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Uncle Ben Is In Denmark

At the local grocery store in Middlefart, Denmark, Uncle Ben is on the shelf  in a Boil-In-Bag for 19.95 Danish krone. I was looking for items that were familiar to me from my grocery store at home in Gilbertsville Pennsylvania, the United States of America.

Uncle Ben is not related to me. I have an Uncle Andy and an Uncle David. They are my father’s brothers. And I had an Uncle Roy, Uncle Miro, Uncle Walter and Uncle Roman, who are dead.  When I saw the packing that said Uncle Ben, I thought, Ah, Uncle Ben. 

I wanted to purchase the rice and eat it in Denmark, even though I never buy Uncle Ben’s rice at home.  I usually buy rice that I boil with the recipe, 4 cups of water, to two cups of rice.  I don’t buy instant rice, or boil in the bag  Uncle Ben’s Rice.

Gordon L. Harwell, an entrepreneur who had supplied rice to the armed forces in World War II, chose the name Uncle Ben’s as a means to expand his marketing efforts to the general public. Uncle Ben’s Rice was introduced to the market in 1943 according to the article I read in Wikipedia.  Mr. Harwell chose well. The name made we want to buy the rice, even though I didn’t particularly like the product.

Uncle Ben’s image use to represent a domestic slave, in 2007 he was “promoted” to “Chairman of the Board”. I never thought before who the smiling image of the elderly African-American man dressed in a bow-tie was. I now know his face is the visage of a Chicago maitre d’hotel named Frank Brown.

Mr. Brown, your smiling face reminds me of home. And when I get back to Gilbertsville Pennsylvania, United States of America I will buy a box of Uncle Ben’s Rice.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • I’m sitting next to Pamela in Denmark right now, reading this fantastic blog, and would like to share a comment on this post. When I was in New York last time, I also looked for familiar items in shops. I didn’t find many, but then I found a shop run by a guy from asia – it was full of food from all parts of the world, densely packed in a shop that packed more food packages per square foot than I have ever seen before. There they were. The concept of buying Wasa crispbread from an asian shop in New York is, well, it’s New York.

    • That is too funny. Sitting in Denmark next to Lars while he comments on my blog.
      Perhaps Lars you needed to look for traces of Denmark in a store that sells tea pots or toasters. Bodum is sold in the United States, and its design is superior to any products designed by Americans.

      • Now that you mention it, I saw Bodum in several places

  • berdeane

    Eat well my girl, fancy finding something familiar. I miss you.

  • I love to visit grocery stores when I travel. I too look for familiar items. It always surprises me to find so many products from our grocery shelves on the shelves where ever I am.
    Wikipedia satisfies the desire for quick information. Thanks for the details of Uncle Ben.

    • What kinds of food have you found that were the same? Funny how I want so much to see new things, but I always want to see something familiar.