This Book Talks About Why The Act Of "Makisawsaw" In Food Issues Is Important

What does makisawsaw mean to you?

IMAGE Makisawsaw

For Pinoys, there are two definitions of "sawsaw". One meaning pertains to the act of dipping food in a mixture of sauces, herbs, and spices that make a flavorful dipping sauce, while the other meaning of sawsaw means "to take part, be present, and be proactive."  Makisasaw, a newly-launched book of recipes and anecdotes, combines these two definitions. Mabi David, one of the editors, introduces Makisawsaw as an "invitation to get involved, in this case, in issues surrounding our food."

There's no denying that politics also plays a huge role in food. This book actually came to be because of issues surrounding food manufacturers and the vitriol exchanged between the corporation and their factory workers. This issue sparked consumers to boycott the brands the corporation carried, as a way of standing by the factory workers. 

These voices offer their own perspectives, in the hopes that we can learn and be more responsible when it comes to the food we consume.


The essays and anecdotes of this book are from women from different walks of life. They talk about our unsustainable relationship with food and how it leads to the acceleration of climate change and chronic diseases, among many other problems. These voices offer their own perspectives, in the hopes that we can learn and be more responsible when it comes to the food we consume.

One of the things you can look forward to is perusing the recipes of Mabi David and Karla Rey, the duo behind Me and My Veg Mouth and the editors of Makisawsaw. Rey likes to call the recipes the "dirty dozen," as these recipes urge everyone to work from scratch as opposed to product-purchasing that is done out of sheer convenience. 

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Rey and David's dirty dozen includes how to make 100% plant-based recipes. There's the binurong kalamansi (pickled citrus fruit), sari-sari store teriyaki sauce, sari-sari store satay sauce, banana ketchup, MSG-free umami paste, cauliflower cream sauce, easy peasy pesto, easy Gen. Tso sauce, all-purpose sarsa, easy sayote kimchi, banana curry sauce, and the sneaky veggie choco sauce.


According to Rey, "We take this further by not only offering a dozen recipes of condiments to make but also dishes to make with them or pair them with." These dishes, accompanied by beautiful illustrations, range from siopao, Vietnamese-inspired nilaga, tofu and eggplant teriyaki buddha bowl, pancakes with chocolate sauce, and more. Rey adds that all of her recipes do not specifically require the use of ovens, food processors, blenders, or dehydrators, as there are alternatives that are less costly. 


An interesting tidbit about these plant-based recipes is that they mostly use local ingredients which can easily be sourced in wet supermarkets... but with the wildcard of adding one or two uncommon ingredients. These unusual ingredients are meant to promote the untapped, diverse produce we don't commonly encounter in supermarkets. 

Makisawsaw, as Rey reiterates, "its highlight is that there is a wide range of voices in the essays it includes. So hopefully, at least one will resonate with the reader. When it comes to the recipes, it is aware of its local context and wants to dispute the thinking that eating plant-based is out of reach."  While David says, "We don't want to give the impression that the recipes directly tackle the labor issues taken up in the book. We need a systemic change for that. If anything, the recipes allowed us to create a book that would call public attention to these issues." 

Photo by Makisawsaw

Makisawsaw (P290) is available at Popular Bookstore, 305 FLP Building, Tomas Morato Avenue; Bookay-Ukay Pilipinas, 55 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Quezon City; and Good Food Sundays, Mandala Park, Shaw Blvd, Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong City (every Sunday). You can also purchase directly from the publisher, Gantala Press.

For more information, follow Gantala Press on Instagram.


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