What little knowledge I have about Filipino American history dwarfs what I know about the history of the Philippines. Being born and raised in Southern California, and spending my entire scholastic career in the public schooling system doesn't exactly lend itself to learning about the historical accounts of a foreign nation--even if that foreign nation is where my ancestors are from. I barely even know anything about American history. I mean, the state of California is like, being ruled by the Terminator right now. I'm serious, I just Googled it.
Anyhoo, because of this blatant and embarrassing lack of knowledge, I was especially pleased when I found out the theme for the latest go-around for Lasang Pinoy: Cooking for Heroes. For this latest installment of Lasang Pinoy, we were to choose a Philippine National Hero and then answer the age-old question that if this historical figure were invited over for dinner, what would you serve them?
For this Lasang Pinoy event, I decided I would choose a Filipino historical figure that I knew very little about. Actually, I chose three historical figures: Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora. These three Filipino priests are better known under the acronym of GOMBURZA (Gomez, Burgos, Zamora) and fought for reform against the Spanish government.
GOMBURZA spearheaded a secularization movement to entrust Filipino parishes to the local Filipino clergy rather than being ruled by the corrupt Spanish friars. Of course, the three priests were seen as hostile to the Spanish government and were eventually implicated in the Cavite Mutiny and were all executed on February 17, 1872. The martyred priests became one of the calls to action among Filipinos to resist the Spanish and fight for Filipino independence.
For Fathers Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora, I decided to cook Sinigang--a Filipino sour soup somewhat similar to the Thai Tom Yum Soup or the Chinese Hot and Sour Soup. Except instead of using lemongrass and lime (tom yum) or vinegar (hot and sour soup) as the souring agent, Sinigang utilizes tamarind for its source of sour. And since there were three priests, I decided to make three versions of Sinigang using three different sources of tamarind.