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Arsenic and Adobo Discussion Questions

(this page is a work in progress)

  1. Food is Tita Rosie’s love language, while service is Lola Flor’s. What is your/your family’s love language?

  2. For the Macapagal family (and many immigrant families), a plate of food is not just a plate of food--it symbolizes so much more. What does food mean to you and/or your family?

  3. Filial piety/family responsibility is something that Lila struggles with. What are your thoughts on this?

  4. Derek did many terrible things, but before his death, he was trying to atone for some of them. What are your thoughts on his character?

  5. Does your family have any special recipes?

  6. The opening scene of ARSENIC AND ADOBO plays with both rom-com and cozy tropes. What genre tropes do you love or hate?

  7. Shady Palms, Illinois is a fictional location--do you prefer stories that take places in real locations or fictional ones?

  8. Are your Team Amir or Team Jae? Or should Lila embrace the single life?

  9. Lila states that her desert island food is crepes while Adeena’s is waffles. What is your desert island food?

  10. The ending with Mrs. Long, Derek’s mom, isn’t nice and neat. What are your feelings on this?


Arsenic and Adobo Cocktail.jpg

Lindsay Merbaum, author of THE GOLD PERSIMMON, kindly created a cocktail based on ARSENIC AND ADOBO!

From Lindsay:

I thought it fitting to put calamansi front and center in this cocktail, along with coconut to balance the sour and add texture. The amaretto offers a touch of sweetness and is a nod to arsenic's almond origins. In the photo, the drink is displayed atop a well-worn cutting board, surrounded by flakes of coconut and tell-tale drops of "blood." (It's red food coloring actually.) 


Arsenic and Adobo


1.5 oz gold rum

1 oz coconut water

.5 oz calamansi extract

.5 oz amaretto

A dash of turmeric

A pea-sized amount of ginger paste

Simple syrup

Shredded coconut 


Pour a few tablespoons of simple syrup onto a plate. Next, layer coconut over another fresh plate or other flat surface, such as a cutting board. Hold a cocktail glass by the stem and roll the edge in the syrup, then gently roll the rim through the coconut until a thin layer is affixed to the glass. Set aside. 

Combine the rum, calamansi, coconut water, amaretto, turmeric, and ginger in a shaker with ice. Agitate vigorously until the ice starts to break up. Strain and pour into the coconut-rimmed glass. 

Photo and recipe credit: Lindsay Merbaum

Her Instagram is @pickyourpotions, ditto TikTok, Twitter @lindsaymerbaum. Lindsay Merbaum on FB.

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