In the mid 50’s Millie lived right next door to her siblings and their children who due to the close proximity were like siblings themselves. Each one jealous of the other.
Millie was the envy of her neighbors and relatives. She was married to a US Navy man and received dollar allotment whenever he was abroad. Allotment meant a portion of her husband’s salary was sent to her directly by the US government. She has two housemaids while other families had one or none. And she had an American kitchen in the middle of Pasay City. That means a four burner GE electric range and a tall two door Frigidaire refrigerator.
Millie’s husband came home for vacation once every two years or three. Each time he brought home a handy kitchen gadget from America. The first thing was the bread toaster. The family only had loaf (Millie called it pan-Americano) for occasions and still did not need toasting. They had fresh baked pandisal every morning from the corner store two doors away from theirs. Pandisal does not fit in the toaster. The toaster became a kitchen décor.
Next was a potato peeler. Before that thing arrived Mille peeled everything with a knife like most Filipinas. A lot of demonstrations went on that day. Millie’s husband peeled everything he could lay his hands on from the fridge for example green papaya, potato, singkamas, etc. The neighbors and family came to see about the marvelous new invention. Another reason to envy Millie.
|Ice Cream Maker|
After the peeler came the ice cream maker. It has a container that would churn the mixture of fruits, sugar and milk and create homemade ice cream. After her husband left for his naval station Millie put the ice cream maker in storage. It was too much trouble and expense when ice cream in the Philippines was brought to their door for 5 centavos a cone.
Next was an electric can opener. Millie’s husband demonstrated how to use the gadget. He opened all the can goods in the pantry, even those that had a key one used to roll off a slice of the tin can that separated the top like sardines and corned beef.
On another vacation, it was a pressure cooker. This time no one came. It wasn’t as magical as the potato peeler or electric can opener. Again Millie’s husband demonstrated how to use the pressure cooker. Making sure she understood perfectly that this thing could explode if not used correctly. He said there has been some burn casualties, people who unlocked the lid too soon or did not follow instructions carefully. Their daughter was watching the demonstration and got the message very clearly. The little girl grew up and never bought or used a pressure cooker in her life!
The Politics of Marriage