Kitchen & Pantry

That time we craved for lechon on Good Friday

casaveneracion.com lechon sa bilao

We’re not religious. Everyone in the family observes a personal spirituality but the kind that is not associated with religion. That means we don’t observe traditions like meatless Fridays and meatless Lent. I used to make fun of those who do, I don’t anymore having learned to live and let live (as long as we are not adversely affected), but we do make it a point to eat meat all throughout the Holy Week. Two reasons. First, we do like to make a statement. Second, meat prices are normal during Lent while prices of seafood and vegetables skyrocket.

That brings to mind something that happened several years ago, years before we moved to this house. It was Good Friday, I was craving for lechon, we couldn’t find any in Antipolo so we drove down the hill all the way to Pasig. And we still couldn’t find lechon. We drove around for an hour or two hoping that, somewhere, maybe in some out-of-the-way narrow street, someone would be selling lechon. But we found none.

After going around in circles, we were so hungry that we were willing to forget the lechon. We were still laughing and joking around at that point. No lechon? Okay, we decided that barbecue would do. Pork or chicken. But stores, stalls and restaurants were all closed. We drove around some more, getting desperate by the minute. We were really hungry. By sundown, we knew we weren’t going to find lechon or barbecue anywhere. Pan de sal would do. At least, some bakeries were open. We bought a bag of pan de sal and we were eating them right there in the car on the drive home.

I’ve learned my lesson since. Public markets are open on Good Friday even if restaurants and lechon stores are all closed. So, we buy our pork early on Good Friday (or even earlier) and we cook the meat however we like. The past few years, we always had dinuguan on Good Friday.

Things have changed somewhat after Sam turned vegetarian. There will be a meatless dish on Good Friday. For her. For Speedy, Alex and myself, a meaty dish. What it’ll be, I’ll decide later.

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