Monday, October 17, 2011

Refrigerated Rice and Its Redemption

My father has always spoken of refrigerated rice with sorrow in his voice. Fresh sticky white rice is ambrosia, as well as a necessary accompaniment to any true meal. Refrigerated rice, however, is a dessicated record of what once was: still food, but to be endured, not enjoyed. If at all possible, rice should be consumed within 24 hours of being cooked, such that it is never desecrated by the cold and dryness of the refrigerator. Refrigerated rice is irredeemable.

So it was with sadness that I contemplated my rice options for lunch today. Having tarried overlong in looking at papasans (my new favorite word!), I was already hungry when I started to stir-fry string beans and green pepper. As the aroma of fish sauce and curry paste rose from the wok, I suddenly realized that to have fresh rice, I'd have to wait almost half an hour to eat. On the other hand, the cooked rice on hand had already been frozen once, and since being defrosted three nights ago, it had been sitting in the refrigerator. Surely it would be barely edible.*

Nonetheless, my impatience trumped my rice-snobbery. With some trepidation, recalling the last time I combined refrigerated rice with a fresh stirfry and regretted it, I toss the old rice into the wok and stirred it in. To my delight, it soon absorbed enough soy and fish sauce to turn it a warm brown, and it plumped up, probably because of the excessive olive oil** in the wok. When I ate*** the whole concoction a few minutes later, everything was delicious. It is with no regrets that I say: I ate month-old rice today.

*This sentiment: only one of the many obvious indications that I am part of the "first world." 

**I know this is the wrong oil for a stir fry because of its smoke point or whatever, but it's all I had after the (mostly failed) falafels consumed my meager supply of canola oil!

***Using chopsticks at first, but quickly succumbing to the convenience of a spoon.

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