Pamela K. Santos is a sometime writer, full-time KBOO community radio membership director, forever mom, and all-the-time radio host/producer who talks an inordinate amount about being from Queens, NY. She is always judging your food, but you can judge her food chronicled as #BombArchipelagoEats on IG @archipelagoeats, random tweets @pamelaksantos on Twitter and web home pamelaksantos.com.
One sentence to describe yourself and where you came from: I'm a Pinayorker, a transnational Filipina born in the Philippines and raised in Queens, the home of hip hop and immigrant wonderland.
What will you be presenting on? Food As Cultural Artifacts (or The Only Language of a Colonized People)
Best piece of advice you ever got about cooking: Season the shit out of it (implied by my lola and ancestors)
If you could only eat one meal forever, it would be: lumpia
Favorite food: Anything I've reclaimed from my Filipino heritage and made with my own hands. Which means anything that has a pork ingredient
Recommended reading: Memories of Philippine Kitchens, Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan. Life-changing. Unearthing the history of our food underneath layers of colonialism, trade routes, family history is a process, as I read their journey to write their cookbook. http://www.purpleyamnyc.com/book
Best meal(s): Too many.
1) The healing chicken arroz caldo and any soup I make for my son when he is sick, which are the same dishes I ate when I was little.
2) An intimate dinner home made for a feminist organization I was invited to (now AF3IRM). Whole chickens, succulent potatoes and veggies, with a side of critical analysis and awareness campaigns for women's rights, in a posh SoHo loft with less than a dozen like-minded, strong transnational women. Salo Salo popup dinner by Chef Yana Gilbuena who made kamayan (we eat with our hands) courses served on banana leaf covered tables. The experience of sharing this food with old and new friends was magical.
3) The first time I made crispy pata (which is a 2-day process) and oxtail kare kare, which my friend complimented was as good as this Philippine-based chain of restaurants.
4) The first Thanksgiving I hosted in Portland with a table of entrees and full stomachs all around.
5) All the "homecoming" meals when I use to fly back to the Philippines. My late grandfather used to roast a pig (lechon) when I'd come to Bulacan province, all the late night snacking in the palengke, the take-home boxes for the carry-on containing freshly made puto Biñan and other rice treats.
Food you’d like to try: Regional food from every island of the Philippines. Food from indigenous cultures in Asia that were on the same trade routes as the Philippines. Every dish by nouveau Fil-Am chefs in the Filipino Food Movement all over the world. Fresh toro straight from a sushi market in Japan.
Additional comments: The act of reclaiming implies that at one time it was not yours, not in your possession. I think I'm decolonizing while I am re-remembering what food legacy was always there. It's like remembering the feel of the blanket that was already keeping you warm.