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Raising Nate

Regine Velasquez Alcasid shares her culinary journey as a mother to toddler Nate 

By Kaye Estoista-Koo

Celebrity moms may look glamorous especially on their social media platforms and in commercials, but beneath it all, they are just like any mom.

  Regine Velasquez Alcasid /2016.mb.com.ph

Regine Velasquez Alcasid /2016.mb.com.ph

They go through messy diaper changes, unearthly feeding times, tantrums, and more. Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, at the launch of her cookbook Bongga sa Kusina: Recipes from Sarap Diva, shared some of her mommy moments.

She reveals that unlike other little kids helping out in the kitchen, she doesn’t allow Nate, her unico hijo to help out just yet because, “he’s too small, natatakot ako, baka masugat , but he’s very interested.” Sarap Diva, the GMA cooking lifestyle show that inspired Bongga sa Kusina, has been on air for four years and Nate has appeared on the show every now and then. Regine says that with that regular influence in his life, “he wants nga to be a chef, mayroon nga siyang lutu-lutuan na maliit kasi he likes it, nakikita niya kasi akong nagluluto lagi, so he wants to be a chef daw, nakaka tuwa naman. (Nate wants to be chef, he has a small kitchen playset because he likes cooking. It makes me happy.)”

For now, Regine is grateful that she has a steady stream of fellow celebrity moms helping her out when they guest on Sarap Diva. They swap tips and some of these have made it into Bongga sa Kusina, along with some juicy revelations they made to her as these celebrity mommies cooked their recipes on the show. Regine also relies on Chef Jonah Trinidad, Sarap Diva’s resident chef, to help and guide her in the kitchen.

Now that Nate is four, Regine is also learning again how and what to feed him, which is very different from when he was a baby. “First of all, it’s harder to cook for him than to cook for my husband, or my family,” she admits. “He’s a child, he will not eat anything. He is very picky.”

In her motherhood journey so far, Regine has picked up tricks here and there, especially when she faced that dreaded obstacle, the one called “my child doesn’t want to eat vegetables.” “What do I do? I hide it, I blender it then I put it in his food,” she says. “So he doesn’t notice that he is eating vegetables.”

SONGBIRD IN THE KITCHEN Cooking show host and icon Regine Velasquez Alcasid launches her first cookbook. Supporting her at the launch were Michelle Van Eimeren and husband Mark Morrow, stepchildren Leila and Sarah, and the Alcasid family. /2016.mb.com.ph

SONGBIRD IN THE KITCHEN Cooking show host and icon Regine Velasquez Alcasid launches her first cookbook. Supporting her at the launch were Michelle Van Eimeren and husband Mark Morrow, stepchildren Leila and Sarah, and the Alcasid family. /2016.mb.com.ph

This and other tricks have enabled Regine to ensure Nate gets access to healthy food. While it’s convenient to give in and feed them fast food, especially those they can point out and name, that’s not healthy, she says.

She recalls what she went through when Nate was much younger. “When he was a baby, I used to really prepare his food. I would bake chicken and asparagus and blend it together, ine-Osterize ko and make my own baby food. And he loved it, ang sarap naman kasi talaga noon. He especially loved avocado.”

Regine veered away from baby food in jars. “’Di siya nakatikim noon. (He never experienced eating ready-to-eat baby food.) I didn’t feed him that. Not that it’s bad, ha. Someone told me, you could teach them to eat healthy if you started from scratch. So ganoon ginawa ko (So that’s what I did). I used to bake his food. All kinds of vegetables. I would bake them, konting-konti salt lang, brush ko lang ng konting butter, then I would Osterize it and he loved it. (I would bake it, with just a small pinch of salt, brush it with butter, then I would Osterize it.)”

 Regine Velasquez Alcasid /2016.mb.com.ph

Regine Velasquez Alcasid /2016.mb.com.ph

As Nate started to grow, Regine shares how she experienced his changing and maturing preferences as well. “Now that he is a little older, he has developed his own taste for food, he doesn’t eat just whatever we prepare for him.”

Coming from two rather outspoken parents, Nate inevitably picked that up and started asserting his preferences more. She shares that his favorite food nowadays is sinigang, “He eats sinigang three times a day. But that is his favorite food and to hide the vegetables, I do it, to make sure he eats.”

She quickly realized what all moms realize at one point or another, “Nagkaroon siya ng sarili niyang preference sa taste niya. Mayroon siyang sarili. So hindi mo naituturo ’yun pala. (He developed his own preference. I realize that that is something you cannot teach.)”

She’s glad that for now, Nate’s staple food is sinigang and that is a dish that has it all. “I don’t mind, it’s the healthiest, I think. You have protein, all the vegetables, and the stock is very nutritious.”

Regine also deals with Nate wanting the crunchy stuff. And moms know that crunchy usually means fried. She says, “Like all kids, gusto nila ’yung sound (they like the sound). He likes chicken, fried chicken, but I don’t give him that every day, every now and then lang.”

As she continues to hone her self-taught craft in the kitchen, Regine looks forward to the opportunity to introduce her son to healthier options, “I know that as he ages, habang lumalaki siya, I am sure his preference, ’yung taste niya will also improve and I will be able to teach him to eat healthier pa.”

Bongga sa Kusina: Recipes from Sarap Diva features recipes made by Regine on the show, recipes her celebrity guests cooked with her on the show, as well as recipes from Chef Jonah Trinidad. Published by Summit Books in partnership with PLDT Home, it is available for P395 in bookstores nationwide.