Cooking Yellow Rice

I pack books while the water boils, my bookshelves now nearly emptied. The move isn’t for a couple of weeks but I’m getting a jump start on the stuff I don’t use. My books I treasure, but I can treasure them secreted away in boxes until we arrive at our new home.

I pour probably too much oil into the pot and cut the bag open; it’s been awhile since I made yellow rice, years now. The bag beckoned my from the shelf in its shiny bright wrapping. Cutting the bag open releases the scents of the raw spices, the saffron, the bell peppers and other vegetables, the garlic, the hydrolyzed corn protein. Cooking processed food isn’t much my game these days but every once in awhile, I fall prey to remembering my mother cooking us yellow rice to have with tacos on special nights. I think they were special because we could afford all of the ingredients.

The pot beckons and I pull back from the bag, from the sharpness of the raw, the dehydrated chicken and the celery extract. Pouring and stirring with practiced hands, I inhale the spices and the fake food products as the boiling water releases their aromas. I inhale carefully, I don’t really want hydrolyzed corn protein to go directly to my brain, but it smells of childhood times with my family and, later, taco nights as a grown up. I’m cooking it now just to have with some cold cuts, but maybe the actual chicken I have slowly defrosting in my fridge will defrost quickly enough to enjoy with the remainder of it. I suppose I could gobble it all now, but the diet plan prefers that I don’t and really, so do I. The package says it’s five servings; I don’t think I need all of that to myself.  At least not in one night.

My cat Sox howls at my left calf, pressing his silken body against my stubbly leg. It’s time for his dinner too, and I crouch to grab the container of his food from the bottom of the rack a few feet to my left. He is very interested in the container and I have to push him back from sticking his little face in and gobbling. He’s as adorable as he is persuasive, and I gently fill his food dish, one that is a kind of puzzle for him to get to the food. It pounds cruel but he eats too quickly, and I don’t want the food to form a brick in his stomach, so he has to paw the food out of the dish to eat it. It’s kind of adorable, him pawing his food out to crunch down. Sox is a tuxedo with a ‘milk chin”, a little white stripe that runs from the chest patch of white all the way to the tip of his chin. It’s beyond adorable. Excuse me.

Fortunately, that’s really all you have to do to make the rice, cover it, lower the heat to quite low, and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. I forgot to set a timer, but I’ll survive. It’s not like I haven’t done this before.