30 June 2008


Rice to Riches
37 Spring Street
New York City

Every Fourth of July my aunt has a barbeque and without fail, rice pudding is served- not as “a” dessert, but as “the” dessert as part of our freedom celebration. “I remember how much you like rice pudding so I made it for you,” she gushes. What my Aunt doesn’t know is that each year I take an obligatory bite, smile and say how much I love her rice pudding. Then I wretch behind the shed.

As I grow older, it’s been more and more difficult to hide, let alone stomach, the truth: I hate rice pudding. With all the Independence Day barbeques, friends waxing nostalgic, now Rice to Riches, the trendiest “specialty” shop in SoHo…I can’t escape rice pudding.

Recently my friends forced me into the softly-lit, futuristic eatery on Spring Street. My stomach turned as I reluctantly scanned the vats of rice pudding. I silently wondered how there could be so many varieties of rice mixed with cold goo? “Peanut Butter Pick-a-Peck”? “The Edge of Rum Raisin”?

Succumbing to intense peer pressure, I chose the one option that I felt wouldn’t make me gag. There were no sheds here. “Sex Drugs and Rocky Road” was my choice. Can’t go wrong with chocolate. “Rocky road” prepared me for the texture. “Sex” and “drugs,” too? Everybody’s doing it, so why not?

Once I had the serving in hand, I took a tentative bite using the shoe-horn-like spoon they provide me. With that one bite, I felt —- no, I knew —- that I had it all wrong. I don’t hate rice pudding. I don’t hate rice pudding at all! I hate MY AUNT’S rice pudding. I loved this rice pudding with its soft and smooth texture, the rice playing over my tongue again and again. Oh, I loved, loved, loved rice pudding.

I’m still going to make annual trips behind my aunt’s shed, but I intend to make more frequent visits to Rice to Riches and maybe even pick up some edible rice pudding for my Aunt to sample.

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