Another bag of rice

Dinner brought by my favorite uncle

Bert Kreischer has a joke from his Hey Big Boy special about being the solo parent while his wife was on a trip. On day one, Bert and his daughters woke up late and had to rush around to get to school on time. His younger daughter threw a bag of rice in the microwave but decided to cook it for two-and-a-half or three minutes “so it would still be hot by the lunch time.”

Those microwaveable pouches are supposed to go in for a minute or maybe a minute and a half. Younger Daughter’s rice pouch wound up exploding in her backpack, and to add insult to injury, she forgot a spoon. So she had to eat rice out of her backpack with her hands, orangutan-style.

I laughed my head off at that part. I haven’t had to eat rice with my bare hands, but lunchbox explosions and forgetting cutlery was a normal part of my life back when I was a kid.

A couple years ago at a work carry-in, one of my coworkers brought in Uncle Ben’s ready rice. At this point I had only tried microwaveable Velveeta mac ‘n cheese (a staple from college I have zero desire to eat now), but I’d never thought of microwaveable rice. Honestly, I always thought of ready rice or Instant Rice as being the only way you could make rice if you had a hankering for it but were short on time.

The world opened up for me that particular day, and now, when I’m short on time or cooking for one, Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice is my saving grace.

Then I met my boyfriend and got into a relationship. He and I share cooking duties, and since there’s two of us, either I make Rice-a-Roni or he makes basmati rice in his rice cooker so there’s enough to share. Off the top of my head I have no idea how many times I’ve popped a bag of Uncle Ben’s in the microwave. Maybe five? There was that one time I made rice pilaf for him to try, and on chicken sabaz night it’s faster to put two bags of basmati or jasmine rice in the nuker. But I’m starting to ramble. Moving on …

My boyfriend is on a guys trip in New York City. He and his friend flew out early this past Saturday morning to stay with their third friend who lives in the Bronx with his wife and cat child. Two years ago Sam I went down to visit Bronx Friend when they were living in Richmond, Va. We had a blast, and since they moved to NYC, Sam had been wanting to go visit. I had some reservations about going to New York, and since his best time to go would be when I was likely starting a new job, the timing just wasn’t good. So I encouraged him to take their other friend who has been to NYC before with him so the three guys could enjoy a guys trip of sightseeing and jazz performances in the evenings.

Mr. Sam has been sending me pictures of the sights and videos from the performances, and I’m glad he and the guys are obviously having a great time. I talked to him yesterday, and prior to us talking, I hadn’t missed him. He was having fun and I knew he’d be home soon, so I didn’t really see why I should be missing him.

However, after talking yesterday afternoon, I started to feel a little sad. He’s coming home tomorrow afternoon, but yesterday, that felt a lot longer away than it actually is. And I was on day two of having a stressful day at work, so the emotions were pretty jacked up before the call anyway.

My boyfriend being out of town then left me with the conundrum: what am I supposed to make for dinner this week?

As I stood in the rice aisle, picking up my Rice-a-Roni for the honey garlic salmon I’ll be making for us once he’s home, I saw them. The Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. The shelf was beckoning me, and I said screw it. After working until six o’clock and coming home to Marina – who only wants her Fancy Feast and to watch the birds out back – there is no need for me to cook a glorious meal and spend all evening in the kitchen cleaning up after it.

Monday night’s dinner: a bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Spanish Rice, with a side dish of two leftover Entenmann’s devil’s food donuts my mom sent me home with after visiting her last weekend. I wanted some chocolate therapy and figured that since I did an hour on the elliptical and worked upper body, the donuts wouldn’t kill me.

Last night (Tuesday’s) dinner: a bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Rice Pilaf, with a peaches and cream fruit cup as dessert.

Tonight’s dinner: a bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Basmati Rice, with mild butter curry sauce on it. Dessert will be the peaches and cream fruit cup.

The highlight of my week, aside from getting pictures from Sam, has been not having to cook and microwaveable rice.

Let it be known reader-friends that when the men go off on trips for business or pleasure, women relish in the opportunity to not have to cook dinner if they don’t want to. I’m going on night three of rice and I’m still just as giddy for my rice today as I was when I picked them up at the store. It’s not me time, it’s not girl time or any other time that I’ve been living for this week.

It’s microwaveable rice.

And now that I’ve put this out there, it is time for me to get ready for my work day. I hope you all have a wonderful day ahead and remember: when in doubt, rice.

Yours in writing and running,


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