Yesterday, as I stood by the stove making dinner, I listened to my daughter speaking to her Daddy, who had just come home from work, in the other room.
Daughter: "I hope we are grown up when you both die"
I don’t know what went through his head before answering but probably something along the lines of what I was thinking. That it is important to say the right thing, to help her understand that death is inevitable, that it is part of the cycle of life. That people die, sometimes unfortunately sooner than expected. But also to reassure her and comfort her, to let her know we will always be there for her, that she should not grow up being scared of losing us. That it is good to speak openly of death as a way of exorcising this fear but that is also important for a child to feel safe.
Daddy: "If we are lucky, God willing, we will die when we are much older than we are now and you will be all grown up".
After a moment of silence, during which she thought about what her father (the man who can do all and who knows everything) had said, she answered matter-of-factly:
"Or at least if you die before that, I hope you and Mommy have enough time to drop us off with a family".
I snorted from the kitchen. She had already figured it all out.
I think it is hilarious (if you can use that word for this subject) that in her 6-year old mind, Daddy and Mommy is a unit, a package deal. We go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Sandy and Danny, like rain and bad hair days. If Daddy goes, Mommy goes, same time, same day. Widow and widower are words that have not yet entered her lexicon. Thank goodness, might I add.
As children, I clearly remember my sister and I saying things like: "When you die can you leave me that ring/blouse/dress?" this to my mother. She still gives us a hard time about it (rightly so).
I try to think back and recall what went through my mind when I said those things. I seem to remember there was no angst, no reasoning. It was a simple statement, a rational thought about something that you are no longer able to rationalize once you grasp the meaning, the implications of death. The pain, the loss, the emptiness, the grief.
I love the candidness of children, their lack of filters. I love how straightforward they are and I am grateful for the insight they give me, because their simple approach to things in life helps me make mine less complex, less convoluted. More often than not, keeping things simple is the best way to live.
Simplicity is sometimes a good thing in cooking too. It is often the humblest dishes that we love and crave the most. Also, talking about simplicity, sometimes we discover that something we thought was difficult or tedious to make is actually really, really easy.
Am I the only one who thought making sticky rice required several steps and age-old techinique?
I love everything about Thai food but whatever I order, I always get sticky rice to go with it. Perhaps it was the banana leaf it often comes in suggesting exotic ingredients and nimble hands wrapping the tiny glutinous kernels with special techniques that scared me off.
And then I found a big bag of glutinous rice at my local Asian supermarket and when I researched on line I found out I could make it in under thirty minutes in my own home whilst reading a book!
There are two ways to go: the traditional way, which requires a longer soaking (even overnight), a steamer (although a traditional bamboo steamer is not necessary) and more patience than I had at the time. And the microwave way (finally I have found a way to use my microwave, which helped me warm many a bottle in the past years but that I usually eye with suspicion), that is so simple I almost laughed out loud when I read it.
Now I’m sure that if you are Thai or you live in Thailand or you are an expert of all things Thai, you will notice a difference between the original method and this short cut and I don’t suggest you follow it. Although I may be wrong. But for all of those who enjoy recreating the vibrancy of flavors and colors of Thai food in their own home without being purists, this tasted totally authentic to me.
My source suggests that the microwave rice may turn out a little stickier, softer. The rice I made did not turn out soft at all, it was perfectly sticky and toothsome at the same time. Perhaps it is because I soaked it for longer than 10 minutes because I was distracted by the kids. Apparently if the rice is soaked longer it absorbs less during cooking and thus stays firmer. I, actually we all, thought it was delicious.
glass bowl or microwave resistant container
Soak the rice for about 20 minutes in luke warm water. For every cup of rice pour in a little over a cup of water, so that the water level is just above the rice level. Cover and cook in the microwave at maximum power for three minutes. Uncover, stir and repeat this process until the rice is cooked and traslucent. Timing depends on how powerful your microwave is. I cooked and stirred three times for a total of 9 minutes.