Rice is Real by Tamar Weir

Family recipe written in cursive scribbles jammed on the faded lines of browned scrap papers.

      To be embraced,

                  by the sight of Persian queens

Held in the hands of  bold bodies in the


                These queens go by various names,

       dressed in golds attached to loose earlobes,

moisturized fingers, and

                                delicate wrists smoothed in oil. Nothing to brag about but everything to worship.  

 Traditions of feeding, serving, and filling bellies in warmth

         Is at the root of this moment. Readiness comes in the form of

    I am 21 years old,

The time is now

              for me to prepare the mastered basmati rice.

Each grain is washed,



           and strained,

the steam escaping the lidded pots

               invigorating the cafe colored skin of these women

      as it rises and fades into the pores of our loose skin.

The rice is alive,

                         begging to be captivated. washing the room with elevated aromas.

A towel is placed on the lid of the pot,

            trapping the sizzling heat and

       luminous steam,

                    needed for each grain to be cooked.                                                                    Fluffy and golden.

Saffron added by the           bunches,

           need not worry about the thick price at the local bodega

trust the         women. 

Every strand of spice is        worth it.

Dietary restrictions are not welcomed in this deep rooted preparation.


a whole stick of butter,

scoop of yogurt,

canola oil,

potatoes sliced, and

salt only at the                      very end.

Basmati rice feels when you take a

                small bite and reject the rest into the palm  

                                        of the warmed up metal spoon.

A full spoon with grains falling out the corners of your mouth is the only way to ensure.

                                                                 We are caretakers of the kitchen,

                                                                                        carefully selected to craft the

                                                                                                                sacred scents and hues of each dish.

awakening the chit chat needed in between tasks, adding that mystery flavor no man could ever replicate.

The women and creations, all lightly perfumed.

I know the recipe in my body, but I still refer back to the written chaotic measurements of the past. As the seasons shift, and move forward I will no longer need words or precise numbers. I will remember the ingredients that are always in our kitchen.

Tamar Weir was born and raised in Napa California, where she is currently cocreating a sustainable permaculture food forest. With a mixed family heritage, she identifies as a queer mixed woman, dedicated to narrating complex stories through words. Her work has been published in Twanas Magazine, and the Leviathan Jewish Journal. Her work centers around themes of family tradition, the web of cultural stories, and how they play into the present moment.

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