While the title may have piqued your interest with the promise of a discourse on the menu at your local monastery, you may be disappointed to discover that this is actually in reference to the greatest of San Francisco treats. Yes, Rice-a-Roni. Granted, I have had tapas and Brazilian takeout while in the City by the Bay. Even hot chocolate in Ghirardelli square. But I've had to return to my humble home to partake of the legendary culinary delight.
Ok, ok. I got a little carried away. I just wanted to make Rice-a-Roni sound a bit more interesting than it really is. I grew up eating it, then went years without it, before returning to it recently after finding it on sale for $1 per box. A full meal for mere pennies! So it has little or no nutritional value and an exorbitant amount of sodium. If the food industry doesn't care, why should I? Usually I prepare it with some diced chicken (see previous post) and some vegetables, but I went bare bones last night. No gussying, no fancifying. Just plain ol' Rice-a-Roni. And, to be honest, I liked it. Would I want it every day? No. Would I serve to high-ranking guests? No. Not that I ever have high-ranking guests, but you get the point.
There are books, movies, TV shows, you name it, about the quality, or lack thereof, of the food that we consume in these modern times. People lament the invention of the TV dinner as the beginning of our downward spiral. Maybe it was. But my opinion on items like Rice-a-Roni, TV dinners, and fast food is that it is what it is. I don't whip up a box of dehydrated starches, with a packet of dehydrated "flavoring", expecting a 3-star meal. It is what it is. It's cheap and it's filling. And that's undoubtedly why I bought it. Don't get me wrong, I can be a food snob. If I'm spending $30+ for a plate of food at some hoity-toity restaurant, I'll critique it up one side and down the other. But, if I pay $1 for a box of Rice-a-Roni, I accept what it is and know that I've at least got a full belly. Not everyone is so lucky, especially now. I may not be so lucky in a few weeks, when I'm down to a jar of mustard and some microwave popcorn that I can't make. Until then, I will proudly eat my Rice-a-Roni, and I will just as proudly admit that I can't wait until it's gone and I can eat something else.