Sand in my pockets. In between my toes. On my legs and my knees, clinging like fine sugar.
My fingers wrinkled. My skin stinging from the sun.
I barely remember that summer. I remember glimpses of it here and there but a proper picture escapes me. I remember watermelons sliced into thick wedges that look like paper boats. I remember painstakingly picking their slippery seeds — one by one — using the tines of a fork, and believing watermelons can grow inside of me if I swallow their seeds.
I remember charcoal crackling and popping. Small sparks flying. Smoke billowing up. I remember a fire for grilling, for inihaw [ih-nee-how]. Steadfast strokes of an abaniko stirring up the flame.
I remember charred whole fish and a mountain of chopped green mangoes, tomatoes, and shallots. I remember thick cuts of pork, as ruddy as my skin. Their bones burned black like charcoal. I remember the taste of garlic. The bite of vinegar.
I remember picnic tables. Coconut trees. The orange sky at the end of the day.
Everything else is a blur. Only these I remember. Only these remain.
Inihaw na Baboy Recipe
4 bone-in pork chops, about two pounds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Marinate pork chops in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and black pepper in a sealed container or ziploc bag in the refrigerator overnight.
Before grilling let pork chops rest at room temperature for over an hour. Grill over medium heat until cooked, about 8 minutes each side. The pork chops are cooked when their internal temperature is about 150 degrees F for medium. The chops should feel springy but not firm.
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