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When I was a kid, my mom was constantly on the move, whether it was hustling to her overnight shifts at the hospital as a nurse, taking my sister and me to our ballet lessons, or helping my grandmother around the house. And she always made sure we were well-fed. My dad, younger sister, and I had three full meals every day with multiple snacks in between.
Dinner was the most generous meal of the day. Food was served family-style (which is customary in Filipino culture) and everyone helped themselves to steaming hot bowls of chicken adobo, platters of slippery noodles known as pancit, fried lumpia shanghai (egg rolls), and plenty of white rice. Any empty space on the table was taken up by small bowls of cane vinegar, fish sauce, and bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) — collectively known as sawsawan — which are used to season the food to one’s individual taste. Now that I have two young kids of my own, I’m both flabbergasted by and extremely grateful for the fact that my mom was able to create such feasts for us every single night!
Even though dinner was always fantastic, I looked forward to our big weekend breakfast the most. Whether it was Saturday or Sunday, my mom pulled out all the stops. There would be white rice, garlic fried rice, two platters of eggs (one scrambled and one fried), corned beef hash, toasted and buttered pandesal (a popular Filipino bread), longanisa (Filipino pork sausage) or tocino (sweet cured pork), and Spam hash — the crowning jewel — which was, and continues to be, my favorite dish of the bunch.
Tender cubes of Spam and potatoes coated in scrambled eggs might not sound like much, but in our house, it was a big deal. On those mornings, it was all my sister and I would eat. We’d stuff it into a warm pandesal or drizzle it with ketchup and eat it straight-up. Then later that day, my mom would sandwich leftovers between two slices of Wonder bread and call it lunch — I loved it so much. Now, years later, when I bring my family to visit my parents, my mom just knows to make Spam hash for us (it’s my husband’s favorite, too).
Making spam hash is easy, and it comes together in one skillet (which is a dream come true for most moms — myself included). All you need is a can of Spam, two red potatoes, five eggs, some vegetable oil, and a bit of ground black pepper. Dice the spam and peeled potatoes into small cubes and whisk the eggs with black pepper in a bowl. You’ll cook up the Spam first, then the potatoes, combine the two together in the skillet, and pour the eggs over the top. Stir until the eggs are just cooked then pile it into a large bowl. I could eat the whole thing all by myself, but I’m nice enough to leave some behind for my family to enjoy as well.