This is a tale of a sad Filipina and her quest to buy Chayote Squash.
I have been looking forward to cooking one of my all time favorite Filipino dishes:
Ginisang Sayote or Stir Fried Chayote Squash
I wanted to share the recipe featuring this highly ignored squash in the produce aisle, but sadly, the work week leaves me tired by the end of the day with no energy to cook. When the weekend finally came around, the chayote squash I bought a week ago had become brown and unusable.
You see, I love Stir Fried Chayote Squash.
A few weeks before I leave the US to visit my parents in the Philippines, I call home to remind mom that having Chayote Squash on the table is of utmost importance. This dish is always waiting for me on my first day back in the Philippines.
I wasn’t deterred by my quest to cook Chayote and so I drove to a major grocery store. I looked through the root vegetable/squash section and there were a few pieces of chayote squash on the shelf but each piece was either too small, too dry, or has started to brown.
I decided to drive to another grocery store, but without any luck, the chayote squash bin was empty and I was told that they had to throw a new shipment out since they received a rotten batch. This made me sad, and with a heavy heart, I decided to drive home. I didn’t want to spend my day driving around the city trying to find squash.
Why so emotional about a dish that I can cook any other day?
Food and emotions are most often, deeply entwined. The day before my failed grocery hunt for Chayote, mom celebrated her birthday with the family in the Philippines, and simultaneously, my cousins who live in West Coast, USA were driving up to Northern California to visit my brother. That left me nostalgic and homesick. I would think it is safe for me to say that Chayote Squash was the catalyst to an all out Tear Fest.
Since deciding to take on a Filipino Food Journey, I’ve asked myself many times why I haven’t cooked more Filipino dishes when I am capable of doing so. There are shallow reasons why and also sensible ones. Filipino cooking takes a lot of prep time.
Crying over Chayote Squash has made me realize that assimilating and adapting to life in the US has been my coping mechanism. It was simply easier to move on.
Mom always says, “East or West, home is best”. There is some truth to that, I think.
I miss home but for now though, a squash and a cook readying her kitchen for her favorite Filipino dish is all I need to ease my craving for home.
Here’s the happy ending to this story: Recipe for Stir-Fried Chayote Squash: Here