Thursday, August 25, 2011

Forgotten Skills Or Wives Tales 3 ?

Growing up in Louisiana rice was served at many meals. It was locally available and cheap. Rice was served with gumbo or always with meat and gravy. Occasionally in casseroles, stuffed peppers or squash and that yummy rice pudding. Potatoes were grown also but didn't keep as well in the heat and the harvest was iffy depending on the amount of rain you got that year. Too much rain and they rotted in the ground. There are no cellars in the ground like here because the water table is too close to the surface. Our farm had not one but three natural springs on it or flow wells as my father called them.

 Sweet potatoes were a must and the garden always had several rows. My father told stories of during the depression that is what they took to school in their lunch tin was baked sweet potatoes. Many households made it through the hard times on sweet potatoes. 

Many people say they can't cook white rice. I cook it regularly but I wash mine first. My mother always said it was to wash away any bugs and also to get rid of some starch. When you first put water in your rice see below how white the water turns.

I rinse it several times until the water is clear enough that you can see the kernels in the bottom like below. I pick out any dark kernels. 

Then I add salt and a little butter and simmer it just until it is soft. If you overcook it then it will be gummy. Then I pour it into a colander and wash it with warm water. Nobody else I know rinses their rice at the end. My rice is always light and fluffy though.

How do you cook your rice? Or do you cook rice?

Also Ginny is right if you wash your grits the same way they will be much creamier and try cooking them slow in cream or milk. Don't boil just simmer it (low and slow) . Always remember to add the salt in the beginning too or mama said it was too late! Of course since mama always had a "little jersey" cow in the barn we always had lots of thick cream. It was added to the grits or oatmeal, poured over biscuits with pure cane syrup and added to rice for that rice pudding or bread pudding. 

How did your grandma cook grits and how were they served?

I have never understood those electric rice cookers you see in the stores. Anybody own one?  

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 


  1. I never wash before or after when I cook rice and I think it comes out very nicely. I guess I'll try it the next time and see if it improved the taste. I owned a rice cooker years ago and the rice always came out perfect, but I thought it was too messy. The sticky, starchy steam would pop thru the steam release hole in the lid and shoot it everywhere. I think I sold mine in a garage sale a few years later and I never looked back. A pot works nicely. Actually, I've found my small enameled cast iron pot (Martha Stewart $70 down to $20 Thanksgiving sale!) works the best. The rice comes out perfect every time, never sticks to the bottom and it cleans so easily! Anyway, thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Being from KY I didn't grow up eating rice, but we eat a lot of potatoes! A friend from LA taught me how to cook rice the very same way you describe and I like it much better. In fact, she craves "butter rice" as she calls it.

  3. Rice! I like it so many ways..sometimes just with a pat (or two) of butter, sometimes along with a gravy made to go with the rest of the meal.
    Some rice I will rinse, and some I don't. I also like cooking rice in the microwave with some canned Black beans. there are many different rices out there today..and learning the features of them is interesting indeed.

  4. Ironically enough one of the few things my grandmama wouldn't eat was rice. I never, ever remember her cooking it.

    I don't rinse it when I cook it, but then again no one ever taught me how to cook it. I just read the instructions on the bag. :-)

    I don't use a rice cooker. Just a plain ole pot.

  5. I always rinse rice before cooking to remove the extra starch. Never have I rinsed grits first, and mine are always good. Sometimes I add just a touch of cream or half&half to my grits just before they're done. Then add butter and shredded cheddar cheese, YUMMY!

  6. Never had (or heard of) grits until I joined the Air Force. I've only tried a bite when my husband orders them in a restaurant.

    We have done boil-in-the-bag rice. We usually cook brown rice. I'm not good when it comes to white rice. Rice is another one of those things I had never had until I joined the Air Force and met my hubby.

    Hubby and I got one of those rice cookers shortly after we got married. Burned the rice the first time and never used it again.
    We just got used to varied results boiling rice in a pan until I found a pan and a way to do them that resulted in more or less consistent results. :)

    So I take it sweet potatoes do better in the south than plain potatoes?

  7. I had a rice cooker but got rid of it because they seem to be meant for very large amounts of rice and we only eat it now and then. It keeps rice warm and out of the refridgerator- ready to eat.
    My husband used to make rice in extra water, boiled it to just soft but all the water wasn't absorbed. He then strained and rinsed it. He learned this way of making it when he lived in Indonesia.
    I'm just learning to make grits and am finding the tips here very helpful.

  8. In Japan, we eat rice three meals a day. It is sticky, short grained rice (sushi rice), not fluffy, long grain rice (Thai rice). I have a rice cooker- here in Japan, there are thousands of them to choose from. I love it.

    Of course you wash the rice 3 times, add a dash of pressed oats and amaranth seed if you want, and set the timer to be ready for breakfast. I never add rice or butter, but some shiitake mushrooms and boiled bamboo shoot slivers are fabulous.

    Leftover rice is frozen after the meal, and used to fill in the gaps when we don't have quite enough, or used to make fried rice when enough is stored up.

    I have tried making rice in a pot, but it never turns out half as well as the rice cooker.

  9. Eric, I imagine the rice cookers in Japan are much better than the ones here in the U.S., since the Japanese do, indeed, eat a lot of rice.
    I like your directions. Not sure of the part where you don't add rice or butter ( ;) ) but the mushrooms and bamboo shoots sounds quite delicious!

  10. LOL! I was in a hurry- I do add rice, just not butter or soy sauce.

  11. Haha. Okay. Soy sauce makes more sense. ;-)

  12. LOL! I do! My husband and I both enjoy rice, but after 11 years of marriage, I still had not been able to master the art of making consistently good rice. Sometimes it would be overcooked and gooy, sometimes underdone and crunchy in the center. Often, I would let it scorch! I BEGGED for a rice cooker, and finally got one for Christmas last year. :-) I make a full pot and throw the leftovers in the fridge. We use it throughout the week until it's used up.

  13. Growing up in the North we did not eat much rice, but lots and lots of potatoes. The next time we eat rice I will wash it first then cook it. I love to learn something new.

  14. I mostly use rice in casseroles. Mom made it a lot for breakfast, with sugar, butter and cream..mmmm!

    We never ate grits...something I still have not developed a taste for...guess I have never had them prepared properly.

    When the men go hunting, they are provided a fresh baked sweet potato in foil for their pocket. Not only keeps their hands warm, but fed them later.

  15. Love rice-but I've never washed it. In these parts-people like to mix sugar and butter in their rice.

  16. My daughter was gifted a rice cooker recently. It makes up a nice batch of fluffy rice. I usually do mine in the microwave, I used to always burn it on the stove. My granny made the best rice pudding. I asked her to write down the recipe and send it to me. Her instructions weren't what I expected. She wrote it down like she cooked. A handful of this, a pinch of that, and mix it till it looks right! I make it like that and it turns out good everytime.


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