The Importance Of Rice In My Life

Growing up, rice was a staple of my diet. For as long as I can remember, there was an opened bag of rice underneath the sink counter and another bag, if not two, stored in our basement. Not only did we steam it for dinner, we boiled it for breakfast and fried it for lunch. We wrapped it in bamboo to make zongzi, we baked them to make desserts, and we mixed it with vegetables to make stir-fry. Rice represented stability in my life. No matter how tough of a day I had, I could always come home to a warm bowl of steamed rice for dinner. My grandpa would cook a pot of rice for dinner every night, and each time I opened the rice-cooker, I was greeted with a blast of hot steam in my face. When I inhaled, I could smell the faintly-sweet aroma of well-cooked …show more content…
The nightly ritual around the dinner table actsd as my anchor to even the craziest days. After eighteen years of eating rice, the food has become a sources of comfort; I love the taste of it, the smell of it cooking, it’s texture, and the way it mixes so well with any sauce or soup, spicy or sweet, salty or sour. When I’m traveling away from home, the familiarity of a good Chinese dish with rice always brings back the comforting feelings of home.
While rice is comforting, it’s also a medium through which I try new things. My relationship with rice grew when I discovered sticky rice. Imagine, rice that sticks to itself! The first time I ate sticky rice was in Luang Namtha, a town in northern Laos situated just south of the country’s skinny border with China’s Yunnan province. I was taking on a semester long gap year program in Southeast Asia, and my group
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When you live in a Thai monastery, you never cook your own sticky rice. Every morning, the monks walk into nearby villages, each carrying large, black alms bowls, and one by one, the villagers give their offerings. When the monks walk back, they bring with them offerings: small plastic bags of fish, vegetables, and meats tied up with rubber bands, processed snacks wrapped in bright pink and blue plastic, cartons of sweet milk, sometimes fruit, and always balls of sticky rice - lots of it. My first time eating the donations, I was skeptical. You really have to trust that the rice is clean and safe to eat, especially considering that it’s tossed into the alms bowl with everything else, and isn’t cleaned before consumption. I would poke around for bit, checking for dirt and insect, but I never found any. I would have probably ignored that fact and gulfed down the glob of rice even if I did. When breakfast is your only meal of the day, you learn to make the most of it, and that includes eating as much rice as your stomach can handle. The sticky rice is the same hue of white as my temple clothes. Sometimes, if I thought I wouldn’t make it through the rest of the day, I would sneak a baseball sized chunk of rice into my room and tuck it under my pillow. For the monks, the rice was a symbol of respect and nourishment; for me, it was a

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