About a week ago, my mom and stepdad sat at Pete’s and my dining room table with earnest looks on their faces. They’d brought a case of empty Ball quart jars and a bag. Mom took a breath, opened a bag I didn’t see before that moment and pulled out a large bag of jasmine rice.
Mom: Do you eat rice?
Tata: We do eat rice.
Mom: I bought this rice some time ago because I thought Jasmine rice would be delicious. I should have that.
Tata: That sounds good. What happened?
Mom: We don’t eat rice. We have it. We just never cook it.
Tata: You could just do that, you know. Just put it in a pot and cook that.
Mom: We just do not.
I stared at her and Tom. They smiled and shook their heads. It is too mysterious for us. Who understands these things?
Tata: I will give this bag of rice a good home and a big yard to run around in. Does everyone feel better now?
Everyone did. This morning, I was home sick and restless in that way one is when about 60% better but still 40% squirrelly from illness, when I remembered that rice and consulted Dad’s cookbook collection. I decided to make rice pudding and maybe actually follow a recipe. Odds were against it, but I thought I’d try. Fortunately, the recipe spoke slowly and used simple gestures even a feverish simpleton could understand. Unfortunately but not at all significantly, I was out of cinnamon and substituted ras el-Hanout.
Next week, the kids in our tiny town start school. The first week is often hectic and unnerving. If I make individual rice puddings for my niece and nephews’ breakfasts, it’ll be one thing they don’t have to worry about, with peaches.