Illustration by Goldsuit
Where did they come from and where did they go?
For many American children of the ’80s and ’90s, rice cakes — stacked in a column and kept in long plastic bags — were an omnipresent feature of home kitchens, preschools, and afterschool programs. I can’t remember the first time I held one, but I also can’t remember a time before I did. Palm-sized disks, they’re the same weight as styrofoam with a scant sprinkle of flavor crystals, salt or maybe cinnamon, dusting the top and coating the crevices between each grain of puffy rice. No matter the flavor, they lack marshmallow stickiness and cloying sweetness of Rice Krispies treats, as well as the bake-sale appeal. There was no right way to bite into a rice cake and definitely no good way to contain the stream of crumbs that rained down from the corners of my mouth. … Read more