This post has two titles for two very distinct reasons.
The story begins way back at my cake decorating classes where one of my classmates was Marie, a Filipina. We didn't talk much, but after class she saw on my blog that I was half Filipina (she hadn't even guessed) and that I grew up in Saudi Arabia. She then emailed me to tell me she'd be happy to feed me (food adoption!) and that she had lived in Saudi also. She, in fact, had met her husband there and he worked for ARAMCO. Wow! I'm an ARAMCO Brat! Small world! So she invited me over for dinner.
Marie has a very beautiful home and yards in South Sacramento. I met her husband, Brian, and daughter and some of her coworkers. And, happily, she had prepared a Filipino feast. There was barbecued pork skewers, lumpia, and pancit noodles. This is homemade Filipino food - the good stuff! There was also cassava cake, flan, and halo halo.
We all talked about life in Saudi. My family was there from 1970-1987. Brian was there in the mid 1990's. Brian was way out in the oil fields. Marie was a nurse at a hospital in Yanbu, an export point, and my dad worked at the Saudi headquarters in Dhahran. Three very different experiences there.
My mother's favorite dessert was a Filipino classic, halo halo. Basically it is shaved ice, milk (evaporated or coconut usually), and then a bunch of things like tapioca pearls, sweet beans, fruit, flan, and then topped with ice cream. It is as varied as the people who make it. Here Marie is making it with some of these ingredients...
The ingredients are layered like a parfait and then mixed up before eating. Here Marie has already mixed hers up, so it looks like a purple milkshake.
Marie was a wonderful host and sent me off with a bag of frozen lumpia and the promise of future invitations. I told her next time I want some cooking lessons. Until then, I have some lumpia to tide me over!