We all knew the day would come. The day I’d have to answer the burning question: why quick cook rice?

Let’s just be honest: there’s nothing really quick about many of my recipes, and I rarely feature rice, so why not something related to veggies or veganism or my zest for life?

Well, here’s the simple and the complicated answer: rice is one of my two last names.

Vegan Stir Fry Rice

And if you’re thinking, “So what? No big deal. What do I care about her last name? I’ll either like her recipe or I won’t.” I’m just gonna clear up a few misconceptions about names.

  1. Names are hugely important. Names define us, determine where we sit in homeroom, and when we’re called upon.
  2. Our last names often become nicknames or terms of endearment. Case in point: I was commonly known by rice on the soccer field.
  3. I did not play soccer. Well, I did, but not long enough or well enough to deserve a nickname. I may not have been good on a team, but my friends often referred to me by Rice.
  4. Our surnames, last names, family names typically signify where you came from and where you ancestors came from. Rice is not a good indication of my ancestry, but that is a story for another time; it involves history and immigration and a confusing number of birth records. And since this post is about marriages and weddings and stir fry, I’m think it’s not a good time.
  5. Unlike women in a surprising number of world’s countries, women in the U.S. will very likely change their name upon marriage. Some women, back in the olden days of 2007, apparently gambled their name’s fate (whether to keep it or not) on the outcome of a bride’s family vs. groom’s family softball game.
  6. No, Soon-to-be-J.D. is not Mr. Soon-to-be-J.D.-Rice, nor is he Mr. Rice. That’s my dad. And his dad.
  7. Yes, I kept my name, my hyphenated name. And my mom kept hers.
  8. No, I don’t feel conflicted, confused or concerned about the decision (though I think that’s probably a valid set of feelings), but I do feel annoyed. Annoyed because people seem to assume that I’m either a girl who hyphenated her own name (which in of itself is fine) and then proceed to call me Mrs. Rice (that’s my grandmother). Or people assume that I’m a freaky liberal girl (girl is a bit of an understatement, but the real word is too graphic for my PG blog) who would never get married (someone with too much time devoted an entire forum to this very topic). Or they assume that I’m a judgement jerk and won’t take the time to understand my motivations. Or they assume I changed my name even though I’ve never once indicated that and proceed to write checks to Mr. and Mrs. Soon-to-be-J.D.
  9. It should be noted that I cannot cash those checks.
  10. You would be annoyed too.
  11. Even if you hate this topic and already have or are planning to change your name and close this browser window.
  12. Here’s the thing: I just wish women would talk about this issue a bit more than never. If you’re into changing your name for whatever reason, OK. That’s cool. But why automatically assume that a woman will change her name upon marriage? I don’t assume that just because your name is Moonshine Sunrise you’re the product of hippie-dippy union on a commune in Vermont.

Now that the tough stuff is out the way, let’s get to the easiest recipe on earth. It’s certainly easier than changing your name, which I hear is quite a complicated process, though you can gift a future bride with this bizarre name changing service. Please no hate mail about name changes. Change your name, keep your name, create a whole new name, move to that awesome compound in Vermont, I’ll like you in spite of your name, OK? I just want to be friends with happy, conscious eaters.

And Soon-to-be-J.D. wants everyone to know that he is not in fact Mr. Soon-to-be-J.D.-Pasta. He also likes rice. Heck, he even married one.

So Not Mr. Rice Easy Fried Rice


(serves 4)

  • 1 package dried oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 t rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu (or soy sauce of your choice)
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Add small amount of a high heat oil to a frying pan or wok.

2. Stir fry garlic, ginger, leeks, and carrots until leeks are soft.

3. Add mushrooms and stir fry till brown.

4. Add rice vinegar, Nama Shoyu, and rice. Stir to combine.


But if you want to marry it, you’ll have to decide whether Mr. and Mrs. Stir Fry works for you.



