When we watched the October preview show of “Allegiance” the Broadway musical at the Longacre Theatre in New York City, I was reminded of my mom and her stories from World War II. War stories are never light-hearted. Watching the first act of Allegiance had me teary eyed instantly. Just going through the family’s first scene, a happy picnic, one had a sense of foreboding that something sad was about to transpire.
The broadway musical “Allegiance” is every family’s story. It was about a family during the war – their joys, tears, challenges, sacrifices and the choices they each made. In the end, like most families encounter, beyond courage and strength, forgiveness was needed for love to prevail.
Multi-awarded Filipina Ms. Lea Salonga was phenomenal as an actress, singer and performer. Once in a rare while, the universe gets a gift as wonderful as this award-winning talent. Lea’s singing was mesmerizing. No Broadway show review can capture how exceptional Lea is. Lea played the role of Kei in this play.
Actor George Takei was both funny and moving. The actors portrayed characters in a war setting, imprisoned in a concentration camp. The acting was done so well, especially Ms. Salonga, that you forget it’s a Broadway play. You, the audience were made to feel you were right there with the characters sharing their pain, frustration, joys and tears. We all learned, in the most difficult times, there is always “gaman”.
In the playbill, the authors described “gaman” as endurance with dignity. Throughout the story, the characters were reminded that “gaman” was all that was needed to survive.
When we got home I just had to cook this Salza Blanca, salmon in white sauce, a mainstay at my mom’s dinner table, one she cooked often. The tender, moist salmon fillet was simmered in a savory white sauce that started with flour and butter. A mixture of both flour and butter make a white sauce and a thicker gravy. Later, the vegetables were added around the stockpot making the soup meal look like a festive garland.
When I took off the stockpot’s cover to check on the fish, the hot vapors from the steam with the gingery aromas gently touched my cheeks. The savory scent of the ginger-garlic-onions sauce base combined with a tad of butter reminded me of my mom. The aromas reminded me of the calm, soothing presence of mom at the end of each day when we got home from school. The simplicity of the soup meal brought out the superb flavors of a fresh ‘catch of the day’ salmon fillet.
A play like “Allegiance”, based on a true story of George Takei made me nostalgic for mom’s cooking, for her war stories – never mind if the stories of my uncle at incarceration camps were depressing – they were mom’s and our family’s stories and no one else could own those poignant memories but me. Allegiance taught me that though life brings you sadness, such events pave the way for happier times, when peace prevails. And the best antidote to all we go through in life is forgiveness and love.
Salza Blanca - Salmon in White Sauce
- 1 pound boneless salmon fillet
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 large pieces quartered tomatoes
- 2 cloves peeled, minced garlic
- 1 large sliced onion
- 2 stalks chopped celery
- 1 piece seeded, white membrane removed, sliced green or red bell pepper
- 1 Tablespoon butter unsalted
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
- 5 to 6 cups organic vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons white wine
- 2 large peeled, quartered potatoes
- 2 cups stems trimmed, cut in 2-inch long pieces green beans
- 2 cups shredded bok choy or Chinese cabbage or any cabbage preferred
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sliced in slivers of 1-inch pieces fresh ginger
- Marinate fish fillets with lemon juice about 20 minutes before cooking.
- In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the butter and allow to melt.
- Saute the garlic, ginger and onions. Then add the celery, tomatoes and green pepper slices.
- Add the flour and mix around the vegetables till everything is coated. Slowly add the broth, a little at a time, while blending the liquid in till there is no more trace of flour. Use a large cooking spoon to blend the flour into the liquid till there are no more lumps. Add the potatoes and the rest of the broth.
- Into the simmering broth, add the salmon fillet and wine. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for about 18 to 20 minutes more till fish is cooked thoroughly and potatoes are soft.
- When the fish is cooked, add the bok choy. It will take about 5 minutes for the bok choy to soften.
- Cook's comments: Use "lapu-lapu" (red snapper) or any type of fish fillet preferred. Try to cook the fish the day it is bought from the market for the best flavor.
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