About 19 years ago, I brought into this marriage a perfect recipe for Singapore fried rice, one shared by a sweet-but-slow-moving amah, who used to clean my apartment, peel a fresh pineapple, and prepare a pot of her rice and veggies for me once a week back in the 1970s.
Now, fast forward to 1995. My new husband brought into our marriage instructions for his favorite Puerto Rican rice and beans, seasoned with cilantro, capers, cumin, oregano and a long list of other flavorings, including green olives. (Who ever heard of green olives in beans?) Other than rice, the only ingredients our recipes had in common were lots of garlic, onions and hot sauce.
Imagine the way I felt the first time my new hubby spooned a huge scoopful of his Caribbean-flavored cilantro-infested pinto beans over my Asian-inspired fried rice! To put it gently, but accurately, I about thew up all over my perfectly sautéed broccoli spears.
While I cannot speak for all Puerto Ricans, at least for the one I married, there’s no such thing as rice without beans. He even pronounces the three words “rice and beans” like one word: “ricenbeans.”
But, hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it. That’s been my rule of thumb in dealing with more than one new situation in life. And sure, I’ll confess that over the past 19 years, I’ve occasionally thrown a few Spanish-flavored frijoles over some left-over fried rice and veggies myself. (Oh, you have, too?) Today, as we sat at the dinner table enjoying a delicious plate of Caribbiasian fried ricenbeans, I thought it’s a lot like our marriage. It may have taken a while to get used to, but it turned out pretty darn good.