I can tell the mean season’s begun because all the area salt shakers are getting all riced up. That means we’re in for about two straight months of humidity that makes it feel like we’re all living inside one giant dog’s mouth.
I don’t remember salting up the rice when I was a kid, but I do remember humidity so oppressive it turned salt shakers into ketchup bottles; we’d have to pound on the sluggish bastards to get the desired seasoning.
But as much as I hate blanket humidity that simultaneously dampens my armpits as much as my spirits, I enjoy seeing rice in the salt.
It just seems like a neat little granular victory over Mother Nature and I always root for the underdog or in this case the under seed, rice being the seminal part of the monocot plant.
I’m not sure when we started putting moisture-absorbing rice in the salt, but I know it’s at least been a couple of years.
I found this out last night when Josie said I played a malicious rice-salt prank on her last year, one which I don’t remember.
“Yeah,” she said, “I asked you how come there’s rice in the salt and you told me to look on the bottom of the shaker. I turned it over and dumped a whole ton of salt on my hamburger.”
Why I don’t remember that is a mystery. It’s a good little prank, one you’d think I’d have blogged about as soon as I thought of it.
It’s one of those juvenile pranks many adult diners would fall for, like asking for the time from someone wearing a wrist watch while holding a cup of coffee in their left hand.
I read that rice accounts for one fifth of all the caloric intake of every human on the planet.
That seems high to me, but it must take into account densely populated Far East regions where people eat rice three meals a day the way we Westerners eat wings and pizza.
I probably eat one rice dish every week or so.
I make a great spicy New Orleans-style shrimp dish served over rice that’s a big hit with mostly the whole family, the exception being the 7 year old who — she turns 8 on Sunday — pouts till I give her a nutrition-free Pop Tart.
The trick for me with getting perfect rice is to put in a little more water than necessary and then sitting back and being sure not to rush the rice. Boil it and let it sit and never ever peak under the lid. Give it time and the rice will absorb all the water.
The heating is essential, too. You can’t in order to save time just take a spoonful of uncooked rice and wash it down with a glass of warm water, one of the few things I learned in college that stuck.
We were discussing the rice salt phenomenon at the bar the other day when several friends said rice is so absorbent it’s recommended that if you drop your phone in a toilet, you’re to retrieve it, remove the battery and set the phone in a bowl of rice.
It is said the rice will absorb the moisture and you’ll have a nice dry phone with just a slight hint of piquant pee residue.
I’m proud of my daughters, but as I make my journey through life it seems increasingly likely that my greatest achievement will be that I’ve never dropped my phone in the crapper.
It’s a good thing, too, because if I ever do my plan is to just flush repeatedly until the phone disappears.
I’ll not reach into any toilet — even a brand new one with the sanitary strip still on the seat — to retrieve a device I use mostly to order take-out food and check out the baseball scores.
It’s not like I’ll be abandoning Rachel McAdams’s secret phone number or some earnest death-bed message Mandela left me that I play at parties.
In fact, you could argue my phone stores so much crap that dropping it in a toilet is merely putting it where it’s belonged all along.
And I don’t think my dignity would ever recover from the memory of me rolling up my sleeves and reaching elbow deep into the porcelain pond.
Guaranteed, I’d never floss again.
If I was really desperate, I guess I know some guys I could probably pay $20 to fish it out.
If they were still skittish about the task I could share with them a secret I know about phones in toilets where the wouldn’t even have to reach into the toilet.
Just look for the instructions on the bottom.
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