Lessons from Rice

Rice, before it was discovered to be food, was once thought to be a weed; useless wallflowers that were discovered to have a sweet, filling taste. And the rest is history. Now, rice is cooked in many different ways: it can be steamed, fried, pounded to make flour then baked and fermented to make wine. It’s also incorporated into different dishes to make an entirely new meal. A simple weed turns meals into wonderful meals, as simple things are part of something greater.

The rich and poor eat rice alike. It has no distinctions to whom it shall provide its nourishment. The young and the old alike eat rice the same way you and I do. Though different and unique in our own special ways, in the end, we’ll still end up eating rice, and our children who will come after us shall it eat the same way as did our fathers and mothers we’ve come after.

For as long as I can recall, any meal without rice is an empty meal, a meal that’s not filling nor even satisfying. I’ve eaten rice with soup, vegetables with rice, rice with beef/pork/fish/chicken/snake/frog, ketchup with rice, well, you get it. It seems that there is, and will ever be, an ethereal umbilical cord connecting me and the rice that nourishes the multitude. It reminds me of my humanity. I may be the strongest, or the wisest, or the most affluent, yet I shall return always to the rice that I eat.

Humility. Maybe that’s what that weed’s been trying to teach us all these years. A rice stalk yields to the wind that her seeds may not fall before their time, as compared to a tree that resists and gets uprooted for his impudence.

“Marami ka pang kakaining kanin!” a saying goes.

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    For people who love to think.

    Jian Carlo R. Narag, MD

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