Tuesday, December 12

Atay-Atay: A Vanishing Ilonggo Classic Bread Delicacy

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Atay-atay (pronounced a-tahy-atahy), is a kind of bread native to the Ilonggo and Negrense people, which, although literally means liver-liver, has nothing to do with animal liver or any kind of liver for that matter.

Atay-atay is just one of those fancy Pinoy breads with streaks of red, pink, yellow, or in this example, purple. Sometimes the colored pudding or jelly is oozing out of cuts or scores on the bread, creating a design that’s uniqely atay-atay.

The atay-atay that I know from childhood had red fillings and perhaps they were called by such name because they look like liver insides when actually they are just food color added to the otherwise plain bread.  It’s basically attractive and popular to children because of its eye-candy color and added sweet taste of the colored stuffing.

The atay-atay bread is still popular among the lower-income bracket even today, and so I was surprised when one day this bread was being sold, direct selling style, and so I bought two pieces.

However, it is a slowly vanishing bread recipe, due to its rarity these days. I’m a bit sad that the atay-atay bread, a kind of classic childhood — not necessarily a native — delicacy, is becoming a vanishing item in the bread section of the menu of the present day Ilonggo.

Hopefully, with the reintroduction of the atay-atay bread into mainstream baking, surely, memories of old will never fail to flood the minds of the Ilonggo bread eater when things like this show up in the present time. It always brings out the child in everyone, of days when things were a lot simpler, of days like these when Ilonggos just used to eat simple breads such as the atay-atay.

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