“Why isn’t there… just… a Mexican rice?
A skinny blonde lady with a ponytail in sweats is exasperated, standing next to me at the rice aisle in Amish Market is exasperated to the point of laughter.
“Are you seeing this? Is it just me?”
I can’t speak, I’m laughing to myself.
There was basmati, texmati, arborio, japonica, red rice, sweet brown, long brown, sushi rice, brown jasmine, white jasmine… there were mixes with lentils, with red bean… there were instant yellow rice, instant pilaf…. but no instant Mexican.
I grew up eating Calrose Niko Niko; it still tastes best to me. They have Kohuko Rose here, and that’s pretty close. Back in Shanghai, I started buying different grains separately for my own mix that impressed my houseguests. Marco was lined up to inherit my remaining rice mix when it was time to leave; he got a little defensive when C suggested leaving it for the ayi.
Anyway, so there I was at Amish Market, finding stuff I couldn’t find at Whole Paycheck (including corn tortillas, btw, I’ll see if they cut the mustard). And I was trying to plan my own rice strategy… should I stay true to my sticky rice past? Should I keep doing the SpanishPod Mexican Rice that Leo taught me, that I’d been doing for the last month? Is it time to revive the mix? What about these ready mixes? (of course the instant rices were out of the question).
Anyway, I was contemplating my rice strategy when blonde ponytail shows up asking about instant Mexican rice. And I didn’t know what to say, because I’ve been realizing lately the kind of stuff that is and is not available in downtown Manhattan, and here were were in the Amish Market, and something as simple of instant Mexican rice really shouldn’t be hard to find.
“It’s really pretty easy to make, you know,” I offer. She looks at me like I’m crazy. “Just buzz some tomatoes and onions together in a blender, then brown the rice in some oil…”
“I think you just lost me,” she says. Yikes. Maybe I’m a snob, but if you can’t toast some rice, then maybe you don’t deserve SpanishPod Mexican rice.
“Ok,” I said. “It’s just funny that you asked me, I used to be on a cooking show… it was in Spanish though.”
“Yah, ok, thanks for your help.” And she left.
I took a minute to look at the rice again, and decided to go with a red and brown ready mix, with lentils.