Rice is the most common food item in every Filipino Family's dining table. Yet to be able to cook the kind of rice to your taste isn't all that common or easy.

I have a friend who finished Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from a premier university in the country, who was quite good at her job as a dietician in a well-known hospital and who could whip up cakes, Italian and other foreign exotic dishes yet who is the butt of jokes by her family because she still finds it tricky to cook rice and come up with the texture that her family likes.

Her husband's favorite joke is how she cooked "sumahi" (short for sunog, malata, hilaw) rice (with the bottom layer burnt, the middle layer, soggy, and the top layer, uncooked) for their first meal together after the wedding.

There are those who prefer rice to be soft and tender. Others prefer their rice cooked hard and firm.

To the "expert" it is ordinary knowledge that the consistency of cooked rice depends on the variety of rice, the storage time, the amount of water in proportion to the rice and the method of cooking.

Aside from these, have you noticed how rice which is cooked with uneven fire likewise produces uneven rising? The part which is directly over more heat while the rice is boiling rises more that that part where less heat is received. But once the rice has boiled and the water completely is absorbed, too much heat would result in burning of the bottom. The fire is therefore turned down the moment the water has been completely absorbed. In the dialect, this is called "inin" but no equivalent in the English language can capture the essence of "pag-iinin." (The process of subjecting food to slow even heat.)

The method of cooking rice can be applied to character building. At the start, while the child is growing, subjecting him to trials or fire can develop his character.

One who has had to endure more trials would be one who will be able to grow more fully than one who has had fewer struggles.

However, once one's character has been fully developed, it would be difficult to expose this person to trails, which would be beyond his capacity.

As in the rice…burning would result.

Thus for us, homemakers it would be best to allow our children to be exposed to problems within their capacity while they are still growing.

To curb our tendency to be over-protective may be difficult but in the long run it would help the child face the world on his own when we are no longer around the shield them.

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