Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Thing About Rice & Beans

Who doesn't love a love story?
Who doesn't go a little weak in the knee, stolen breath dissipating?
It is not always Montagues and Capulets; it isn't always star crossed.
Who doesn't love rice&beans?
I love the sound that bubbling pot of rice makes. I love the staccato hilarity and furious cartoon bursts of stream. I am comforted by the security in the the ratio in rice preparation. 2:1 Water to Rice.

Beans are the Hardy to Rice's Laurel. Rice is Hepburn to Beans' Tracy.
Who doesn't love a love story?

It was beans that Jack got for that sorry old cow, remember. When the counters count, it's beans. It was hummus they were eating on the beaches of Troy, in Helen's pink shadow. It was beans that were preserved in the pyramids, packed along in the sarcophagus.

A pot of beans murmurs, hems, haws.

Each spice is added with intention, with purpose. Each turn of the pepper grinder is its own incantation. Each slice of garlic peeled away thin as paper, crisp but wet with oil. Each onion cries for more than Argentina. The salt rains down; it falls from my fingers with my hands held at shoulder level.

Salt is older than anything, remember, and remembers more than elephants. It may have been the pomegranate that sweet persephone took to the underworld, it may have even been the seeds swallowed that predicated the sharp months of Autumn, the thin month of Winter. But it is salt that she carried with her when she walked out of Vesuvius into the sweet and lush Neapolitan Spring. It was salt that Gandhi harvested from the Ocean in his most poetic fuck you to the British Empire. Each of us who has kissed away a tear knows that nothing tastes so much like love as salt.

Cumin is lonesome as a Kentucky blue moon. Thick as an Oklahoma Dustbowl.
Cayenne shows her knees, and still has the ability to blush. Paprika has a polish accent.

Each spice alone is crazed, lost. But in context, stirred in the pot, they do that thing that doo wop street kids do. The joy in harmony is inarguable.

These two pots cook next to each other, on the back line of the stove top, like metropolitans on opposite side of a subway car. Each is contained in its own universe; still, two universes can not help but stare at each other.

When they finally do meet, when they finally combine of the plate, the exploding stream is something from old Hollywood. The kitchen tile warms against the wet heat. The body warms exactly the same way with the first spoonful. You are all at once strong, while you're weak in the knee. That is the thing about rice and beans, it tastes like hope.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick