Growing up, having dinner at my best friend’s house pretty much guaranteed a big, juicy steak and a side of potatoes. That’s just the kind of family they were: one of those wholesome, all-American families that ate meat and potatoes at least once a week, every week, always.
The equivalent of that meal in my house, where my Costa Rican mom did the cooking, was a plate of black beans and white rice, with a fried egg on top, cooked just enough so that when you punctured the middle with a fork, the runny, orange yolk oozed out and mixed into the beans and rice.
My mom made this constantly. On nights when she was tired and wanted to make something easy. On nights when my sister and I didn’t want to eat what she and my dad were having. On nights when we asked for it. On nights when we didn’t. On all sorts of nights. Like being dysfunctional, it was just part of our family.
Now, a note about my mom’s cooking: there’s not much that she ever made (or still makes) that I will bother recreating in my own kitchen. I’ve never been that much of a fan of her cooking. She knows it and I know it. But when it comes to rice and beans, well, like 18 years worth of nutty-family memories, I still carry that with me, from the moment I left the nest after high school. The only time I didn’t make this was during my stint in Italy and only because I could never find black beans.
So I dedicate this entry to a culinary staple of my childhood, a reliable standby edible, a satisfying eat of the past in the present, and a testament to memorable family moments centered around food: the good ol’ plate of rice and beans. (This particular one from a very recent dinner at home with Flaneur, who made the egg.)