One Good Meal


“Welcome to how 90% of the rest of the world eats,” we told our children today at the dinner table. Sitting in front of them was a heaping hot bowl of brown rice topped with pinto beans.

Today at church we heard a few stories about valiant, faithful, god-fearing individuals living in far-off countries, who sacrifice so much so that their neighbors might eat. These people consider themselves blessed to have, “one good meal a day.” The rest, they give away.

On our drive home, we asked the kids how we would do if we only had “one good meal a day.” They began to expound on their charitable aspirations when their idea of “one good meal” became obvious. It was the equivalent to my idea of a luxurious Thanksgiving dinner.

That’s when Paul and I decided it was high time to teach the kids how the rest of the world eats. I busted out my electric pressure cooker, feeling grateful already for my favorite kitchen appliance. (I’m pretty sure this 90% I keep referring to doesn’t have one of these babies to cut down on their cooking time.)

“The food we eat from other countries,” I explained,  “like our favorite Chinese take-out or our favorite Mexican eats, these foods are those country’s fancy foods. It’s what they cook for wedding and parties, but it’s not what they eat everyday. It’s too expensive. Instead, for optimal nutrition and economy, they eat this. Beans and rice.”

High protein, high fiber, complex carbs, low fat, filling, and all for pennies! Whose ingenious idea was this? Why didn’t we think of this before? (Oh, that’s right. My water-tight statistic of 90% of the world’s population has indeed thought of this before.)

Andy and Kate, to my delightful surprise, found the meal quite palatable with the proper seasoning and gobbled their helpings down. They even licked the bowls clean. Luke and Dean were harder sells, but we assured them this would be their “one good meal” and the kitchen would close for the night. With lots coaxing and a sprinkle more of salt, they got enough down their gullets to ensure proper energy levels.

In fact, the children’s energy levels are so high right now, my brood is currently building an elaborate fort in the living room, employing the help of every blanket and couch cushion in the house. The true test of this simple, nutrient packed entree will be if these energy levels continue when I say it’s time to clean up.

I have a friend who told me this was their Christmas Eve dinner tradition: Nothing but a bowl of beans and rice to help them remember the poor and fill their hearts with gratitude for the upcoming indulgent breakfast and presents. (Not to mention a load off that mother’s plate for the day!) I loved it.

There are plenty of leftovers. I plan to incorporate the beans and rice in this week’s menu line-up although it was pretty fabulous on it’s own. Anyone know any recipes? If not, don’t worry. I can always freeze the rest for Christmas.



2 responses »

  1. Love this! I actually lived in Brazil for a year for college and learned how to make rice and beans there. Here’s a recipe for Brazilian beans: 1 lb. beans (black or small red), 2 qts. water. 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbs olive oil. I soak my beans in 1 qt water overnight. Drain and rinse. I put my beans in the crockpot on high with 1 qt water. Black beans usually take about 8 full hours to cook. (or cook them in the pressure cooker). After they’re fully cooked, take a large pot and heat the oil. Add the chopped onions, garlic and salt. Saute until onions are almost tender. Add beans (no juice yet) and saute until all the beans are seasoned evenly. Add enough bean juice until the beans are just barely covered. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Yum!

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