I like to go to my local health food store in Franklin, NC.  I buy luxury items. I buy things I don’t even look for in my regular grocery store and sometimes I buy something novel to try. I have a few standbys’ that are luxury, like walnut and grape seed oil by La Tourangelle. I buy chocolate bars if they happen to be on sale – dark, of course. Occasionally I buy specialty pasta [John was born with a pasta gene] and sometimes bulk items.

On one of my town trips, I stopped in to browse the healthy stuff, the supplements, my oil and the goodies, set out to entice me into spending.

In the bulk area that day, I noticed black rice.

At our house, wild rice – the absolute real deal – is a staple and as black as I had ever cooked.

SIDETRACK:  I order it in bulk from Wisconsin, 5 lbs. at a time; repackage and we eat it often. I give it as gifts too. I can blame my Northern sister on developing our ‘wild rice taste’.  It takes a long time to cook, but always worth it. No family holiday meal would be complete without wild rice. [Boil in water to cover, a cup or more plain wild rice till tender to taste – it does NOT have to be puffed and open, just nicely tender. Drain. Into a skillet, using scissors, cut ½ lb. bacon and fry till crisp. Remove bacon, and add, give or take, 1 cup of chopped onion, 1 ½ cups chopped celery, ½ cup slivered almonds [she adds sliced mushrooms-I would never]. Saute several minutes, add back your drained rice and bacon and serve. You will notice I never said to pour out the bacon grease, but you can adjust and / or include some butter as you like. Some bacon makes lots of grease, some not so much. This reheats nicely. I will eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.

Back to the health food store:  I checked out this black rice and moved on down the aisle. Soon I was back, checking the price and wondering how to cook this rice, when another customer in the store quietly said to me “you can’t buy that, of course,…’s Forbidden”. He was right too. The rice was called “Forbidden Rice”, plain as day on the label.  So, being a shopper AND female, it was pretty much a given that I would be buying “Forbidden Rice”.  It might end up tasting like sewage, but how could I be deterred?

I bought a ½ lb. of Forbidden Rice and took it home to sit for ages in my cupboards along with my plain white, my basmati, my rice-a-roni  [yes, I buy that too, sometimes] and my wild rice. I shelved it to the back a bit, not prominently to the front of the shelf. Because… know why……it was Forbidden. What if someone saw it? What if I had to explain buying that particular rice? What the heck was I going to do with it?  What recipe would disguise that it was forbidden? Dare I serve it to company? And tell them!

Turns out Forbidden Rice is just black rice – no special flavor. I know I cooked it, but whatever I cooked wasn’t the standout recipe that would stick in my mind.

The very best attribute to that rice was its name – and all the fun of it; being warned in the store, admitting to the purchase at the register, storing it at home and serving it, too.

This just goes to show a number of things.

1] I will talk to any stranger at the store, even when the talk turns to “forbidden” things.

2] It doesn’t take much to get me to part with money.

3] I can stash food for months before digging it out to cook.

4] If something is “forbidden”, I just can’t leave it alone.

5] If I can write a blog post about rice, I’ll probably write about anything.

If you go shopping your local health food store, you should be aware there could be forbidden things just waiting to accost you. And you have my permission to warn any other purchasers, “THAT RICE IS FORBIDDEN, I’ve read you shouldn’t buy it!”


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