BY Led Black (@Led_Black)
Over-beaning is an actual thing for most Dominicans. It is a consideration of the utmost importance. It technically, could be the difference between a good meal and a bad one. The proper ratio of beans to rice is an essential component of what is called our bandera (flag), our national dish; which is literally rice, beans and meat. That makes this whole notion of over-beaning a matter of national, and since the Dominican Diaspora has spread across the globe, even international, significance. If someone is serving you and they give you too much beans in proportion to the amount of rice on your plate, you may really want to hurt them for so wantonly destroying the vital balance between your rice and your beans. What I am trying to say is that it’s like Yin and Yang man. Don’t you get it? That’s how deep this rice/beans harmony thing goes.
The conundrum is that what is over-beaning to one person is under-beaning to another. For some people, my mother-in-law included, there is no such thing as over beaning. The more beans the better. Who needs rice anyway? Put a few grains of rice in there to call it beans and rice. But it’s not. It’s really not. And you know it. Anyway, in this vile concoction, rice is a mere after-thought. It amounts to a pitiful amount of rice basically drowning in the onslaught of a tempest of beans. This is a senseless atrocity committed against innocent, helpless little granules of rice. That is just wrong, profane and should be illegal.
There is also a crucial difference between an accidental over-beaning and an intentional over-being, which is straight foul. For example, like when this witch – you know what I really want to say but I know she is going to read this and she scares me (someone help me please) that I am married to – decides she wants to give me one small scoop of rice and a veritable tsunami of habichuelas because she is waging a culinary jihad against white rice and wants me to eat less of it. But I digress. There is only one fix to over-beaning and that is over-ricing but then you don’t have space on your plate for anything else.
Old school Dominicans like my mom prefer what I liken to a lake style of rice and beans landscape. On one side of the plate you have the rice and on the other side you have a lake of beans coming into contact with each other in the middle of the plate. The whole point of this arrangement is to kind of combine them as you see fit. Like I said, that is the old school version of the proper rice and beans configuration. Most people tend to go for an all hands on deck approach of putting your beans directly on top of the rice so the two essential elements can engage in gastronomic intercourse if you will.
Let’s be honest though, the Beyonce of the rice/beans dichotomy is definitely rice. Rice is the star of the show. Like I might eat rice without beans but I would never, ever, ever ever, eat beans without rice. Only weirdos, like my dear wife and my middle child Leila, do wild ish like that. These nut jobs will eat a whole bowl of beans sans rice. Yuk. The insanity.
Anyway, while we are on the topic of rice awesomeness, then it is imperative that we discuss concón. Concón is the crispy delicious rice that forms at the bottom of the rice pot. The name comes from the sound made from the scraping of the concón from the bottom of the pot. Concón is basically the culinary equivalent of rice crack. When you hear your mom going to town on the bottom of the pot in the kitchen you know you are about to be blessed with that good shit. Homemade concón is the best, few restaurants sell concón and if they do, it usually isn’t any good. Concón needs to be consumed fresh from the pot. In fact, there are few things better than eating said concón right in the pot from whence it came. Throw some beans in there, some meat and you are having a food fiesta eating straight from the olla. People in my family will fight for concón. There are probably multi-generational blood feuds that started decades ago in Quisqueya over concón. It is that real. Dominicans love concón.
Oh and one last thing on this whole rice soliloquy, this paean to rice. Fuck brown rice. You ain’t real rice. Why do you even exist? You are the Toby in this rice/The Office metaphor. The whole gist of this ode to rice does not apply to you. You are the worse. GO fuck yourself brown rice. You suck. The end! I can’t write anything else. Why do you ruin everything brown rice?
Dominicanese 101: A Primer on the Lingua Franca of the Dominican Republic & its Diaspora
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