By Bryce A. Roni
Ever since Uncle Ben was found lying face down in a grocery store aisle with a sharpened long grain in his back, rude and even thuggish behavior has prevailed among the rice communities of the world. The unsolved murder took place seven years ago in what is now a downtown Minneapolis Whole Foods, and at the time was called Half Foods.
Uncle Ben was a notorious stovetop figure responsible for the intentional overcooking of an estimated 6.3 trillion grains of rice, rendering them inedible. Yet for all his culinary faults, Uncle Ben is still widely credited with having held together a diverse and contentious global rice population.
“His message was that if we cannot love one another, we should at least be civil,” said his granddaughter Marsha diRisotto, a guidance counselor at Beans and Rice Academy in St. Paul, Minn. “And I think history will judge him to have been one of the great civil rice leaders of our time. He made some mistakes, yes he did, but he also brought a significant degree of peace and harmony to rices of many different colors, lengths, and textures: such as white, yellow, red, brown, black, smooth, sticky, short and long grain. With his rare blend of strength and kindness, he taught us to live our lives at a low and gentle simmer. He encouraged us to breathe in and appreciate the mouthwatering aromatic qualities of all rices, not just the rice you happen to be.”
With Uncle Ben’s demise, the temperature of racial (or ricial) relations did indeed rise, turning a benign simmer into a malignant boil. Fear and resentment among superficially different grains led to the various rices retreating into homogeneous neighborhoods, cupboards, and pots—with each rice sticking to its own variety.
Ethnic warlords ruled their own ricedoms. Varietal gangs emerged, with names like The Pilaf Boys, Gangsta’ Rice, Sticky Rice Chix, Fried Alive Rice, Gay Long-Grain Goons, Wild Rice x 10³, Radical Mixed-Rice Mothers for Love, and Boiling Mad Rice Against the Financial Oligarchic Grain.
Out of such chaos and separatism an authentic civil rice movement has emerged and continues to gather steam, with the passage of civil rice legislation a top priority. Great figures have come forth to lead and inspire the movement, such as Mahatma Basmati and Jesus Chrice. Yet peace and harmony remain elusive.
May a good Queen Jasmine appear, fragrant and fluffy, to provide a happy bed of rice for all to lie in and live upon, making possible the recipes of our dreams.