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When Everyone is Not On Board: The White Rice Wars February 26, 2009

So there are five people in my family: myself, husband, two daughters (one away at college) and my mother. She is Japanese-American, in her 80s, and quite attached to her white rice.  For a long while, my husband was the only one who generally didn’t eat the rice (he’s been doing South Beach for almost 2 years, more or less). Then in January, after a big lunch with white rice almost threw me into a postprandial coma, and I started this New Lifestyle, I stopped.  Every night at dinner, my mother would cook up a big pot of rice and then ask, with an undertone of shock in her voice, “You’re not having any?” But my younger daughter loves her rice and would always keep my mom company on the white-rice bus.

But younger daughter appears to be changing her food habits as well. I have not wanted to pressure her in the least, but she is entering the competitive season with her novice rowing team, and I notice she has begun preparing and making salads, and believe me, this is new for her. She’s eating differently overall.

So last night my mom made the usual pot of rice.  My daughter declined, because I had also made pureed cauliflower which is our new stand-in for mashed potatoes. And suddenly my mother was alone with the rice. She BANGED the metal pot lid down on the counter and made us all jump. She was so mad. I think that this new diet is so so threatening and upsetting to her. People who don’t eat rice don’t deserve to be called Japanese, in her mind. The whole thing is intensely disturbing to her. She considers brown rice to be highly suspect and inferior (“hippy food”).

I was reading a profile somewhere (on the WW site, I think?) and a Latina woman was talking about how hard it is to deal with many traditional (Mexican I think) foods because to say no to certain things is like turning one’s back on one’s culture. I think that is what’s going on in our house.

It’s really hard when not everyone in a household is on the same page.

My mom is 86 years old. She doesn’t have diabetes. It’s totally fine if she has her white rice. But it isn’t totally fine with HER if we do not.

Sigh.

PS. If you ask me, the best rice these days is Free Rice, where you get smarter while feeding hungry people who really NEED the rice.

 

 
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