Beans and Rice and Tahini

When I was young I worked at a vegetarian restaurant, The Morningtown, which ironically, opened on the day I was born. Ironic, because working there was kind of a birth of my adult self from my teenage self. I learned a lot.

Every day for lunch a nice young woman would come in and order black beans and rice and tahini. We made really good tahini. She never varied her order, but she was a valued regular who ate there every day.

One day, I said to her: “you’re a great customer. Any menu item on the house today, to thank you for your business.”

The thought in the kitchen was that, maybe, she had a tight budget so always stuck to the cheapest item on the menu. Maybe she’d want burritos, or stir-fry, or pizza, all of which we had for a few more dollars (the food was so good there. Seriously.)

Maybe she could take half for dinner, we thought. Maybe she could order a big plate and take it away.

She said “Thank you. I’ll have the black beans and rice and tahini, please.”

“Okay,” I said. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” she said. Then she paused for moment, kind of looked at the ground, then me, and said:

“My life is very uncertain. I like that there is one thing I can count on every day when I’m surrounded by total chaos.”

This woman has been on my mind a lot this election cycle. I’m feeling her. Right now I just want to eat beans and rice and tahini every day.