Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Say Yes to Pianono!

Today myMEGusta is musing on the Philippines.pianono charity

But before we talk about food, take a moment to think about helping those in need there after this month’s deadly typhoon.  A few of the many ways you can help is via organizations such as Save the Children ( , Doctors Without Borders (, or a charity of your choice. And watch for special fundraisers in your area.

One cannot think of this nation of isles without thinking of the ocean, which brings both the sustenance of seafood and the risks we saw so recently, but also brings an important source of employment to many hard working Philippine people: Cruise ships.

Perhaps I have just been lucky, but all of the sailings I have been on in a decade have been staffed on the “hotel” side by Filipinos, often married couples in which one partner keeps our cabins so sparkly fresh and the other is providing gracious, friendly service in the restaurant or in the kitchen or bar, or perhaps running the front desk or wearing an officer’s stripes on the bridge.



Pianono in the Making

Pianono in the Making

And, once in a while, the passengers get a special Filipino treat when the cooks let us have a glimpse into the world of staff meals.

One such occasion was in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, a gorgeous day sailing on the open water, enjoying a buffet on deck.  In addition to the usual spread of (really good) desserts was a giant jelly roll, looking more homemade than most of its companions on the spread.

This little beauty was a Pianono, the traditional Filipino cake roll which is a staple of many homemakers and real comfort food, the filling being like any other family food, either the cook’s whim, grandma’s recipe (therefore the one and only way to make it) or what happens to be on hand.





Needless to say, myMEGusta had to taste this, and it was delicious:  Light and very flavorful at the same time.  Pretty, but relatively easy for the home cook to prepare.

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3 thoughts on “Say Yes to Pianono!

  1. Bea Crumbine on said:

    Dear Mary Ellen,

    Great blog! In our 4 years of living in the Philippines (and having one child there — our Wendy), we are devastated by the tragedy. We find that AmeriCares is also a great donation site and have sent two donations in the last few days.

    The Spanish-oriented desserts in the Philippines are so wonderful — I remember one called “Canonico” which was also known as “Floating Island”. Many, too, which are island inspired and based on sweet rice, which is not as delicious but certainly local in origin!

    xoxo Bea

  2. on said:

    Nice thought for those unfortunates. Have you donated to Medecines Sans Frontieres?

  3. Hello MaryEllen: Bravo! Bravo and thanks for thinking the wonderful Philippino employees on cruise ships. Without them the industry could not offer the luxuries we enjoy and take for granted. Yes, support the organizations helping the taifun victims.

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