Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Most Unexpectedly Fantastic Gift Ever

Once upon a time when I was in some sort of melancholy funk in college, my BFF and roommate Cyndi cheered me up with a gift. As posted about here, I adore food. We were college students and did not have nearly the refined taste that we do now, but Cyndi knew that a food related gift would definitely cheer me up.

Ice cream maker? Nope.

Fondue pot for melting chocolate? Negative.

Margarita glasses? Not even close (we already had some...college students in San Diego, silly).

So what could this food related gift possibly be?

A rice cooker.

Yeah, you read that right. I'm not sure why it was the perfect gift at the time. Perhaps I was in some sort of Asian cuisine phase, but I do know why I remember this particular gift over the dozens (hundreds?) of gifts she has bestowed upon me over the years. It was perfect because Cyndi knows me. She knew that at that moment, a rice cooker would cheer me up, make me laugh and fill a need. (Mmmmmm, starch.) There is probably no other college student who would be touched and dragged out of a funk by a rice cooker. There is nothing particularly sentimental or romantic about it. It is not really fun. It isn't even an everyday item.

But you know what? Yesterday was supposed to to be my big kitchen reveal and first home cooked meal in almost a month. But it wasn't. Well, not entirely. The plumber was on another job so the dishwasher, gas dryer and gas range couldn't be installed. And the appliance store installation guys "don't do microwaves," (which begs the question, what do you do?) so I didn't have any sort of cooking appliance.

Except for a super handy rice cooker.

Which I busted out because, dammit, I was going to eat a meal prepared in this house.

While it was nowhere near a gourmet feast (lunch meat and rice), it was prepared in my home.

It amazes me that this rice cooker still works. Heck, C and I are starting our 12th years teaching, so that thing is at least 13 years old. Every time I use it I think of my dear friend Cyndi. When its time is up and it goes to the appliance superstore in the sky I'll probably shed a sappy, sentimental tear or two. And I don't generally cry. I especially don't cry over dead appliances. I do, however, cry over things that touch my heart.

My last trip to San Diego before moving to VA in 2002.

It is funny the things that matter to me. You wouldn't expect a rice cooker to be memorable. I think, though, that C could have given me anything from the heart. All she wanted was to make her friend smile (and possibly have said friend make her dinner) that day. Instead, the little rice cooker that could has made me smile for the past 13 years. Every time I make rice I think of my roommate and dear, dear friend giving me a rice cooker and I can't help but ponder what the heck I was so down about. It was probably a boy, but it could have been a B on a paper. Who knows.

September of our sophomore year. 

C herself has made me smile for going on 20 years. The true gift there is honest to goodness friendship! I'm pretty bad at keeping in touch, but we've remained close over the years. I cherish the time we spend sneaking in a phone call and the emails genarally make my week.

And in a not so surprising twist, as I started writing this last night, I got an email announcing her first comment on my blog. Welcome, C. I hope you're not embarrassed to be the topic of my post. It just goes to show that even being 2703.94  miles apart (thank you Mapquest for that precise factoid) we still share one brain at times. And because you encouraged photos, I went back and found some of us. Be careful what you ask for!!!

I left half my brain (and heart) in CA...

So what was your most unexpectedly fantastic gift? Anyone else shed tears over silly things/appliances?

Heck, why not one more photo for the road? C and I on our way to prom. We had dates even if it looks like we went together.

Picture of a picture. Prom May 1996.


  1. what a great story of a wonderful friendship

  2. It does look like we went to prom together! Aw, that was sweet. I think I need a blog pseudonym, though, since you revealed my exact location. I'm glad the rice cooker made your day. I thought of you at dinner too because we had stir fry and dumplings served on a bed of.....Chinese CRONCHY noodles.


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