adobo which we called “do-bo”
was the other Filipino dish
used to mix up our Sunday routine
of roast pork or beef with mashed potatoes
usually a pork adobo cubed from a pork roast
perhaps a last-minute decision
substitute rice for potatoes
cook the pork into a vinegary stew
sometimes mixed with chicken
but only after chicken was sold without bones
most of the ingredients of a cookbook recipe
meat vinegar soy sauce garlic bay leaf black peppercorns and sometimes ginger
a bag of crab boil with coriander and mustard seeds whole
all spice cayenne and dill released into the pot
so the spice berries and seeds cooked into the sauce
you couldn’t identify them
until an intense burst of flavor
disrupted the fragile balance of salt and tang
too much for my young palate
not sure who determined adobo
needed Louisiana ingredients
now we use Lola’s recipe with the sweet
addition of a spoon or two of cane sugar
to adjust for the creativity of our cooks
and the variety of our vinegars

“Do-bo” as it appeared in Settling St. Malo. A version appeared in The Philippine Star, 28 July 2022, and The Ultimate Filipino Adobo: Stories Through the Ages, Claude Tayag, Foreign Service Institute, 2022, 150.