Filipinos have different ways of celebrating Independence Day, some would reconnect with history and remind themselves of the value of freedom, there are those who go on protest march or rallies, while others are simply apathetic. The restaurant and food industry also offers an appetizing way to celebrate Independence Day in the form of special menus and promos. Of course, there are foodies who plan to enjoy this day with the freedom to choose dishes to cook or restaurant promos to avail of. This particular foodie chose to enjoy the Tinolang Manok which was a symbolic dish in Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere.
The Tinolang Manok is featured in the third chapter of Noli Me Tangere when Capitan Tiago hosted a dinner for the protagonist Crisosotomo Ibarra. Tinola was a favorite dish of Ibarra who just came home from a lengthy trip in Europe. As such, the host decided to serve it for dinner with Ibarra getting the choice cuts or the meatier parts. Padre Damaso a Dominican Friar who is also a guest for the dinner, got the neck and the wings or the bonier parts and made a fuss out of it. Ibarra was humiliated and chose to be excused from dinner. During Rizal’s time, the chicken part that is served to the guests is also a reflection of stature or importance. The meatiest part goes to the guest of honor and the boniest ones to the least important ones. Thus, a bony chicken part served to a friar can easily ruin a good dinner feast.
Nowadays, chicken breasts are still considered as choice cuts but they aren’t necessarily the chosen chicken part of the most important person in the dining table. The chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks also have their own fans. Little kids often prefer the drumstick over the breast while the chicken wings are served as hors d’oeuvres in cocktails. The Chicken Wings Tinola that we served for dinner is a celebration of the freedom from petty bias and discrimination that was prevalent during Rizal’s time.