In the play, we’re given to understand that Kenny and Edith are Filipino, though their background isn’t a driving plot point in the storytelling. Rather, in the middle of the rural midwest in the 1990s, it’s another one of the ways in which Kenny and Edith aren’t part of the “mainstream.” It’s Benji who seems most interested in their background, reminding Kenny that “boondocks” is a word derived from the Philippines, and brought to America by US soldiers.
For Kenny and Edith, their background connects them most to their absent mother, primarily through Filipino comfort foods like chicken afritada (stewed in tomato sauce with carrots, peppers, and potatoes), mongo (a thick mung bean soup), sinangag (a vinegar-laced fried rice served at breakfast with eggs), and even spaghetti (which in Philippine preparation is dressed with a highly sweetened tomato sauce).
Filipino cuisine reflects the numerous ways other cultures have intersected and sometimes conquered this Pacific archipelago nation. Its flavors are Chinese, Japanese, Spanish (and Mexican), American, Italian, Malay, Indonesian, and many others as well. It relies on combinations of sweet, sour, and salty flavors, and features strong uses of vinegar, both as a flavoring agent and as a preservation technique.
At our first rehearsal for EDITH, the potluck featured chicken afritada, chicken adobo (not mentioned in the play), and sinangag. Here are some of our favorite recipes (click the pix for links)!