Oh, we don't really do rice and beans.
If you're having rice and beans, I will buy you food sometime!I do not believe that these-or similar statements-are spoken with any ill intent. However, words are very powerful and can carry a lot of meaning, both in what is and is not said. In both of the phrases I heard regarding rice and beans, I was led to gain a few particular perceptions. Perhaps I'm reading too much into these words, but I think that what was said naturally leads to what was unsaid.
The first statement portrayed a bit of pretentiousness to me. If you're going to say that you don't "do" rice and beans, then your words seem to separate you from those who "do" rice and beans. And I don't know about the rest of y'all, but as someone who grew up hearing about the poor children in third world countries who eat "a cup of rice a day" through presentations and fundraising literature, I immediately think of those who "do" rice and beans as the people in impoverished countries. So, if you set yourself apart as not being one of those who "do rice and beans," then-at least to me-it seems like you're setting yourself apart from all of the poor people.
The second statement seems to reflect an attitude that a diet with lots of rice and beans means that you are an impoverished person who cannot afford to buy "better food." While rice and beans are incredibly affordable, their price tag does not mean that they are a "bad" choice of food. Plus, this whole regime of looking down on rice and beans can come across as prideful; showing that we can do better than those people, because we don't need rice and beans.
I'm not saying that you have to enjoy eating a diet largely based on rice and beans, or that you necessarily need to eat this way. Rather, I think it would be beneficial to stop making these types of comments, which can come across as a bit degrading. Furthermore, if our judgment is clouded by negative perceptions of rice and beans, we blind ourselves to the variety and awesomeness of these foods!
|Believe it or not, I didn't even pull all of our beans out of the cupboard!|
Also, don't mind the super ginormous bottle of syrup in the background-we're
"go big or go home" kind of people sometimes :)
I tend to wonder if people who look down on rice and beans limit their image of these foods to refried beans and plain white rice. Nothing against refried beans and rice, but after a while, that may get a little boring. However, there is a much greater variety of rice and beans out there! Brown rice, white rice, red rice, black rice, long grain...the list goes on and on! Besides pinto beans, there are also red beans, black beans, adzuki beans, garbanzo beans, and lima beans, to name a few (though there are many more!). The ways in which you can eat rice and beans (or just rice, or just beans) are endless. In case you need a couple ideas to jump off of, here are some of the ways in which we eat rice and/or beans:
Sushi-easy (and inexpensive) to make at home, adaptable to a huge variety of ingredients (as untraditional as it may be, we once made BBQ sushi with a tiny bit of leftover chicken, and it was awesome), and so delicious! And sushi restaurants have some very awesome fancy rolls, too.
Falafels (and hummus)-one of my all-time favorite meals! I haven't made it in a while since the thought of deep-fried anything made me nauseous for many months (thanks, pregnancy), and bakes falafels are just not the same, but I'm making these next week!
Fried rice-we usually toss an assortment of whatever vegetables and beans we have lying around into our fried rice with a couple of eggs. Not the most authentic, but it works for us! (sometimes I throw peanuts in, which is quite good, too!)
Stacks of rice and beans-not creative at all, but we'll just heap rice and pinto beans (either whole or refried) onto a plate with fresh vegetables and salsa. Simple and delicious!
Bean burgers-I've only ever made pinto bean burgers before (which taste a little big like refried beans), but I just bought a bunch of black beans to give that kind of burger a try!
Red beans and rice-super yummy and simple! And Shannon just posted a delicious-looking recipe for a crock-pot version!
We've also made cold lentil casserole served over rice, adzuki bean casserole served over rice, and rice flour dangos dipped in red bean paste. If I thought about it more, I could probably list off a bunch more ways that we've eaten rice and/or beans, or different spices that we've used (Oh! Like curry powder! Curry powder is amazing!!!!). I think you get the idea. Rice and beans are awesome and underrated.
Today, I invite you to do a couple of things. First, please think about how the words you speak convey different attitudes and perceptions. We may not mean anything bad by comments that are anti-rice and beans, but these kinds of phrases can sound a little unkind. Second, I encourage you to expand your perception of rice and beans, especially if you have a limited view of these foods. Think outside of the box. Dare to walk down the bean aisle at the store and purchase a new type of legume-perhaps even one that you never knew existed! Instead of holding ourselves aloft with narrow, negative views towards rice and beans, let us broaden our horizons and live in a spirit of wonder, awe, and discovery.
[Also, a piece of advice: Get a rice cooker. Convenient, makes rice extremely well, and is completely worth the counter space. One of my friends gifted me with her extra rice cooker, and I use it all of the time!]
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