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must there be sauce with rice?

Okay, I come from an Asian background, and having rice to me means having it plain, but that it is accompanying other types of foods (which may or may not have sauces of its own, which could be poured over the plain rice). I have been having it plain since .. since forever. And now, my boyfriend (who's definitely not of Asian background) is insisting that everytime we have rice he must dab it in either butter, or soy sauce (and icky soy too), or something..

How can I get him to understand that rice is to had plain? At least at my table.. he can have his own version of rice on his own!

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  1. It's definitely a regional/ethnic thing. I'm from Louisiana and I grew up eating an awful lot of rice. But, rice was treated pretty much like mashed potato or as an addition to a dish.

    For example, smothered pork chops with rice and gravy -- actually, anything that had gravy was served with rice. Or, the addition of rice to gumbo. A scoop of rice placed on top of the gumbo is the best!

    I ate buttered rice as a side dish often too. We really did treat it just like a potato. Rice was the starch at our table much more often than potatoes.

    When I eat Asian food, I don't put soy or anything else on the rice unless some of the sauce from another dish gets on it.

    Pasta is treated differently in different cultures, so are potatoes and many other items.

    I know that rice and sauce is a particularly touchy subject around here, especially with folks with Asian backgrounds. You'll see a wide variety of responses here.

    Have a great day!

    1 Reply
    1. re: geg5150

      My cajun palate long regarded plain rice as suspicious and/or boring, but then I started eating jasmine rice and good sticky short grain rice. So now I've learned to eat it plain, but I still prefer it with something "on top". Give the guy a break...to each his own. Just don't look when he douses the rice.

    2. You might try serving him less, but I would not get any more vested in his eating plain rice than he should get from getting you to not eat your rice plain. In other words, once you've provided the background to your preference, you should back off control issues here, since they usually backfire in something as atavistic as food. The role of rice in American cuisine is very different from Asian cuisines, and forced cultural re-education would prompt many Americans innately to resist (that's our cultural history erupting there).

      You might find this long recent thread of interest:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/322508

      1. I realize this is sacrilege to some people, but I really like a dash of soy sauce on my rice. I like plain rice too, but sometimes i just crave that saltiness.

        Since having once rebuked a boyfriend for ordering Budweiser when we were out at a fancy restaurant with a wide variety of microbrews to choose from (and really not liking the way it made me sound like a total snob), I've realized that food is too personal an issue to tell people what they should do with it and how they should enjoy it. It's like telling them what their political or religious beliefs should be.

        I knew students from foreign countries used to spicier local cuisines in high school and college who carried around their own tabasco sauce bottles. Nobody took offense, even when they dumped it on the mashed potatoes.

        1. How about a midway option? Half my family came from Japan, so I get the plain rice thing, but have either of you tried furikake? A dry, mainly seaweed seasoning that is sprinkled on the hot rice.

          1. Have him watch "The Joy Luck Club," esp the scene where the white boy friend asked for soy sauce at a family dinner.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PeterL

              Being a white boy who married into a Chinese family, I have committed similar faux pas in the past. My wife is appalled when I and our older daughter put extra sweet and sour sauce on the fried rice we get in the local ChiCanAm combo dinner. I know it's wrong in so many ways, but we like it!