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Maybe you're still suffering from a Thanksgiving feast hangover or swimming in savory leftovers. If you have any roast pork lying around, try spicing it up Filipino-style with Lola Manay's Paksiw Lechon recipe (and by now, you know that "Lola" means "grandma," right?). My friend and fellow video journalist, Cat Sandoval, whose work you may have seen on NBC News' stereotype-breaking "Take Back" series, shared this recipe with us. It comes from her 85-year-old Lola Manay a.k.a. Romana de Vera of the famous Romana Peanut Brittle company founded in the Philippines in 1958. 

Below is Cooking with Granny's story/recipe pairing from the Peanut Brittle Queen of the Philippines, as told by her granddaughter, Cat Sandoval.

CWG: How did the peanut brittle business all start?

Cat Sandoval: [My other grandma went to a cooking class], where she learned to cook peanut brittle, and she taught Lola Manay. She tweaked it, and decided that since she has 10 kids, she would bring it out for Christmas one day. People started requesting it more and more, and she thought, "Hey, this is a great way to start a business." My grandpa supported her as well. The business started very small through word of mouth and then became huge. It's still in the small town of Mangaldan, and people in the town all know about it. It became an amazing way for her to feed her 10 kids.

CWG: Your grandma's this famous businesswoman. How do you feel about that?

CS: She is this amazing, strong, powerful woman, and she's very classy in the way she dresses. I'm always surprised at how strong she is. Filipina women are strong, strong women. We say what we mean, and that encompasses who my grandma is. She's amazing. Everything she has accomplished as a woman just boggles my mind. It was a time when women didn't have a say. She just plowed though it. Her name's on the bottle... And sometimes, I'll go to a regular supermarket in the Philippines, and boom, I see my grandma's name. Wow. I'm super proud.

More interview snippets below...

CS: This is my grandma in the middle wearing red. She is surrounded by her 10 children and their grandchildren. I'm the one with pudgy cheeks on the second row to the far right. [My mom's] holding me and my brother. My dad's on the very right.... There was a documentary about my grandma. [And in Tagalog, she says,] "I wish this peanut brittle thing goes on forever because it's something I want to pass down to my grandkids, and even further on down the line. For her and my grandpa, it's their gift to the family in a way... The company has been passed down to the next of kin, which is my mom and her siblings.
CS: This is Lola with all her granddaughters. I'm on the far right... I grew up running around in her garden, or walking to the factory, and seeing people work... The best part was getting it fresh. It's still a little gooey and warm... I would sneak in and grab a whole bunch, of course.
CS: Three generations: my grandma, me and my mom... A recent fun memory of [my grandma] was when she was here a few months ago to visit. She quietly said "Alexa, play some music." Yes, my grandma is high tech! The Amazon Echo started playing some ballroom dancing music and she was bopping to the music while cooking. It was such a wonderful sight to see! I was, of course, in charge of chopping.

CWG: Do you know the peanut brittle recipe?

CS: I know portions of it. Not the whole trade secret. 

So the peanut brittle recipe remains top-secret, but this is one of Cat's favorite comfort foods cooked by her Boss Lady Lola:

Lola Manay's Lechon Paksiw 
Lechon is a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal. Paksiw refers to simmering in vinegar.

1 lb of cooked lechon (or cut up roasted pork)
1/2 cup of Mang Thomas or 1/2 can of liver spread
1/2 cup of Datung Puti Filipino vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tbsp of salt* 
1/2 tbsp of ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped 
1 medium size onion chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves 
Olive Oil just enough to sauté the garlic and onions

*Tailor the sugar and salt to your preference. The taste should be a balance of sour, salty, and sweet. 

In a large pot, sauté garlic and onions. Stir in the pork. And then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low heat until the meat is tender. Enjoy with white rice. Paksiw also gets tastier as the days go by. 
Affiliate links included here.
 
Hope this inspires some Thanksgiving leftover magic! Have a wonderful, warm weekend with your families! And stay tuned for some exciting new developments!
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