“I need rice.”
“Okay, they’re cooking brown rice at the house.”
“No. I need to stop before we get there and grab something to eat. I need white rice.”
So was the conversation in the car before we went to visit Zeke’s family in Sacramento on our way back from South Lake Tahoe this weekend.
I exited off the freeway and began searching for some semblance of Asian food. A teriyaki house was on the way and I stopped an order a small bowl to-go.
We were coming back from 5 beautiful days in South Lake Tahoe. The weekend was a wonderful one — days at the lake, nights in the hotel watching movies and taking bubble baths, and lots of days sleeping in. Many hot days next to very blue bodies of water…I felt very blessed. We were on our family’s annual trip to South Lake Tahoe for the 2nd Annual Reggae fest. We took Siena to the very first one and she was just over a year old sporting a Bob Marley T-shirt and getting compliments on her pony tail. It feels nice to involve her in a musical community and one that — removed from all of the druggy innuendos — endorses such happy, positive ideals.
There’s only one challenge we’ve surmised about this trip, or any long trip in general — and that is the tendency to eat out for every single meal. Generally I’m not averse to eating out, but sometimes it’s just easier to cook and egg, make a sandwich, and grill up some chicken breasts and feel good about it. We found ourselves eating at our hotel’s restaurant quite a bit and venturing out a little farther for other meals.
And, apart from a few Japanese and Thai restaurants, NO Filipino restaurants were around. We found ourselves indulging in mostly contemporary American cuisine, WHICH IS FINE…but 5 days without rice is kind of maddening. My palate literally begins to start to feel like a fish without water and I start to dream and think about white rice or the next opportunity I can enjoy a plate of fresh rice, meat and veggies. I can’t explain it, and when I was talking to Zeke the only justification I could give him was, “it’s in my blood.” A meal just doesn’t quite feel like a meal without rice, and at this point I’m starting to think about my great grandmother who used to eat pizza with rice.
In Rice as Self: Japanese identities through time, Ohnuki-Tierney discusses the role of rice in its formation of identity:
Most Japanese continue to associate the [main] evening meal at home with rice; an evening meal without it would be equivalent to sandwiches for dinner for many Americans…Japanese, especially older Japanese who travel abroad, often complain that they do not feel satisfied after eating meals without rice; manupukukan (the full-stomach feeling) is not achieved without rice, no matter what else is eaten (Ohnuki-Tierney 1993: 41-2).
Yes…that is me! But it got me thinking about other cultures and their “core complex carbohydrates,” Italians and pasta and bread, Ethiopians and injera, Indians and naan…there is a string of commonality in having a carbohydrate that the entire culture eats consistently, feverishly, and almost with innate necessity.
For me, that is white rice. I know brown rice is better for me, I know quinoa is better for me, and I will eat those without complaint and happily. But the one true carbohydrate that speaks to my soul will always be white rice.
How about you? Do you like to eat rice with every meal? Or, do you eat pizza with rice or anything else that’s different? I’d love to hear about it!
Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th! I leave you with a few pics from our trip!
Be well! ❤