Just a few months after my Dad started dating my mom in TX, he moved to Okinawa with his position in the Airforce while my mom stayed in Austin, finishing up her Masters Degree. They dated for a year and nine months LOOOOOOOONNNNG distance, when cellphones and pagers were NOT a thing. They only got to see each other twice during that time before they married and my mom flew blindly across the world to live in a new country as a newly wed. It must have been a good idea because they've been together almost 34 years now.
Before we continue with our story and how it applies to today's recipe, I have a little anecdote from Milt about from their time "dating" (if you can call it that) from opposite sides of the world in the stone age and how he used a military jet and a naval base to call my mom from 48,000 feet over South Korea to avoid long distance charges.
"Back in those days there weren't such things as cell phones, Skype or emails. We wrote letters to each other every day and we've kept them all. It took two weeks from the time one letter was written before an answer would come back.
A phone call cost $3.00 a minute back then, which would be over six dollars a minute today after inflation. We would set up phone call dates through the mail for a ten minute conversation once a month. But I had always been resourceful and when winter training missions took me to South Korea I had a brilliant idea.
I had to fly a practice night refueling mission from a tanker plane so I asked for some extra gas, lit the afterburner and climbed to 48,000 feet. Once at altitude, I tuned in Alameda Naval Air Station in California on the HF radio. An HF radio has very long range but it's very clunky. I keyed the Mike and called out "Alameda Alameda this is Jazz 21 calling on Hotel Fox, over".
A few seconds later I got a reply. "JAZZ 21 this is Alameda, over".
"Roger Alameda, Jazz 21 requests collect phone call to 5-1-2-3-8-5-6-7-1-4, over". "JAZZ 21 standby, over".
Meanwhile, Karen was at home studying for a test when the landline rang. "Hello?".
"Roger, this is Alameda Naval Air Station with a collect call from Jazz 21, will you accept charges, over?" Karen was at a loss for what to do, but after a brief pause she agrees.
The Navy radio operator tells her to "Standby for Jazz 21" and the radio man says "JAZZ 21, you're connected, over". Then Karen heard my voice from half way around the world; "Hey babe, how's the weather in Texas, over?" (That's when the radio man would flip a switch for her to reply.) "Its just fine, over".
And so it went for the next few minutes and it only cost a couple of bucks. It had to be one of the most awkward phone conversations in history but the Navy radio man was entertained and Lord only knows what the North Koreans thought of this new top secret code they were hearing on their listening devices. But being able to hear one another's voices was a real treat"
Well, apparently my mom couldn't resist this modern version of calling up to the castle window.
Before they got married, the other Airforce buddies counseled my dad to not really fix up or furnish his on-base house because, of course, his new bride would want do do all that work. So, right after their blissful honeymoon in Hawaii, they hop on a plane to their new home, in a brand new country on a brand new continent on the other side of the world -- furnished with nothing but a mattress. Needless to say, her reaction was hardly the joyous effect my dad had hoped.
The plus side of this situation was they did get to furnish a home "together." Who am I kidding, I'm sure Karen did it all.
The mark that Japan made on them made its way through all the houses of my childhood and every time I go home I still lay eyes on the beautiful gold-laid floral artwork on the walls, oriental rugs, blue rice patterned dishes, ornate lamps, and a drawer full of chopsticks.
Now, I am not disillusioned enough to think that the Japanese food we made when I was growing up in the states was authentic, but it was a product of an American family that had a mark set indelibly upon them. As a kid, fried rice and Lomein were some of my favorite foods, which, needless to say, is strange for a 6 year old. So when I'm busy on a week night and don't want to spend too much effort cooking, this recipe is one of my go-tos.
You can chop the veggies while the rice cooks, and then just fry everything up together once the rice is done. This post has been sponsored by Sprouts, and you can find all of the fresh ingredients there for this quick and simple recipe.
Loaded Pineapple Rice Recipe
This fried rice is chock full of nutritious veggies and melds spice and sweetness into the perfect combo.
2 cps. white long grain rice
4 cps. water
5T unsalted butter
1 cp. chopped carrots
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. Sprouts Soy Sauce
½ cp. Sprouts Frozen Peas
½ cp. Sprouts Canned Crushed Pineapple, drained
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
2 eggs, beaten
3 green onions, chopped
Drain and rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer until water is no longer cloudy. Combine in saucepan with 2 Tbsp butter and 4 cps water. Bring to a boil and simmer until rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a wok or large skillet. Add carrots, onion, garlic and ginger and cook until onions are translucent and carrots have begun to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add in cooked rice, soy sauce, 2 Tbsp butter and crushed red pepper to pan and cook until rice is golden brown.
Add peas, pineapple and egg, stirring until fully cooked and combined.
Top with green onion and serve.