Rice and Joy


Not too long ago, my “oldest” friend came to visit with her family. We lived across the street from each other on La Linda Drive in Long Beach starting at age three. We went to Los Cerritos, Hughes, and Long Beach Poly together — we played Barbies, had adventures in our neighborhood’s “jungle,” made umbrella forts when it rained, ended up in the same high school drama classes, and grew up together.

Her husband is in the Rice business, so she came bearing the gift of an intriguing lime green package of Haiga Rice. This is the rice you see pictured above, straight from my stove to your eyes. She is three months older than I — and is always teaching me something — and now I can credit her with introducing me to the most fabulous rice I’ve ever had!

Whenever I make rice, I always have a debate in my head. The indulgent part of me wants to make the white rice of my childhood — steaming and sticky and delicious. The health-conscious part of me wants to make brown rice — because why take the most nutritious thing out of the food before you eat it?

Now I never have to argue with myself about rice again! According to the package, Haiga Rice “uses a special milling process that preserves the nutritious rice germ. It is easier to digest than brown rice, and it’s as flavorful as white rice.” It also cooks as quickly as white rice. I know… too good to be true!

But it is! I found a 15 pound bag of this rice on Amazon and here is the link if you’d like to give it a try:

I treasure our friendship we still have after all of these thirty-eight years. I treasure how this friendship has blossomed. I also treasure the way food nourishes us and brings us together. One of my favorite food poems is by Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms.” You should read the entire poem (linked below) which ends

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.


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