back from the dead

12 Sep

I can’t believe it’s been about a year and a half since Fritzie and I had posted. A lot has happened and I apologize for the neglect. To make a long story short, I finished and filed the dissertation, taught my last class at Berkeley as a graduate student, and then hopped on over to Phoenix to assume my new position as an academic lecturer. I work at that place the Sun Devils call home:)

I’ve decided to upkeep this blog a little better because this semester, I’m teaching a class on Asian Pacific American Literature. When I teach this course, I typically focus on a particular theme. This time around, we’re looking at food in APA lit. Wa-hoo! As part of the class, my students have to maintain a flood blog, where I give them various assignments that reflect the ways in which APAs have incorporated food in the literature we are reading. To honor my students and to sympathize with the work they have to do, I’ve decided to join them in their blogging assignments.

For this first assignment, I had asked them to create a post where they share a recipe, along with a story or memory around the recipe they have shared. (Since this is an upper division course, there are other things they are expected to do, but I won’t get into the details.) Here it goes….

shrimp.patties

I made this batch for an Easter celebration. It was the first time the Manpanion was going to meet my family. I figured if he entered the room holding these, they’d love him already:)

Chamorro Shrimp Patties

Yup. That’s right. These babies are a signature dish of mine. Because they’re a signature dish, I will never EVER reveal my secret recipe! (Well, at least not on this blog.) However, I did find this recipe online. While I don’t usually trust recipes, I will say that this one looks pretty legit! (I’m basing that on the reviews and how the ingredients and proportions measure up to my personal recipe.)

Growing up, shrimp patties were such a treat. While they were usually available at the various fiestas I went to, shrimp patties can sometimes be hit-or-miss. Some people over batter it. Others skimp out on the shrimp and use imitation crab meat instead. When I bite into the patties and find no shrimp, I feel disappointed. In short, not all shrimp patties are made the same.

It wasn’t until college that I started taking cooking seriously. For some reason, I felt this need to uphold the culinary traditions of my childhood. Since I was always unsatisfied with other people’s shrimp patties, I decided to embark on a quest to perfect  Chamorro Shrimp Patties.  It took a while to figure out which veggies worked best and what technique ensured they patties would stay round. However, I can confidently say that I have it down. My ultimate secret is love. Really. It is. I don’t make this dish very often because it’s pricey and time consuming. However, when the shrimp patties make an appearance, the family is always happy.

I try to make this at least once a year to celebrate the new year. In my family, a new year’s feast was to include as many round things as possible. Hence, why this is the treat of choice. When my cousin Ray visits, I make these just so he can feel at home. When the family first met the Manpanion, I made these for the Easter celebration. I figured that if he were holding these, they’d have no choice but to love him:) Since it seems they love him more than me, I’m convinced that my plan worked!

The last time I was on Guam was 2008. While there, I went to the ballpark where each week, there is collection of vendors selling food and goods. Naturally, I ordered a plate that had shrimp patties. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the over-doughed, under-shrimped, bland concoction.  Alas, ’tis the curse of perfecting the shrimp pattie.

Live deliciously,

-joanne

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