When spending Christmas at my parents' house, we adhere to quite a few traditions:
- My brothers and I challenge each other's manhood via video games. This past year it was Guitar Hero. I'll admit that my brothers are better than me at virtually rocking. But I rock literally. So there.
- My dad challenges everyone's religioushood (I just made that word up) by not attending Midnight Mass. While my mother, my brothers, my wife and I attend church late Christmas Eve, my father stays home and practices his finger jabs and throat punches on a wooden dummy in the garage. He then practices his striking with the business end of his belt, jangling the metal buckle like a jingle bell (he's festive like that).
- My mom challenges my wife's stomach-hood (again, another awesome made-up word) by telling her to eat more and more at the dinner table. Any Pinoy who has ever brought a non-Pinoy home knows what I mean:
Mom: "Why don't you eat?"
Wife: "I am eating."
5 minutes later...
Mom: "Are you OK? Why don't you eat some more?"
Wife with mouth full: "Um, yes. Ok, I'll have more pancit."
2 minutes, 39 seconds later...
Mom: "You're not eating! Have some more rice! Rice! Eat! Eat! Eaaaaaaat!"
Wife with gastrointestinal pain and no other choices: "Ummm. Uh. Yes. Please."
And so it goes at my parents' house on Christmas Eve.
As fun as all of that sounds, and it really is, there is one other tradition that I look the most forward to: Arroz Caldo. And seeing as the theme for the latest Lasang Pinoy event is rice, I see no better entry than my mother's Arroz Caldo.