The first time I made lumpias was Thanksgiving, circa 2009.
I know, lumpia on Thanksgiving. But it felt like the right thing to do at the time and you know, you do what you gotta do, especially on Thanksgiving.
“I”m hungry, what do we have?” my husband asked the night before the big holiday
Luckily for him, I had been prepping the lumpias and fried a few of them up for him.
As I plated the rolls, I watched him eat as ambiguously as I could. It probably will seem a little weird, but whenever I cook something new, or serve something that I’ve never served to someone, I do this thing where I watch them eat as ambiguously as I can, only from a third person perspective it doesn’t look ambiguous.
“Why are you looking at me all weird?” my husband will ask when catching me staring.
“Is it good?” I’ll ask.
“Yea,” he’ll say.
There is a brief pause.
“But is it good? or like… goood goood? Like… do you want more?”
With the lumpias, there was no need to question whether or not my husband liked them; after eating the few that I made him, he requested for more. Since that Thanksgiving holiday, the lumpia has become my family’s go-to food, with batches kept in the freezer for those times when we want to eat them, which occurs fairly quite often. I’ve made them for friends to keep in their freezer, brought them to parties to eat, and have had such positive feedback as omg, this is hella bomb and Teach me how to make them!
While I have had positive feedback from a lot of people, there is one approval that I haven’t seem to have gotten: that is the approval from my fellow Filipino.
Countless times I have made them for my Filipino friends who have eaten them, but have never received the same dramatic approval as other people have given me ( like omg this is so good! omg I’m going to eat like 10) They’ll eat it, and then move on to the rice. Which makes me question, are my lumpias even authentically good?
I’ve been struggling with justifying this need for an authentic approval, trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter if they say nothing. I mean, there are kids that can’t even eat lumpias, and I’m worrying about whether they are legit. But who am I kidding? In the back of my mind, it does matter. I want to know if I’m doing something wrong from someone who knows what’s what. It’s like that one time in yoga class when the instructor was like your arms needs to be turned out with your elbows pressing against your body, palms up as if it touching the earth and you are one with your being. I appreciated that, Thank you yoga instructor.
Perhaps it is that – for Filipinos – a lumpia / Filipino food in general is an everyday thing that doesn’t require dramatic approval each time it is eaten; it is just a know fact that it’s good stuff. I mean, I myself don’t have foodgasms everytime i have a lumpa, so I shouldn’t expect everyone to have it. On the other hand, the first time I had a true Mexican taco? I tilted my head back and closed my eyes and was like.. yeessss!
I should just take it as approval enough that my lumpias are being eaten and not be too hard on myself. As long as people enjoy them and I enjoy them, that’s all that matters, right?