Rice. All day everyday. When I asked my parents why I had to eat at least one meal of rice everyday, the answer was simply “It’s our culture.” With its mundane and repetitive taste, rice seemed to be everywhere in my house. Whenever I looked for a snack, my mom’s automated reply was “perhaps you didn’t have enough rice.” During my high school years, I avoided rice as much as I could, stirring disapproval with my parents. One day, my mom sat with me to discuss her concerns that I wasn’t eating the dishes (which, of course, contained rice) that she made. She shared a story that continues to resonate with me today. Growing up in India, my mother did not originate from a particularly opulent household. She came from an agricultural household, one which relied on rubber from trees and edible products from farm animals as a source of income and food. She would say that, although she attended school every weekday, food was scarce and, when it was available, it was rice with curry. She concluded her story by saying that since I am living in a culture that is very different from the Indian culture and because I am financially secure, I should carry on at least some aspect of our culture. Learning that rice was a major crop in Asia in my history class, I realized why the Indian culture was so fixated on rice. However, asked my mom to make different flavors of rice in order to expunge the mundaneness of each meal, a request that she gladly obliged.
– Abraham Alex