Over dinner, we tell each other about our mothers and rice cookers.

I once took a cross-continental flight with a rice cooker on my lap. It was a modest appliance which only cooked for 4, not 7; miniaturized for the student. At the point of departure, having managed to avoid this thing for weeks, my mother foisted it on me in the most persuasive way possible – loudly, in the middle of an airport, surrounded by airline staff, peers and 475657 other travellers. “Take it!” she cried. “You can’t eat ang moh* food all the time!”

Hers visits with persistent cajoles about adding a rice cooker to the kitchen. “You need one. I buy for you!”

“No, Mummy.”

“How can you cook rice then?!”

“In a pot.”

We chuckle and raise our glasses. The Gewürztraminer is French, floral and honeyed.  On our plates, fillets of salmon beckon, fragrant with maple syrup, herbs and spices I can’t identify, and those I can: chili and cumin remind us of rice.

* literally: “Red hair.” A Hokkien term Singaporeans use for (crazy, non-rice eating) white people.


  1. Patrick says:

    Great story Charlene. Total ang moh here btw.

    1. Charlene says:

      Heh. I was so embarrassed by that airport episode I didn’t eat rice for almost a year afterwards. Apparently one can live without rice!

  2. Willem says:

    Charlene, a month without a new entry?? Something else is cooking besides rice…

    1. Charlene says:

      Mostly just my brain getting fried, Willem :)

      I might write a blog post on the subject… in another month, perhaps….

  3. Willem says:

    Ah yes the brain…. Watch out for overexposure. You will lose the highlights

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