March 5, 2008

Colada de Arroz

When I got home from running errands the other day I got to share a rare moment with my boyfriends mother. She was working over the a large pot on the stove, and after greeting each other she showed me her Colada de Arroz and told be what was in it. “Solo arroz, azucar, leche, canela, y pimienta de dulce.” We filled bowls of the steaming colada and put them to cool by the open window. As we ate our treat we looked through the newspaper coupon circular and conversed as best we could.

Our best moments are when we’re alone in the kitchen, working together or learning together. We two women, neither of who speak much of the other’s language, can bond and communicate over the simple task of preparing food. I learn the most Spanish when we’re working with food; it’s our common ground. Often we find that an hour or more has passed and we’ve understood each for most of that time.

Colada de Arroz is such a simple, comforting food. It’s the closest I’ve been to that oatmeal on a winter morning feeling. In America we would call this Rice Pudding, but this is nothing like the rice puddings never liked before, it’s not sticky sweet or gelatinous. It’s like warm, spiced, slightly sweet rice soup. It’s easy and gluten free.

After some cross communication and being translated through my boyfriend, here is the recipe, as I understand it.

1 cup White Rice
½ cup Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
10 pieces Whole Allspice
Whole Milk

Cook rice according to directions with the sugar and cinnamon. When it has 15 minutes left to cook, add the Allspice. When the rice is finished cooking, add enough milk to cover the rice. Stir the mixture until the milk boils. Cool and serve.

I am already imagining endless possibilities for this recipe: brown rice, skim milk, honey, maple syrup, more cinnamon, nutmeg, the list goes one. This could be a filling breakfast before a cold hard day or a warm comforting treat after a long day playing in the snow.

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