in Hmm Weekly
on April 19, 2021

IN RESPONSE TO our “clobbed-together rice” recipe in VICTUALS DEP’T. (Hmm Weekly for March 23, 2021) we received the following correspondence.

I’ve enjoyed the continued trend of this newsletter becoming more about food. The entry from the 23rd about clobbed-together rice was a great read, and my brain thought it was an excellent name for fried rice. Later I started thinking about why anyone would need a recipe for fried rice. As a Chinese-American from a mixed race household, fried rice was just part of the meal ecosystem. Fried rice is something that grandma would throw together when she had too many bits of leftovers that weren’t enough food on their own. I’m used to people having their own spins on fried rice, and I think it’s the kind of thing that you just need to figure out what makes it good for you.

The idea that this wasn’t just a thing that everyone by default knew how to make threw me. It makes sense in my brain. I have taught people how to make fried rice, and I know plenty of people that have never and would never make it. This, apparently, has not stopped my implicit bias being that everyone that cooks has an approach to make fried rice. It’s been a really awful and weird few weeks after an awful and weird year as an Asian-American, and this short item has me feeling extremely existential about it all.

Anyway, this has been a rambly and self-centered way of saying thank you for this amazing newsletter. I really love it.

Thanks for writing! In our household meal ecosystem, which involves lots of leftover rice, fried rice is a different (and quicker) process than clobbed-together rice. The key distinctions are: active stirring instead of letting the rice sit and form a brown bottom crust; using a splash of shaoxing wine and soy sauce instead of simmering in leftover roasting juices; and scrambling in eggs instead of no eggs. Both have been necessary to get through all the pandemic lunchtimes.