I was around seven or eight when my lola (grandmother) began showing me firsthand how to make her famous lumpia egg rolls. Even with little room to maneuver in the tiny kitchen of our one-bedroom flat, my lola, with unmatched precision and passion, had a unique way of making it feel as though we were preparing a gourmet feast for a royal family in the confines of their gawdy, oversized castle. She would spread the elements of her culinary creations throughout our home, placing jars, saucers, pans and buckets in any place she could find without comprising the sanitary nature of her meticulous preparation.
I never ceased to be amazed watching her work. She knew her way around a kitchen like no one else. After all, she had to. As the matriarch of her family, dozens of hungry mouthes depended on her culinary skills to satisfy their insatiable appetites.
If there’s one thing you can say about Filipinos, it’s we know how to eat! We may not have had much growing up, but we certainly made the best with what we were given. I think this bodes well for us in the long run. I mean, I’ve yet to meet a foreigner married to a Filipina or Filipino unhappy with his or her mate’s kitchen concunctions.
And, for that, we can thank lolas and lolos around the Philippines for instilling time-honored culinary traditions in their children and grandchildren. I know without my lola, I wouldn’t be able to bring any of you the wonderful egg rolls you have all come to know and love. Thank you, Lola!