carrots and scallions.

Some people think that frugal cooking is a limitation and an embarrassment. I don’t. For me, it’s just another opportunity to test and even extend my skills. We’ll beat the system and come out on top.

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