Cheese & Rice

AP is a 20-year-old student from Austin, Texas. Her mom is a Mexican immigrant and her father is white, but she primarily has lived with her mother and many older siblings.

 ‘Cheese and rice’

AP- Whenever I was a kid my mom’s English wasn’t as good as it is now because she was born in Mexico, so she couldn’t pronounce Jesus Christ. So, instead she would say Cheese and Rice. As a kid, I obviously thought that was the funniest thing in the world, and I have continued to use it as an exclamation ever since.

ANALYSIS: Many sayings and phrases stem from a joke or memory, and it is spread far and wide until the origins are unfamiliar. Most people on the planet probably have jokes about words that their friends or family mispronounced. AP’s mom being an immigrant raising multiple children on a single income was stressful, and there were often probably many miscommunications and issues conversing. While this can be irritating, the best way to change the mood is by lighting it up with a laugh. Cheese and rice was a way for AP to make these communication issues lighter. All kinds of people struggle with miscommunication and mispronunciations, and from those moments hundreds of inside jokes and sayings were created. While using cheese and rice as an exclamation may not make sense to someone unfamiliar with AP’s story, it does not mean that they wouldn’t find the same humor in it or continue to use it on their own. Even without the context, exclaiming ‘Cheese and rice’ when you are upset over something is inherently funny and would help break the tension. Despite never having heard the original context, the people around AP began using cheese and rice as well, because they heard AP use it and thought it was funny or intriguing. Before one knows it, they may be exclaiming cheese and rice without ever knowing what it means or where it came from, because its simple nature makes it a universal comedic button. Simple jokes that come from lighthearted fun can permeate all levels of time and space.