Cooking Connections

Photo of Bettina Makalintal opening a bag of rice as part of a cooking demonstration

Photo by Shannon O’Brien

Photo by Shannon O’Brien

Last fall, the Camilla Chandler Frost ’47 Center for the Environment hosted food and culture writer Bettina Makalintal ’14 for a conversation about food writing and a cooking demonstration in the Science Complex’s Andrea Levitt ’71 Food Sciences Laboratory. Makalintal, who was an associate editor at Bon Appétit and a staff writer at Vice’s Munchies, is a writer for Eater.

She prepared Filipino adobo, a dish she learned to love after she began experimenting with tofu and other alternatives to the pork or chicken her parents had added during her childhood. “As I began to cook Filipino food on my own, I really focused on plant-based cooking,” she said. The dish also connects to her heritage. “For me, vegetarian adobo represents how I like to think about Filipino food in my life. I can take dishes that remind me of my family and where we came from, but I can adapt them to my own palate, preferences, and values.”

As a student at Wellesley, Makalintal designed an independent study focusing on Asian American immigration and food. “We explored how food culture is produced and performed in the Asian American community, as well as the social, political, and economic contexts that created modern Filipino food culture in the United States,” she said. “It helped me realize that food writing—and particularly food writing that considered immigration and identity—was a viable field.”

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Alice Christian
I love this! As a vegetarian, I often feel that really yummy and “authentic “ food experiences are off my plate. Thank you, Bettina, for showing me that’s not the case. But also I love how you have forged a path through.

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