We are almost out of rice. In the past, I probably would have gone to the nearest grocery store, picked up the most convenient bag of generic white rice, and considered the job done. Now that I live with an Iranian, however, I am being educated on the importance of “good” rice.
So far, all I really know is that good rice is long grain basmati rice. Thankfully, however, that is enough to read the labels on the 10-15 varieties of rice in the Persian store! Also, we got an inside tip from the owner of a Persian restaurant here, who sent us to the right store and told us the brand she buys.
So after my German class this afternoon, I walked over to the local Persian food store. Let me just mention that this is a bit intimidating for me. I have spent years eating Persian food, but that doesn’t mean I’m used to shopping for Persian food solo. And I forgot to write down the brand of the rice we wanted. So I greeted the store owner in a mix of German and Farsi (a mumbled, garbled, “Guten Tag, Salaam”) and promptly called my husband to ask him what I should buy.
The bags of rice are mostly labeled on two sides: Farsi on one side and English on the other. I was excited to discover that I could read most of the names in Farsi (before flipping over the bags to make sure I got them right). As I read the labels, my husband and I discussed the options in English. Once I found the one we were looking for, I had a nice conversation with the owner in German about kebab skewers (starting with the question “Haben Sie sikh kabab?” because I have no idea how to say skewers in German!). We discussed quality, price, number … and in the end I purchased some to make kebab for our dinner party this weekend.
There was something kind of exciting about successfully managing three languages in the same transaction. I walked out of the store with a bag of rice, 15 kebab skewers, confidence in my German skills, and renewed interest in learning Farsi. Then, as I walked down the street, I heard a couple of Spaniards speaking Spanish behind me. I love my language soup!