Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rice and Beans or Beans and Rice?

I feel that this, my first post and first exciting step into the world of food blogging, ought to begin with some kind of introduction. But how to go about it?

Perhaps I should explain the name of my blog-that will probably be introduction enough! Lets start from the beginning: Why Rice and Beans? Certainly you could have come up with a more exciting and exotic name! Well, as anyone who has perused the wide world of blogs knows, a good food blog will often (although not always) include at least one and preferably two different ingredients in its name. I figured that I should pay homage to my upbringing and mention one of the most famous and satisfying combinations to be found south of the United States border: Rice and Beans. Or is it Beans and Rice? We have to be careful here-the two are not the same!

In Belize there is no doubt that rice and beans and beans and rice are totally different culinary experiences. Rice and beans is a one pot dish-usually white rice and kidney beans cooked together with onions, garlic, and a touch of recado and coconut oil. Beans and rice, on the other hand, is another animal entirely. In this case the beans are slowly stewed with the above ingredients plus, if you are really lucky, a pig tail for flavour, until they create their own delicious sauce-deep in hue and flavour. The rice is cooked separately, the beans are ladled on top, the ubiquitous Marie Sharps hot sauce is poured on, and the meal is enjoyed-almost daily in every Belizean household. Any leftovers become those wonderful refried beans that grace many a breakfast table.

I'd best explain this Belizean part before it gets confusing. I'm the Belizean in Washington DC, of course. And for those who are wondering "where (or what) the heck is Belize?", I have included a map to clear up any geographic problems: map of Central America. Due to schooling and career choices I now spend too little time at home, but my first 18 years I lived on an organic farm on the southern coast. Check out my blog this coming January and you will get to hear all about how nice it is compared to the grey and frozen government buildings of Washington.

I guess the final question inquiring readers might have is why am I starting a food blog? Lets set the stage: After a year of working in Argentina I return to Washington DC and decide that I should get a masters degree. I also need a job-so I land one as a receptionist and administrative assistant. For the first time in my career life, I have a job where for 5 hours out of the day, I can sit around and read at work. This wasn't an accident-the idea is, I can study while getting paid and answering phones. A win-win situation for all. However, my summer class ended a month ago, and now...I have tons of free time. I stumbled upon a food blog and discovered that my love of food had a whole virtual dimension that I hadn't even known about. One led to another. It became an addiction. Every day I had to have my food blog fix. It even started affecting my social life-I would run home and make yogurt or bake bread instead of going out with colleagues and friends. About two weeks in I thought "I could do this! I like taking photographs, I like cooking food-it can't be that hard."

Then reality set in as I realized that studying for a masters degree in anthropology while working full-time might make it a bit difficult to update my blog regularly enough to satisfy my adoring readers! Oh despair! What was I to do? I responsibly decided that a food blog was not to be. But a little part of my brain refused to take no for an answer. It said "You can do it. They wont mind if you disappear for finals. And sleep isn't that important anyways!"

So on a particularly dead morning (today) that little part of my brain staged a coup as I was looking at one of my favorite blogs: Jumbo Empanadas, and I clicked on that tantalizing little link on the upper right hand side that said "create your own blog". 20 minutes later I was uploading pictures from my flickr account. I was hooked.

Now don't worry, I'm not only going to yammer on and on about culture and food and how cool Belize is and how hot it is in DC right now. I do actually cook things and I promise I will take pictures of them and publish recipes and all that fun stuff. So come back soon to check out the latest posting! And if I don't get one up everyday, guess what? I'm probably buried under 1000 pages of reading. But don't worry, Ill be fine.


Brilynn said...

I'm looking forward to seeing some of your South American recipes! And I was looking at your flkr photos, they're gorgeous!

Lyra said...

Thanks Brilynn! Yeah, I like to look at them when its wintertime in DC. Doesnt make me less homesick but at least they arent grey like everything outside...

Alanna said...

Welcome to food blogging! You've got a great start, for sure! It's a warm and welcoming community, ours. Be sure to join the food blog school and sign up for Food Porn Watch and ... and ... you're off!

Lyra said...

Thanks for the tips Alanna...Ill be looking for the food blog it on blogspot or elsewhere?