Oversalting rice

–Informant Info–

Nationality: Costa Rican

Age: 47

Occupation: Unemployed

Residence: Los Angeles

Date of Performance/Collection: 2022

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Spanish

*Notes: The informant will be referred to as GC and the interviewer as K. Many parts of this story were told in Spanish and appears here in its translated form, translated by her son)

Background info: GC is a mother of 2 who grew up in a small town in Costa Rica. Her Grandmother, who she heard these stories from, was a believer in natural medicine and related practices.

Context: This story was told to me over drinks in the evening as a final addition to the few she had told me in the hours prior. The informant mentioned that this was told to her my her grandma as a way to embarrass her, so the informant was telling it to her son and me as a way to embarrass us.

GC: I have one more to tell you. *laughter* I hope-I hope it doesn’t embarrass you to horribly *laughter*

K: Oh god *laughter* Go ahead, whats the name of the folklore and how do you know of it?

GC: UH…it was something you just kinda…heard but my grandma she-she was the one to tell me I guess

K: Ok, go ahead

GC: So it goes that uh…ig your like…making rice that if you-what is it over salt or under salt the rice?

Son: You told me over

GC: Right *laughter* oversalting rice means youre in love! So when my son oevrsalted his rice, I-I fraeekd out *laughter* I was like “Oh my God! *waves her arms in the arm* Hes in love!” *Large deep sigh before laughing*.

I think this is really cute! Rice is a large part of so many Hispanic meals, especially somewhere like Costa Rica, so it makes sense that they’d use something more familiar to test if someones in love. It stems from being distracted enough to forget how to do something you’ve done countless times before. I also think that noting the fact this is something, as the informant said “you just kind of hear” around. Its not something dated, or something that only parents say, people will say it to their friends, siblings etc to embarrass them. Its a teasing sort of ritual.