In our Food For Thought course we just finished writing an autobiography of our chosen ingredient; mine was Basmati rice . The purpose of this project was to connect food cultures from our family’s historical backgrounds. In order to do this we researched an ingredient that is most common in our family’s recipes and traced its path from where it originated to our dinner table. During this process I realized how I never thought about the origin of the food I eat. I also learned a lot about rice – which is the main thing I eat everyday. One thing I am very proud of is connecting my family’s history of food to rice and telling it from a first- person perspective. Please enjoy reading my autobiography below and admiring the picture of the main dish of my family, Bryani.
The fact that everyone in the world enjoys eating me, but I don’t think I deserve all that attitude. I have a great history and my name is very respected everywhere but you still eat me. Today I will be talking about my family’s history and where we came from. Right now I am at Marinas house (Iraqi family lives in chicago). I am sitting in a maroon pot filled with water on the kitchen table. I heard Marina talking to her mom today and saying that their lunch will be Bryani. Bryani is a dish made of rice, noodles, eggs, potatoes, and many delicious spices. I will talk more about Bryani further in the story but now let me tell you about me and my family’s history.
Some people say we were founded near the eastern Himalayas and others say we were originated in southern India. I know that I am here, and I exist. My grandmother told me that her family lived in southern India where she was born. She was taken from all the way to China where she grew up and met my grandpa. Around 2000 B.C they both moved to the Philippines then to Korea.
Shhh…. (Silent voice) I hear someone coming over to me…… Ok lets finish talking (said in a silent voice). Wait, where did we leave off ? Oh Korea. After they both went to Korea around 1000 B.C they went to Indonesia and had their first baby – my mom! After my mom was born they took her and lived in Japan. There my grandfather passed away. Persian people came and took my grandma and my mom then, they were both taken to Mesopotamia which means they were taken to Iraq. My mom and dad got married in Iraq, I was also born there. In Iraq people eat a lot of rice and the number one rice they prefer eating is Basmati. Basmati is my family name and proud of owning it. I lived in Iraq, my grandmother passed away in Iraq, and I became famous because of most of the Iraqi food. How do you want me to not be proud of dying at an Iraqi house, in an Iraqi dish?
I believe that we still have more time before I get cooked. Let me tell you about Bryani. This dish is Marina’s favorite food to eat. Last week I heard Marina and her mom talking and Marina asked why Bryani was the common dish in Iraq. She said, “Every time we cook Bryani we eat it with family or friends. This dish has many great memories associated with it.”.‹¹› Based on what I saw and heard I can tell that Bryani is cooked in many ways based on the country. In Iraq itself, each city has its own recipe and the only common thing among them is rice.
Haha aren’t you tired of listening to a 90 year old piece of rice? Forgive me please but these are my last words before I leave and you are the last person I talk to. I believe I only have two more minutes to tell you some more fun facts. Mustafa is Marina’s dad and he is from southern Iraq. Southern people usually love seafood – mostly fish – and they barely know Bryani. With that being said I can still tell you that the main dish they put for lunch always incorporates rice. Now do you see how popular I am? Do I really deserve all that from all of you humans?
Now it’s time to say goodbye! I can feel that Marina’s mom is carrying me and going to pour me into the hot pot to cook me and eat me.
Alright…. bye! it was nice telling you my story! (shouted)
‹¹› -Quote said by interviewee (external investigation).
Habeeb Salloum. (2008). Food of Iraq: Enshrined With A Long History.
Indian spices. (2009). The Origin of rice.
Commodity Online. (2007). China: India’s new basmati export destination.