Oh, the things I’ve done for my siblings.
Being the oldest child has its perks. You never get hand-me-downs. You get to do everything first. You get to call the shots.
On the other hand, when something goes wrong, it’s always your fault. If you had something to do with it, then you should have “known better.” If you were nowhere near the scene of the crime, then “why weren’t you around to prevent it from happening?”
Also, as the oldest child, you often have to make the delicate decision: when do I side with my parents, and when do I side with my siblings?
With apologies to my parents, I have to admit that often I’ve chosen to side with my siblings. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard the words, “Don’t tell Mom and Pops.” I’ve had to defend their transgressions, clean up their messes, bandage their wounds, and keep so many confidences, it’s a wonder my hair isn’t completely gray.
And yet, even my parents will have to admit that we five Olagueras are a pretty tight bunch. Sure, we squabble frequently – sometimes violently – among ourselves. But none of us will let any harm come to the others. And I know my siblings would do anything for me, just as I would do anything for them. (Right, guys??)
|My brother in pasta nirvana|
Which brings us to why I’m here in my kitchen this Sunday evening, doing something I have never done before: cooking ground beef in ketchup. Fellow Pinoys, you know what I’m up to. Yes, I am making Filipino spaghetti. That furiously red, startlingly sweet meat sauce, containing ingredients that have no Italian origins whatsoever.
What brought me to this, you ask? It’s a touching story really. My brother got down on his knees the other day, hugged me around my legs, and begged me to make it for him, “the way Lola used to make” when we used to go over to her house for Sunday lunch.
As a friend of mine pointed out, how could I say no to that?
So here it is. Filipino spaghetti. Actually it is very nourishing, rather good, and super-easy to make. I just hope it turns out the way my brother remembers it. Kain na!
2 cups tomato (or banana) ketchup
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 carrot, sliced
4 hotdogs, sliced
Heat the oil in a skillet or pot. Add the garlic and onions and saute till soft, about a minute or two. Add half a cup of the ketchup and mix well. Cook until semi-dry but not sticking to the pot. Be careful not to let it burn.
Add the meat and the rest of the ketchup. Mix well, cover and cook for about twenty minutes at medium-high heat. Stir a few times to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom. Add the sliced carrots and hot dogs and cook ten minutes more.
Serve on hot cooked spaghetti. Serves two generously.