Monday, August 21, 2017

Pecha de Peligro Meals

Hoy! Gising gising from reddit user bulalosataginit

Most young people--yuppie, hipster, millennial or student alike--probably know what it's like to run out of money way before the next payday or allowance arrives. That precarious period usually run the week or so before payday, locally known as pecha de peligro--literally, dangerous days. 

This comes mostly from not knowing how to budget their money. Whether you're the newbie fresh grad on your first job, or had way too many bills, or way too many #drinkstagram posts, or your parents are also having a hard time and hence the allowance delay, you know that feeling of not even having enough money to eat. 

Most probably consider instant ramen (the add water or in a cup kind) as the ultimate meal of last resort. I've heard instant noodles being referred to as "poverty food," and they're not too far from the truth. Just thinking of all the salt and additives makes my liver quiver. But for a vast majority of Pinoys on a tight budget, that's all there is too eat. You're even lucky at that point you're not eating pagpag--meals cooked from those discarded by fast food outlets and sold by the kilo in the poorest areas in the metro. So yeah, poverty food has different levels of hell. Consider yourself lucky if you're eating instant noodles.

For the part-time worker, these days are even more real especially at the end of a work term. You don't get your whole salary but only half of a half salary. You get probably a week's worth. The other half of your half salary you only get once you have been "cleared" after the last work requirements are submitted. That clearance process itself also takes some time since the paperwork requires a half dozen signatories or so. What's more: you don't get paid until a month into the next work season. So yeah, these are definitely salad days. 

Learning to cook to feed oneself is a valuable “adulting” skill. Admittedly though, grocery stores are a more convenient place to get food. Don’t rely on supermarkets and groceries, as ingredients there wouldn’t be as cheap compared to what you can buy at the wet market. Once at the market, opt for vegetables as these are cheaper than most meats. Check out this stir fried cabbage recipe with ham via MarketMan, which comes out cheaper than a fast food value meal. He also has a slew of delicious, nutricious, but lower priced dishes here

Market Man believes that yes, although times are tough, prices of raw ingredients are rising, we should know better than just succumbing to buying fast food meals to feed ourselves. That the Php49 fried chicken meal can be replicated at home, for far cheaper. He urges readers to cook more, cook smarter, and cook at home. 

My favorite resource of these cheap meals come from reddit ph user whose pecha de peligro recipes are real helpful. Check out these inexpensive recipes for spicy ginisang sayote and Hoy! Gising gising. There’s even a Valentines Special for those affordable date nights. 

Then there’s also the ultimate in Pinoy tipid foods: the delata or canned goods. There’s still a huge spread in terms of price: CDO Carne Norte at Php29.75/40 is way cheaper than the more gourmet Delimondo Corned Beef at Php120. And you still need skills to transform that into a meal and not just open the can and eat. 

Basically, my point is this: if you were not careful with your money, then you will always find yourself in a tough spot where you can only eat Sardinenuts— sardines with crushed Nagaraya nuts. That’s on you. But if you had cooking skills, then even sardines with nuts wouldn’t taste as bad. At least, that’s better than starving.