Boodle Fight

Early Spring I had a Filipino friend who came over to the house for a visit and so I thought we would do a “boodle fight” lunch.

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Boodle fight is a word used in the Philippine Military to refer to mess hall banquet where all the food are piled into one big tray in each table. Sometimes they use banana leaves if no tray is available or sometimes even old newspapers. The soldiers eat from the same tray with bare hands as symbol of camaraderie. It is sort of a “fight” since you have to grab and eat as much as you can while everyone else is gorging away at the same time. There is a jug of water to use for washing hands before and after eating.

And so for this lunch, here’s how I setup my “boodle fight” table:

First, I had to find banana leaves in an Asian grocery store and I didn’t know how banana leaves are shipped and sold here in the United States. I went to two stores in Madison and both stores were out of stock. I was told to try to find it at Woodman’s and so I went. I asked one of the clerks if they have banana leaves and funny the guy said he didn’t even know how banana leaves look like; but he said to try the Asian aisle. And I found it! It was in the freezer and it was shipped from the Philippines. I was like, well hello my brother or sister (if leaves have gender or what not).

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These banana leaves were packed in plastic and shipped frozen. I was skeptical when I opened the package thinking the leaves are already freezer-burnt; I was wrong. When the leaves thawed they were as green as when they were cut from the tree, unbelievable. I laid down the leaves to cover the top of the table. Wiped the leaves surface with clean rag soaked in vinegar to clean and sterilize the surface. Then I rubbed vegetable oil on top for the shiny look. I used 2 packages to cover the entire table.

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Next thing I should have done was to put plastic saran wrap or newspaper over my table before I laid down the banana leaves then I would have avoided food grease or smear from getting onto the table; lesson learned.

Then that’s it! My boodle fight table was all setup. All I had to do is cook all the food and lay them down on the banana leaves. I got everybody around the table and we started chowing!

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Thank you for reading and happy cooking!
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