10 Responses to “Meatless Monday Manfood: So Not Mr. Rice Easy Fried Rice”

  1. I kept my last name as well – it never even occurred to me to change it, so I can totally relate to this post :)

  2. Lady, I hear ya. This is a touchy topic with a lot of people, and I understand why. Challenging the norm on anything is uncomfortable; but it’s especially uncomfortable when it’s a push back against a tradition that’s been taken for granted for so long. I kept my last name, and it can still frustrate me at times when people I’ve had a very explicit conversation with about keeping my last name still address me as Mrs. ___. But, I guess that’s when I take my empathy pill and make a charitable interpretation that it was unintentional ;)

    I think there’s an element of people feeling judged, hence the quick assumptions that we’re a bunch of angry hippies who don’t shave our armpits and want to take over the world with our radical ideologies, right? But really, I agree with you that it’s not so vital that women keep their last names or something, but moreso that we get the conversation moving, and it ceases to be a “given.” The main question we’ve mulled over these past few years of being in wedded bliss is about children… This is way too complicated for a comment, but we’re tossing around the idea of both taking a hyphenated last name so that we share a family name equally. This gets tricky, though, when my husband is in academia and has published/presented; name recognition is important. Wow, long comment. Anyway, just wanted to let you know you’re not alone ;)

    • Love the long comment!

      This issue is a particularly touchy one, and you’re right, it’s probably because it’s an ingrained tradition and very few people outwardly acknowledge the complexity of the whole thing.

      Ah, the kids debate. That is by far the hardest part of all. I love the idea of you sharing a family name, and it’s refreshing that your husband is even willing to entertain that idea. The issue for me is that I’m already a hyphen by birth, so what to do about kids? They can’t have three names. But I also sort of deplore the idea of them having Soon-to-be-J.D.’s last name only. And I think his family would die of shock if we created a new name.

      Gah, this is complicated. And exactly why we should be talking about it.

  3. Good for you!! Why SHOULD women change their names upon marriage? It’s a good question and I commend you for challenging people’s assumptions. I’m not totally sure what I’m going to do when (if) the time comes….On principle I would want to keep my name. The thing is, I don’t love my last name and my boyfriend’s is pretty sweet. As shallow as that sounds, it may sway my decision ha..! We’ll see. I’m getting ahead of myself! But way to start the conversation. I love fried rice…and the name of your blog esp now that I know the story :)

    • Definitely not shallow at all, especially because names can be so powerful (e.g., you have such a strong dislike for your last name). But you’re right, the most important thing is to not assume. I guess that’s what really gets me going! And I’m sure the time will eventually come for you to deal with this tricky situation. :-)

  4. The real Mr. Rice is very proud of his hyphenated offspring! Oh, and I need to start trying some of these yummy recipes.

  5. I didn’t change my name when I got married. And NO WAY I’d hyphenate it. Hi, I’m Stephanie unpronouceablefrenchname-slash-unpronounceablespanishname, nice to meet you! Sure, I’ll spell that for you. Haha!

    When we have kids, we’ll give them my husband’s last name. To be honest, it wasn’t even a discussion, really. My brother has children with our family’s last name. My husband’s family doesn’t have any grandchildren with their last name. So this just seems “fair”, I guess! As a teacher, I see tons of children with different last names from their moms or dads, so it’s not really an issue. (Although perhaps women keeping their own last names is more common in Canada)

    • I really think this must be less of an issue in Canada, because my hyphenated name brings up all kinds of questions and has since the day my classmates realized they had one name and I had two.

  6. Hello Rice!
    Former neighbor creeping on your blog via FB posts. Not a vegan myself, but certainly can appreciate a meat-free meal! Some of these recipes looks great.

    BUT, this post spurned me to comment about my own impending nuptials. I had never fancied myself one to “give up” my oh-so-adored last name. But, after due contemplation, I’ve decided to become Mrs. ____. And, as a sort of self-validation, I’ve determined that I’m not “changing” my name, but simply adding to it. I do like the idea of uniting a family under one surname and that is certainly the driving force behind my decision. Of course, my research publications will continue under “Quinn” and all my friends are encouraged to continue to refer to me by my Quinn-related nicknames. Compromises had to be made! A hard decision, to be sure. I guess, as with veganism, what might be right for one might not be right for all.

    And, for the record, I was more baffled by your lack of a middle name than your double last name! :)

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