When I was growing up we almost always had potatoes with dinner. Sometimes we’d have a baked spaghetti and meat sauce kind of thing, or maybe lasagna, but the primary carb was definitely potatoes. Boiled, baked, mashed, scalloped, fried. And they were good! But I remember plain boiled white rice as a rarity, something to be treasured as an unusual treat. I also remember my mom telling stories about growing up in the Depression. One of her after-school snacks was leftover rice heated up with a pat of butter on it. Or cooked with a bit of milk and sugar for a quick sweet treat. No soy sauce back then I guess, which my kids must have on the table with rice.
I just bought another big bag of rice at Costco this morning. I keep it in several different containers with bay leaves to keep the bugs out. Partially it’s cheaper to buy that way and doesn’t go bad. Partially I like knowing I always have a meal around! Rice is definitely a pantry item for me. Leftover rice and meat for fried rice. Leftover rice and milk and sugar for rice pudding. A quick snack for the girls after school. Underneath leftover beans of almost any kind, or lentils, or whatever–for a quick easy lunch. I’ve read, but not tried, that you can freeze leftover cooked rice and it makes great fried rice! One of these days when my freezer’s got space I’ll try that. In the meantime, here’s how I cook it.
Plain Old White Rice
- 1 part rice
- 2 parts water
- a pinch of salt optional
- a pat of butter optional
- Put it all in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir it and turn the heat down about as low as possible, to just barely a simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Stir and serve.
I used to boil the water, then add the rice, but I find it makes no difference if I dump it all together in the beginning and it’s much easier. I can use the same measuring cup if I measure the rice first (so the rice doesn’t stick to the water).
For easy variations, use broth instead of water. This is a great use for those cups of frozen chicken broth you have in the freezer. Also, you can saute the rice in a bit of oil first, with some seasonings, and then cook as above with broth for a pilaf of sorts. I’m still searching for the perfect rice pudding recipe.