As I've mentioned before, I have nothing but emergency food in my pantry at the moment. So far I've managed to do all right. There's definitely nothing fancy, and I have gone out a couple of times since last week, but for the most part I've been eating peanut butter toast and soup and it's all been fine.
Then, yesterday, the worst happened: I ran out of soup. I wanted something a little bit more substantial than peanut butter and was too cheap to order in, but I had rice and tuna fish and black beans and sweet corn and chunky tomato salsa, so I decided to throw that all together. I've made a million variants on this dish in the past, including one with (admittedly not canned) tuna, so I figured it would be serviceable, if nothing something I'd ever serve to anyone else.
It was (is. I still have a nearly-full pot of it sitting in my refrigerator judging me) a tire fire of a meal, y'all. I fucked up on so, so many levels.
First, I decided to cook the rice on the stove top. I've done this a couple times before, but I also very firmly believe that minute rice is a gift from God. I had several cups of leftover Texmati from a few weeks ago when I prepared an actual meal for actual people, and thought it would be a good idea to just kill that while I had the chance.
I did not rinse the rice. I did not use enough water. I did not use any oil to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. I did not cook the rice long enough. I need to buy a rice cooker immediately. My rice came out an unevenly cooked, bottom-layer burnt mess.
Okay, I thought to myself. This is salvageable. I have to cook everything else, to, so I might as well just let the liquids from all the other stuff finish cooking the rice.
I added the tuna, as one does. Then I added beans. The beans were not black, though. I had three cans of beans in my pantry—two black, one of Bush's Original Baked (with bacon!) that was purchased by unknown persons for probably nefarious purposes. I used the Bush's.
I stared at the abomination in horror. I almost cried. I decided not to waste my sweet corn or my yummy salsa. Eventually I bit the bullet and stirred everything together, trying to convince myself that it wouldn't be so bad.
I lost my appetite, but forced myself to eat a couple of bites. It was that bad.
But because I am cheap, I couldn't bring myself to toss what ended up being quite a lot of food without at least giving it the college fraternity hazing try. I stuck the entire thing in the fridge and tried to pretend that it didn't exist.
I got home this evening and forced myself to eat another few bites. It was still bad. I wondered if maybe it would be better if I warmed it up. It was not better. I added salt and pepper. Still no good. In a fit of desperation, I topped the whole thing with tarragon, which makes everything better.
Tarragon did not make this better. Nothing can make this better. This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad meal. I hate myself for preparing it. God hates me for preparing it. My mother, bless her heart, will hate me if she ever finds out I prepared it.
Civilizations will fall if this dish ever makes it into our wider culinary consciousness as anything less than a cautionary tale told by drunk college students in questionable kitchens.
Learn from my mistakes, ladies and gentlemen. Rinse the rice and read the goddamn labels.