The CHEFS Who Inspire Us | Celebrating Mom
Behind Every Great Chef, Is an Even Greater Mom
This post was written by CHEFS Vice President of Creative, Megan Curameng. For Megan's Lola Mamie's Lumpia Recipe, click here.
Like many families, the Mondragon-Curameng household is centered around the kitchen. My mom is an amazing cook – always has been. Growing up I was always trying to find ways to help my mom in the kitchen – and even cried when she said,“It’s ok Anak, I don’t need any help” (Anak is Tagalog for Child). I graduated from being on Rice-Making duty (which literally consisted of putting rice and water in the rice maker and pressing “cook”) to the more serious stuff like Apritada and Adobo (traditional Filipino dishes) and even other non-Filipino dishes like Lasagna. I know that one threw a lot of people off – my Filipino Mom throwing down a mean Lasagna! Who knew?!
I eventually learned the more intimidating Filipino dishes as well – Pancit (recipe coming soon!) but the one recipe that ALWAYS intimidated me was Lumpia. Lumpia is the traditional Filipino Eggroll and can be made in a few different ways. And it is cliché for everyone to say – “My Mom makes the best Lumpia”. Well – MY MOM MAKES THE BEST LUMPIA!! :)
Cooking is a very important way my Mom shows love not only for her family but for everyone that comes into the house. We always have Lumpia in the freezer for those surprise guests because the first thing you will hear when you walk into her house is, “Did you eat??”
At our family parties, my Mom would prepare dozens and dozens of Lumpia, and they would barely make it to the buffet table. Even to this day, I see my nieces and nephews anxiously wait for their Lumpia to cool down before they take their first big bite. Their Lola (Grandma) Mamie makes the best Lumpia!
I have always been so scared to try to make it – mostly because I did not want to know that I was a failure and awful at making Lumpia! But last Christmas I faced my fear and asked my Mom to go step by step with me to make Lola Mamie’s Lumpia. And – SURPRISE – it didn’t go terribly and it was not as hard as I thought!
A Few Tips:
Lumpia is a Labor of Love
I did my best to write down the recipe as my Mom cooked, but Lumpia is all about preference! As I watched my family grow with the additions of my sibling’s families – a whole range of dietary preferences, allergies and restrictions have been introduced. But my Mom – being so loving and amazing – tries to accommodate everyone that she can. Now at family parties, we have several versions of Lumpia – from vegetarian to allergy friendly. My Mom definitely takes that extra step to make sure that everyone can enjoy these delicious Golden Bars (as some family members call it) – so you can too! Experiment and see what variation works best for you and your family.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to rolling Lumpia. The more you do it the better you get at it. For years I was on wrapper separation duty – which, trust me is a study in patience all on its own, but I am starting to be more confident in my rolling skills. My Mom can still pick out the ones that I rolled – usually they are too fat, or too soft, or too long. But I will get there!
Ready to make homemade Lumpia? Here's the recipe!
My mom is my hero and my role model. She is so selfless and giving. In her retirement, along with my Dad, she spends her time raising money for those in need and planning Medical Missions in the Philippines bringing health care to those that can’t afford it. In everything she does, my mom always asks how she can give to others first before she asks anything for herself.
Mom – Thank you for being my perfect example of who a person should be. You are so full of compassion, grace, and love. When I grow up – I want to be just like you. I love you - halinsa tiil asta sa ulo. (“from head to toe” in Ilongo, my Mom’s dialect)