Book Notes

By Pablo A. Tariman

She looks radiantly fresh in an afternoon get-up with shades of fuschia, with the signs of her 10-week old baby already beginning to show in her still trim waistline.

Judy Ann Santos with her first book: book writing is vastly different from acting.

Judy Ann Santos with her first book: book writing is vastly different from acting.

“The baby is only two months old but I already feel like I am on my fifth month of pregnancy,” says she as she intimates this latest pregnancy is fairly tough compared to her first which was a breeze.

In her first encounter with motherhood, she didn’t feel like she was pregnant as she did many things that expectant mothers are not supposed to do. “This time I have to slow down on work load and I have to cancel my part in a teleserye for the sake of my baby. If you check my Instagram, you will know that my world revolves around my family. So I let go of my teleserye role that easily as I don’t want to give the impression that the project cannot go on without me. It just happened that in my fairly young married life, my priority remains my family.”

Indeed, the erstwhile teleserye queen is not announcing another TV project.

Beside her on this mini-stage is a replica of her first book,” Judy Ann’s Kitchen” which is the reason she scheduled this intimate interview with the media.

“This book is so different from acting,” she muses as she recalls the two-year work that she spent putting the book together. “I know I am good at making people cry on television and in the movies but I just realized giving birth to a book is another hard work. But after going through the birth pains, I realized I could be a book author pala.

That she loved cooking was a given and that she actually loved cooking for her family and a small circle of friends.

At some point in her marriage, she enrolled in the culinary school of chef Gene Gonzalez of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies.

Judy Ann Santos on her book's birthpains: at the end of the day, she realized she could actually fit into the role of a book author.

Judy Ann Santos on her book’s birthpains: at the end of the day, she realized she could actually fit into the role of a book author.

But venturing into restaurant business now is out of the question. “There are just so many good restaurants now and I don’t think I will survive the competition. Besides, I don’t have the time to be hands-on in restaurant business. Full time mothering is what I enjoy now. My cooking is not for showing off my culinary prowess but rather as a good complement to my duties as wife and mother. In other words, the book is an extension of another side of my life outside of location shootings. The book — as it is — is my personal testament on living, loving and well- cooking.”

The idea she earlier brought up to ace photographer Raymund Isaac and then it expanded into a book writing team composed of Francine Medina-Marquez, Rica Paralejo-Bonifacio and Dolly Dy-Zulueta, among others.

She points out: “I have to work with other writers and editors because I need people who can articulate my thoughts in English without me sounding like a public speaker. I need just the right words and phrases that will reflect me as a casual conversationalist and not sounding like an English major. For another, I didn’t want my familiarity with sward-speak to get into the book. Because I know book writing is a different world from intimate showbiz presscons. Here we can go casual with our private jokes. I just realized the showbiz lingo has no place in a book about cooking.”

What the actress is saying is that she didn’t want the book peppered with such words as “bongga ka day,” “Ang taray,” and “In fairness…” among others.

Judy Ann Santos with husband, Ryan Agoncillo. Everything in her life now  begins and ends with her family.

Judy Ann Santos with husband, Ryan Agoncillo. Everything in her life now begins and ends with her family.

Released by Anvil Publishing, “Judy Ann’s Kitchen” is all of 168 pages with introduction by Chef Gonzalez.

The celebrity chef affirms the book is a reflection of Judy Ann’s personality in the dining table.

Wrote he: “Despite so many facets and complexities in career, friendships, children and love, today’s women can still don the apron and bring a day to a beautiful close by whipping up an admirable meal or even just a dish that comes straight from the heart.”

In the book’s foreword, the actress confessed her love affair with cooking started as early as her career as a child actress. During shooting breaks, she would venture into the kitchen of the location caterers and discovered another world of food hidden in those arrays of pots and pans. She also had good memories of her mom whipping up her favorite merienda. Later on, she was drawn to watching cooking shows on television. Then she tried some persona recipes, brought them to location shootings to be shared with showbiz colleagues. She was the happiest creature on earth when she heard the compliments that she could actually cook with good result.

As it is, there is something for everyone in Judy Ann’s book in various chapters with assorted topics.

Why she cooks and what it means to her is summed up in her own words: “There is something about preparing meals for the people who matter in your life. You can show your love and care for them by simply sharing the food you prepared with your heart. So from the heart of my kitchen to yours, here’s hoping you can make me part of your happy food memories.”

Copies of “Judy Ann’s Kitchen” are now available in all branches of National Book store.

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