Tikim: A Book Review of Doreen Fernandez's Essays on Philippine Food and Culture
If you are interested in learning more about the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Philippines, you might want to check out Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture by Doreen G. Fernandez. This book is a collection of essays that explore the history, geography, sociology, and aesthetics of Filipino cuisine, as well as the personal stories and experiences of the author, who was a renowned cultural historian, professor, writer, and columnist.
Tikim was first published by Anvil in 1994, and has since become a classic work that has inspired and educated generations of chefs and food enthusiasts in the Philippines and around the world. In 2020, Brill published a new edition of Tikim, with a foreword by chef and educator Aileen Suzara, and an editor's preface by historian Catherine Ceniza Choy. This edition honors and preserves Fernandez's legacy, as well as introduces her work to a wider audience.
In Tikim, Fernandez takes us on a journey across the archipelago, from the northern provinces of Luzon to the southern islands of Mindanao, and from the urban centers of Manila and Cebu to the rural communities of Pampanga and Iloilo. She shows us how Filipino food is shaped by various factors, such as geography, climate, history, colonization, migration, trade, religion, politics, and culture. She also reveals how Filipino food reflects the creativity, adaptability, resilience, and hospitality of the Filipino people.
Some of the topics that Fernandez covers in her essays include: the origins and evolution of Filipino cooking; the influences of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, American, and other cuisines on Filipino food; the role of rice, vinegar, coconut, fish sauce, and other ingredients in Filipino dishes; the significance of rituals, festivals, and celebrations in Filipino food culture; the diversity and regional variations of Filipino food; the challenges and opportunities for Filipino food in the global market; and the personal memories and anecdotes of Fernandez related to food.
Tikim is not only a book about food, but also a book about culture. It is a book that celebrates the richness and complexity of Filipino identity and heritage. It is a book that invites us to taste, savor, and appreciate the flavors and stories of Philippine food. It is a book that makes us hungry for more.
One of the reasons why Tikim is such a compelling and authoritative book is because of the author's background and expertise. Doreen Fernandez was born on October 28, 1934, in Manila, Philippines. She came from a family of educators, writers, and artists. She graduated from St. Scholastica's College with a degree in English Literature, and later earned her Ph.D. in Literature from Ateneo de Manila University. She taught at various institutions, including St. Scholastica's College, Maryknoll College, University of the Philippines Diliman, and Ateneo de Manila University, where she became a professor emeritus and chair of the Department of Communication.
Fernandez was also a prolific writer and columnist, who wrote for various publications, such as The Manila Chronicle, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Food Magazine, Mr. & Ms., and Philippine Studies. She authored and edited several books on Philippine theatre and culture, such as Palabas: Essays on Philippine Theater History (1996), In Performance (1981), The Iloilo Zarzuela: 1903-1930 (1978), and A History of Theater in the Philippines (2006). She also wrote extensively about Filipino food and cuisine, such as Sarap: Essays on Philippine Food (1988), Kinilaw: A Philippine Cuisine of Freshness (1991), Fruits of the Philippines (1997), and of course, Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture (1994).
Fernandez was widely recognized and respected for her contributions to Philippine culture and scholarship. She received numerous awards and honors, such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines Gawad Para sa Sining for Literature (1990), the National Book Award for Essay (1992), the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining for Cultural Research (1999), the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts (2002), and the Order of National Artist for Literature (posthumous, 2018). She also served as a board member and consultant for various cultural organizations, such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, and the Filipinas Heritage Library.
Fernandez passed away on June 24, 2002, at the age of 67. She left behind a legacy of excellence, passion, and generosity that continues to inspire and influence many people today. As chef and educator Aileen Suzara writes in her foreword to Tikim: \"Doreen Fernandez was a teacher who taught us how to see with new eyes; a storyteller who wove together narratives of place, people, history; a visionary who imagined new possibilities for Filipino foodways; a mentor who encouraged us to pursue our own paths; and a friend who shared her table with us.\" 061ffe29dd