“Really, that’s it”, Sam Sifton exclaims how simple it is to make chicken adobo. One caveat: it’s just one version of the national dish of the Philippines. “This is adobo,” he writes, “Every man an island.” 
I myself have never tried the variation offered in Mr. Sifton’s article, which is courtesy of Purple Yam , so off to the kitchen I went to give it a shot. At my first attempt, I wasn’t really sure that the ingredient measurements were correct. Tasting the brew while it simmered, I thought it was too vinegary. Still, I decided to stick strictly to the recipe, to such surprising results. Ang sarap!
Every man an island? True. A friend’s mom added Chivas Regal—no other whisky brand will do. I for one once served a version that called for shrimp fry, to the dismay of my non-Filipino guests at the table. “Aw, the poor little baby shrimps.” When my mom cooked adobo, it seemed like she was winging it each time. None of those cook book standard measurements, oh no! Still, each dish came out of her kitchen as a precise success.
Now, why did this magazine article prompt me to watch a film entitled “American Adobo”?  The story was about five Filipino-American friends searching for new meaning in life. Silly at times, the movie evoked unintended laugh-out-loud moments, especially courtesy of one overacting actor. The intended adobo metaphor seemed lost to me at first. In the end, I admit, the movie still resonated with me, the same way Mr. Sifton’s featured recipe resonated with my palate and stomach. Ah, the meaning of life!