Take note, however, that while none of the pieces are actually about food, as pointed out by the book's subtitle, An Anthology of Essays on the Filipino-American Experience and Some, they do cover a wide spread of subject matter that Garcia has laid out for consumption: Filipino American (and a few Filipino) personalities, sports, politics, cinema, and word etymologies, among others.
Garcia brings together some of his previously published and some new works. He prologues them with an introductory essay of his personal background, about how life threw him some lemons about a decade ago and how turning them into lemonade led him to writing.
He then liberally garnishes all of the pieces with annotations, post scripts, and not a few biting, hilarious comments, which lends the collection the flavor of a journal or personal blog.
The book's title alludes to the cultural leanings of Garcia's genetic make-up, upbringing and predilections. Adobo for the Philippines, where he was born and raised; apple pie for the American influence in both the milieu that percolated his youth and the country where he eventually immigrated to; and schnitzel (with noodles), for the continent that spawned his Spanish forebears and several of his passions such as the Olympics and a film set in Austria.
The collection is anchored by Garcia's penchant for seeking out obscure but curious individuals or incidents. He's sniffed out the stories of characters who are unique or eccentric or both: a schoolteacher who smuggled items for the army during World War II in Manila, an educator with a master's degree from Harvard who became a basket weaver in Nantucket, conjoined twins exhibited in Coney Island in the 1910s and then adopted by a Filipino diplomat, a caregiver in New York who received gifts from her employer worth millions of dollars, just to list a few.
The stories are then assembled with his passion for trivia. He forages for the information ingredients and bakes them into articles that are served brimming with data. He ladles out his works with a breezy writing style and a conversational tone.
The inspiration for his book's title becomes apparent in the latter section when Garcia collects pieces on the earlier iconic works of actress Julie Andrews, namely, "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music." These are not the usual Hollywood-entertainment news reports, but genesis accounts of these films.
Readers also get a taste of Garcia's interests for the topics he's tackled in-depth in his previous books Secrets of the Olympic Ceremonies (which has second edition released last year) and Thirty Years Later … Catching Up with the Marcos-Era Crimes (also published last year). There are pieces about Filipino American athletes as well as follow-up notes, as they were, on issues related to the Marcos family.
The young once will appreciate Garcia's pieces recalling memories of Manila in the 1950s and '60s. The young ones in the household can ask the young once about the references (personalities and places) Garcia makes that they may not get or want to know more about.
In the same way that there are no (or shouldn't be any) sequential rules for partaking a buffet, the book can be read in any order the reader wishes. The book can also be swallowed in one go or chewed in tidbits. There's a bit of everything for all appetites.
Of Adobo, Apple Pie, and Schnitzel with Noodles: An Anthology of Essays on the Filipino-American Experience and Some is available on Amazon.com.
Walter Ang writes about Filipino American theater and has worked in marketing communications and online publishing. He's also interested in astrology and yoga.