Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is a sweet, creamy concoction of canned delights. Though “fruit salad” in general could mean any combination of mixed fruits, the fruit salad Filipinos have for fiestas and birthdays is made with a base of canned fruit cocktail and canned condensed milk.

From there, other recipes, households, and restaurants will add their own unique ingredients. Some recipes call for cheese, others with freshly-chopped apples or corn kernels. Like many homes, each recipe will differ, but there is that common base ingredient or two (as found with adobo), that connects them all together.

Colonialism in a can

Canned fruit cocktail has been noted as an American invention, becoming a staple in the US by the mid 1900s 1, 2. It was likely introduced by the American colonizers when they were establishing their systems and infrastructure sometime earlier. Elaine Castillo writes in “Colonialism in a Can” that a steady supply of canned goods from the US was sent to Americans in the Philippines “who were wary of the contaminative effects of eating native food 3.”

Despite the derogatory perspectives on Filipino food and people by the Americans, Filipino elites and house staff appropriated these cans 4 of skinless unidentifiable pieces of foreign fruit and made them a sweet highlight in homes in the Philippines; and even around the world. Wherever Filipinos and canned fruit cocktails are found, there is also fruit salad.


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  1. The Nibble, 2018. FOOD 101: Fruit Cocktail History. Lifestyle Direct Inc. Last accessed September 16, 2019.
  2. Guampedia. Fruit Salad. Last accessed September 17, 2019.
  3. E. Castillo, 2018. Colonialism in a can. Last accessed September 17, 2019.
  4. M. Elias, 2014. The Palate of Power: Americans, Food and the Philippines after the Spanish-American War.

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