Dining with Tina

My Bestie Said She Does Not Cook!

“You can easily identify someone who knows how to cook by the way he/she deals with food,” I once said to a bestie who claims that she has no idea what to do in the kitchen, except wash the dishes. She does not cook, she claims.  I did not believe her.  She insisted that she does not (know how to) cook, and I counter-insisted with what I (want to) believe.

The way my bestie is

One, she’s picky with her choice of food when we dine out, fancying the smallest of ingredients, while saying “I don’t like this… I like that…” while she scans through them as if playing “he loves me, he loves me not” with the petals of a flower similar to what we do when we were kids. Two, she stares at the dish when it is delivered on the table and declares from its aroma and presentation whether she is going to enjoy it or not.  “Too oily,” “smells kind of rotten,” “wow, nice, let’s attack,” “oh, I like this, do you smell the (name an ingredient)!” 

Then she spends a lifetime and a half eating as if the world waits for us.  For me, she is playing with her fork and the grains of rice!  Or counting the calories of her food before they get to her taste buds. It is usual for me to finish my meal while she is halfway with her first serving… and I do seconds, sometimes thirds.

Proof versus gutfeel if bestie knows how to cook

Her kitchen is clean as the rest of the house, true to her claim that she does not cook. That becomes undeniable. Cooking makes us leave marks of tiny grimes, no matter how we clean up; it is just something that is too hard to eliminate or hide. However, I still argued that there is a difference between someone who does not cook and does not know how to cook.  This post is going to prove me right!

My friend’s name, by the way, is Tina. We work in the same organization, but different departments. We are a building away from each other. We have things in common, but we are different in many, many ways. The most pronounced thing we have in common:  we care!  If I were to define her and me with those two words, this post is going to go somewhere else. Alright, we can move on.

Does it have to be Covid19?

Covid19! Admit it or not, Covid19 has done something good to the human race, more individually than collectively.  Social distancing sucks that we learn to live with ourselves and/or our family 24 hours a day for more than a year now.  Did it bring out the best in you? Did you realize qualities you did not know you have?  Did you know yourself more than you ever did? Yes to all 3 for me.

Here comes Tina, my bestie

She is called “Tina, the Filipina” by a few of our colleagues because there used to be two Tinas in their department; the other was British, who had resigned. 

Going back to Tina, yes, the Filipina, she sends me a photo of a dish she just cooked and said that it was going to be her dinner that night. That was less than a week after she started working from home because of Covid19.

“Whoaa, bestie, you are cooking!”

She admitted that she does only in emergency cases.  I dug as I could not recall any emergency situation in the past that was similar to Covid19.  She said “when the restaurants are closed during the months of Ramadan!”

I guffawed!

Tina continued to do that every now and then – cook and send me photos.  I begged her to send me more!  We are about 35kms away from each other, that is why I can only beg for photos. And the photos kept coming!

Tell me who is right?  Let me show you here what she cooked, then you decide. However, I am afraid I cannot avoid influencing you just now: from the photos alone, sans the aroma, she is… whatever she is – a good cook.

My bestie Tina, the Filipina, knows how to cook and she is a good one.

Below are her dishes, so far, and she is generous enough to share her recipes with us.

But before that, though, allow me to share with you my little fear: by the time we see each other again, after the restrictions of Covid19, she would not be cooking anymore.  How do I get to taste her cooking?  I cook them?  With her recipes here? Oooohh, what about that special touch? *Tsk*

Enjoy My Bestie’s Recipes…

Eggplant Omelet
Tina’s Tortang Talong
Filipino Spaghetti - Tina
Tina’s Filipino Spaghetti


Chicken Nuggets Fried Rice
Tina’s Fried Rice With Leftover Chicken Nuggets
Buttered Garlic Shrimps
Tina’s Buttered Garlic Shrimps
Chicken Arroz Caldo
Tina’s Chicken Arroz Caldo
Buttered Salmon in Garlic and Lemon
Tina’s Buttered Salmon in Garlic and Lemon
Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Soup
Tina’s Creamy Pasta and Vegetable Soup
Chicken Tinola
Tina’s Chicken Tinola



  1. Sabi ng ni prrd “stay at home and explore your house, baka may iba pa kayong di napupuntahan..” and for tita tina, it’s the kitchen she has found..

    This pandemic really brings out the best in us na hindi pa natin masyado naeexplore… Happy to know that tita has found her knew talent which is cooking… 😍

    The food looks yummy.. Di na pedeng sabihing pang kanya lang.. Next time we’ll visit her, sya na paglulutuin namin.. Hahaha..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *