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Gerardo San Diego - A bowl of rice

My most memorable meal happened when I was still a little boy living in the Philippines. It was in 1972, and as usual there was a food shortage. White rice, which is a staple diet of Filipinos and eaten at every meal, was in high demand, and had to be rationed out. A large truck drove by each apartment building and house, and gave one sack of rice to each household.  Since no stores had rice in stock, we had to make this one sack last until the next ration period.

It was dinnertime, and I had scooped out a kid-sized serving of rice and had put in on my plate. I then poured soup (sabaw) over the rice to make it softer. My dad had boiled some fish (bangos) and put a side of fish on my plate. I then began to eat.

After four bites I realized I wasn't going to be able to finish the meal. I wanted to offer some of my rice to the others at the table, but their plates were already full. And although I knew that you can't recycle rice that already had soup poured over it, I tried anyway, asking my mom if she can somehow "remove" the soup from the rice (moms are pretty good at performing miracles) and put it back in the ration sack, so it won't be wasted.

My mom saw the grief on my face, and told me it's okay, there will be enough rice even if we throw my little portion away. I watched her take my plate to the trash can, still wishing that I'd been hungrier.

To this day, I still eat white rice, and appreciate every grain.

gerardo@interknight.com , http://www.interknight.com

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