Sunday, April 16, 2006


I scooped a little bag of wild rice, and a bigger bag of basmati rice, yesterday. Off-black and off-white, they rest on the kitchen counter, today, quarreling.

"He'll never cook us," says the wild rice. "You wait. He'll put us in the cupboard, and go to Burgerville, and get pizza, and go out for Chinese, and we'll sit there in the dark till the moths or the mildew get us. You wait. You'll see."

"Well, now, we don't know that," says the Basmati, reasonably. "He thought about us yesterday, and imagined the whole thing in detail. Almonds to sliver, olive oil, garlic. He bought another steamer-insert just a few weeks ago. That's the life he really wants -- a life in which he can cook. He thought it all out."

"Yeah, right," says the wild rice. "There's a drawer right underneath us. You want to take bets on how old the brown rice and couscous and quinoa -- quinoa, for Christ's sake! -- how old they are? He doesn't know himself, I bet."

"What are you so anxious to be cooked for, anyway? What difference does it make to us? At least he thinks we're beautiful. 'Off-black and off-white,' that was kind of poetic, wasn't it?"

"Oh, God, spare me. That's what he always does. Goes limp and aesthetic. All he's got to do is pop us into a pot, and what is he doing? He's admiring our looks and composing blog posts. And meanwhile his family lives on fried food and ice cream, and regrets being stout. I mean? Gimme a break. I'd rather be Rice-Crispies. Snap, crackle, pop."

"Oh, come on. You're not a rice really, you know, you're a grass. Too hard to harvest, too pricey to make Rice-Crispies out of. They wouldn't even make Rice-Crispies out of me."

"Well that's what I mean! Seven bucks a pound, I am. For this I pose on the kitchen counter for a couple days? I was meant to be savored! And any sugared bleached wheat-product floozy has a better chance of really getting his attention than I do."

"Well, look, don't talk that way where he can hear you, okay? If he start's feeling guilty, then we're really screwed. That's what that brown rice and couscous and quinoa all have in common, you know. They stared at him reproachfully for a few days, and now they're in that drawer for good, so he doesn't have to look at them. So buck up! Look friendly and inviting! He loves food really, you know. He actually can cook. Make him think of that!"

"What is this, your lovey-dovey Hindu stuff? Look, Basmati, I'm from Montana. We don't do this feel-good, I'm-OK-you're-OK stuff. We say, shit or get off the pot, cowboy. You want to cook, cook! You don't want to cook, don't buy little bags of rice. How hard is that?"

"You're just making it worse, man. Just making it worse."

I think I'll put them in the cupboard. Just for now.

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