My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

Remember the 25-pound bag of rice that my son insisted on buying at Costco two months ago when I took him shopping for new apartment supplies for him and his two roommates? Remember how I bet him 20 bucks and a rice-and-beans family dinner that half of that rice would still be there by New Year’s Day?

Guess what, people? I peeked in his pantry the other day when he wasn’t looking and THE BAG HAS NOT EVEN BEEN OPENED. He hasn’t boiled enough rice to feed a goldfinch! We had a little “conversation” and it went something like this:

Mom to Son (casually leaning against his kitchen counter): “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you — I picked up a great rice cookbook for you at the bookstore the other day. I’ll give it to you the next time you drop by.”

Son: “Hmmmm. OK. Thanks. But that really wasn’t necessary.”

Mom: “Au contraire. You and the guys must be getting SO tired by now of rice and beans. This cookbook has recipes for Caribbean chicken and rice, Puerto Rican rice, Cajun sausage and rice and sizzling Chinese rice soup. There’s even a recipe for Indian rice pudding. Damn. I probably should have picked one up for myself.”

Son: “Well, you could keep that one. There’s nothing wrong with rice and beans. We’re seriously doing fine.”

Mom: “Oh, no — this is a gift for you! I’ll just borrow it, sometime. You know, I’ll probably have to take you shopping for another bag of rice soon, because once you guys try these recipes, you’ll be going through rice like Greeks at a double wedding.”

Son (smiling): “I seriously doubt that.”

Mom: “Black rice cakes, wild rice soup, Indonesian sticky rice, rice salad, Italian saffron rice …”

Son: “OK, I get it! Enough with the rice. I’ll look through the cookbook. But we’ll probably end up sticking with rice and beans.”

Mom: “Rice with black beans, rice with kidney beans, rice with lima beans…”

Son: “Arrrrgh. Would you STOP!”

Mom (bursting into laughter): “You haven’t touched that rice yet, have you?”

Son: “Nope.”

Mom: “Why not? Are you holding out for the apocalypse?”

Son (laughing): “Something like that. Actually, Ben also bought a big bag of rice. We’ve been using that. Can that count towards the bet?”

Mom (lightly giving son the “Elaine Benis shove” from “Seinfeld”): “Get out! No way! Only one 25-pound bag of rice is allowed per bet! And said bag has to be one that I actually bought for you. Yup!”

Son: “Well, I still have three months. I can still win that bet.”

Mom: “Only if you invite 500 people over for jambalaya. Want the cookbook?”

Son (deeply sighing): “All right. I’ll take the cookbook. Do you have a rice cooker I can borrow?”

Mom: “Only if I’m invited for dinner.”

Son (sighing more deeply): “OK. Deal. But only on a night when I don’t have to study.”

Mom: “In other words, never?”

Son: “Well, I do study a lot. But maybe on a Sunday sometime.”

Mom (hugging son): “Perfect! Middle-eastern rice with chicken and olives?”

Son: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.” 😊❤️

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