Rice Heritage: Maria of Franklin Avenue

Maria from Franklin AvenueI was at first only going to do this series on rice heritage for May, Asian Pacific American month. But then Maria sent me her replies, and I’m beginning to see a pattern in the responses. So far, I’ve only got responses from women (sorry guys, I’ll get to you), but I’m noticing that while rice may have been a staple of our childhoods, its not so much anymore. Not only that, our rice consumption for many of us was strongly linked to our physical appearance, an entirely different post, if you really want me to get into that.

Anyway, Maria’s up, and I snagged this smoking hot picture of her at a Grammy’s after party from Franklin Avenue. Mike, you’re a lucky man!

While you were growing up, what were you taught about rice?
Growing up, the memory that stands out the most about rice was my Mom chastising me to eat “less rice” (her phrase) during meals. She was concerned with my weight and wanted to instill the idea of the low-carb diet in me even back then. I mostly ignored her and ate my beloved rice anyway. To this day, my older brother Jim would tease me blurting out “less rice” at the dinner table.

Were you taught to cook rice? How?
I was taught to cook rice in the rice cooker by first rinsing the rice 2-3 times, measuring the water by touching the top of the rice with your fingertips (hand pointing down) and making sure that the water reaches the first line of your middle finger. Plug in the cooker and you are good to go.

These days, I cook rice on the stovetop using a heavy bottomed pot. I find it easier to clean the pot than the rice cooker. I measure the rice the same way as above, cook the rice in medium heat until it boils, then cover and put the heat to low for exactly 15 minutes. The rice comes out perfect.

What type of rice do you prefer?
Jasmine although I love Basmati with Indian food.

Do you have an embarrassing rice moment?
The first time I tried to make rice, it turned out to have too much water and was still hard on the inside. Again, Jim teased me to no end. He actually made better rice back then than me– his secret was that he adds butter (yes, butter) with the rice and water.

What is your rice consumption like now?
Aside from our weekly visit to my Mom’s house, I probably make rice once-a-week.

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