I am from a part of the world, in which, rice is the staple food, stuff of dreams etc. We eat rice differently from the rest of the rice eating world. While the rest largely eat plain cooked rice with sides of vegetables and meat, or precooked variously flavoured rice, we add plain cooked rice on our plate, dump various forms of gravies with names like sambar, dal, kuzmbu, rasam, koottu, thuvayal etc., over the rice, mix it in on the plate with our fingers and eat it.
Over the past decades, rice has got way too much bad rap in the world – that it is the sole cause of obesity, of metabolic syndrome diseases, diabetes in particular etc. I don’t know how far that is right, because as I see it, the Japanese eat a lot of rice, but are not riddled with these maladies, of course they also walk at least 7000 steps every day Still, it is sad that I often feel guilty when I eat rice, especially for dinner, although in truth, I’d marry rice if I could.
When I lived abroad briefly, I was introduced to other forms/styles of rice – plain white bland rice, with sides of vegetables (no meat for me, I used to be a strict vegetarian, now I am a vegetarian by choice, and I relent now and then, if situation demands), Spanish rice, Chinese fried rice, brown rice, dirty rice, red rice, cold rice, etc. I’ve enjoyed all of them.
Only about a year ago, I was introduced to an interesting form of rice; rice rolled in seaweed and embedded with a piece of avacado or cucumber, in the place of the customary raw salmon or tuna, which I am not bold enough to try – the sushi, in short. These rolls were served as an appetizer with a side of pickled ginger (oh my) and a dash of hot
meso paste wasabi (mmmm). The first sushi roll was, interesting, but not really as exciting as I had expected it to be. However, something drew me to the roll every time we visited the Japanese restaurant, which has been at least once every fortnight for the past year, and I can’t decide if it is the flavour of Nori or the blandness of the rice with the unexpected crunch of the cucumber. Today, I had eight sushi rolls and craved for more before the better half drew me out of the restaurant with promises of apple pie icecream. I had the apple pie icecream as well, and although I am the human representation of a python that has just ingested an elephant, I continue to crave sushi.
My rice love is now complete.