A lot has been written about chef Atching (Kapampangan for “ate” or sister) Lillian Borromeo and her heirloom recipes. I cannot claim to be a true blue foodie or a good cook, so I won’t even bother to describe Atching Lillian’s recipes that I have been fortunate enough to taste. The most I can share is that I discovered what her secret ingredients are to make all her recipes taste that good.
I do not have the heart to breach the trust she has given me and my boss Diana that day. It was a rare privilege and an honor for us to hear her tales that, she admits, she does not share with just anyone. Her stories are as rich as her recipes, which gave me the idea that these must be the secrets behind every meal she serves to her friends, family and visitors.
I guess Atching Lillian is not the only cook or chef who uses tales from her life as a motivation from preparation to serving food. The only thing that differentiates one chef from another is the emotion behind every specific tale — the passion, the longing, the wanting, the fear, the courage, and even the hatred that they felt during each moment. That day, March 3, was the second time I visited Atching Lillian; but it was only then that I really tasted the goodness of her every recipe. After hearing her stories, I can say I was blessed to have relished the flavors of her abundant life.