The way I see it, there are two types of people in the world.There are the people that peek under the lid when they cook rice. And there are the people that don’t peek under the lid when they cook rice. If you don’t believe me, ask your friend how they cook rice. Chances are, they’re either pro-peeking or pro-not.
I’m a peeker. But I didn’t really comprehend my identity as a peeker until several weeks ago when I was following my craving for a hearty bowl of rice and beans. I prepared the beans. Then I stuck a pot of rice on the burner, stepped back and waited for it to simmer.
When about 10 minutes passed, I grabbed an oven mitt, placed my hand on the pot’s lid and started to lift it—just to take a little look at how things were going. However, a sliver of steam had barely whistled out when a shriek echoed behind me and stopped me mid-lift.
“BECCA!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU CAN’T … YOU CAN’T DO THAT.”
It was my housemate. She had watched, horrified, as I had almost peeked. Growing up, she said, her mom had policed her that under no condition should the rice be looked at. Why waste such valuable steam? My housemate even brought out the More With Less cookbook and pointed at the basic directions for cooking rice. “See?” she said. “No peeking!”
Through my first encounter with an adamant non-peeker, I realized my own habit of peeking. For years, I have peeked under the lid before the rice is done because I’m too impatient. I’m too hungry. I’m too rushed. I’m too curious.
In my fourth year here, my cooking style seems to translate into my thoughts for the future. I want to know now what I’ll do after college, where I’ll live and who I’ll be with. I want to know now if the pieces of my developing self will come together. I don’t want to wait—I just want one tiny, quick peek to calm my anxiety.
This fall, I’m trying to trust that in my future, the pot’s steam will do its job; that everything will work out with time. I’m practicing, not peeking. The next time I cook rice, the lid will stay on.