Ready To (Corned) Beef

I am privileged to have eaten at some of the best restaurants on the island. I don’t profess to be a food connoisseur, but I know what tastes good and certainly am not a food snob.

I don’t know if I fall into a category, but if I eat something I like, that’s all I’ll eat until I’m sick of it. My wife shakes her head about that one, as she can’t understand how I can eat the same thing several days in a row. If it’s a sickness, then I’ve got it bad.

The other month, I was having dinner at a top-end restaurant that was serving totally gourmet fare. Some of my work colleagues were there, and one of the women brought up the subject of our favorite comfort foods. So as we ate food garnished with the likes of truffles and exotic ingredients, several confessions came out. One of them was that after a night of drinking, nothing tastes better than a cheap taco from Jack In The Box. Nearly all of the women at the table agreed. Then one of the women asked if I liked corned beef from a can. “Absolutely,” I said. To which she claimed that a brand that can only be purchased in the Philippines was the best she ever had. The next day she brought a can to work for me, her last one. It was a generic-looking can with a white label. The brand was Delimondo.

It was corned beef in garlic and chili sauce. I took it home, fried it up with string beans and ate the best meal I ever had. I then realized that I had no more Delimondo. I’m fairly connected with the Filipino community, but my search produced zilch. I had to ask a friend, who was taking a trip home to the Philippines, to bring me back some cans. It was a long wait, but she did.

I had six precious cans to myself, and I decided I would make them last as long as I could. I even hid them in the very back of our pantry. All I could think of that day was eating my Delimondo corned beef. But when I got home, all my cans were gone. I was a madman until my wife explained that she took them for a food-collection drive. Knowing that, if I had a case, I would have donated all of it. But I couldn’t help thinking about how bad I wanted that corned beef. It’s my own fault, really. I should have kept the cans in my bank safety deposit box – with my collectable Hawaii edition cans of SPAM.