‘Standardizing’ adobo: Diversionary ploy? | Inquirer Opinion
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‘Standardizing’ adobo: Diversionary ploy?

How do you standardize the cooking of a popular Filipino dish like adobo? Is it even possible? And when we say we follow a “standard” way of cooking it, would it be considered the “best” way of cooking adobo? Or would it ensure the “best tasting” adobo if we follow such standards?

Developing standards for quality control of manufacturing products will certainly protect the interests of the consumer as these will become the gauge of measuring value for money. This is also to ensure that manufacturers become more conscious of their responsibility to be truthful to their consumers in order to nurture their trust.

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But there are countless ways of cooking dishes, especially the popular adobo. There are as many versions of it as there are Filipinos or non-Filipinos alike who cook it in their own creative and innovative ways. While it is true that cooking dishes has basic guidelines to follow, regional and individual

differences among cooks are a reality as well. What is best tasting for one family may not be the case for another, and so on. Even judges in reality cooking shows look for innovation and creativity in culinary practices. Standardizing how to cook a certain dish is highlighting its repetitive nature, making cooking a source of boredom and drudgery. Standardizing in this sense is like mainstreaming, or following “normal” procedures. But this raises the question: Whose “stream” is considered the “main” or the “norm”? Extending this metaphor, what happens to the small streams and brooks from minority populations that have their own ways of cooking adobo? Will there be sanctions for those who choose not to follow such “mainstream” standards?

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The announcement from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on standardizing adobo therefore can become more of a political issue rather than a culinary one. Especially at this politically riven time in our recent history, when politicians, notably the incumbent ones, are plotting ways and means to perpetuate themselves in power.

Those who have concocted this weird idea of standardizing popular Filipino dishes seem to have a lot of time on their hands. But perhaps they have nothing in between their ears, or are they just being the typical sycophants of their great lord in Malacañang?

In this time of the pandemic, ordinary people like daily wage earners have limited options for livelihood and keeping themselves afloat financially speaking. Yet our officials at DTI are keeping themselves busy with something that can best be left to the ordinary citizen, that is to cook adobo in their own way to satisfy their palates, and not to follow “national standards.”

Our DTI officials should instead be thinking of things that are of pivotal importance for countless millions who are still bereft of stable livelihoods due to health and mobility restrictions. For starters, they can come up with creative ideas to promote innovative enterprises that can be profitable in this time of restricted mobility. Or they can think of sustainable livelihood programs for the multitude of daily wage earners. Alternatively, they can also create a better business climate to attract investments in innovative industries that will benefit the poorest of the poor.

Our DTI officials need to be innovatively strategic to think of programs that go beyond dole-outs and other acts of charity. Unfortunately, the latter can be used to promote the popularity of those desiring to become future elected officials, or to perpetuate those already in positions of political power.

Standardizing adobo is neither strategic, nor innovative. It is just one of the many political ploys to divert people’s attention from President Duterte’s desire to perpetuate himself in power after 2022.

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TAGS: adobo standardization, diversionary tactic, DTI, Kris-Crossing Mindanao, Rufa Cagoco-Guiam
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