Necessary Luxuries

Necessary luxuries, luxuria, or in other words: What makes you happy?

For my mom, it’s a hot bath, the hair salon and cream. According to her these things are vital for her mental and physical happiness. For my dad, it is taking his friends out to dinner. For my friend Maddy, it is dark coffee, cloth napkins and dancing.

My current necessary luxury of choice is a juicer.

For Alain Ducasse, it is Acquerello Rice (


This past week, my class spent a week learning about rice or more specifically, carnaroli rice. From the big boys to the modest men, from the production to the transformation, it was an exciting dive into the world of the second largest produced cereal of our time.

Above: Aging Acquerello rice

Rice usually costs about $2.00 per pound. One pound of Acquerello rice costs $10.00. This difference in price is due to a number of factors:

1. They age their rice- and therefore must make up for the cost of time

2. They do not have a large production (140 hectares)

3. They re-unite the refined rice with the germ- a special and difficult (24 step) process

Still, with all of the justifications listed above, my classmates struggled to accept the price of the rice and continually poked Piero (head of acquerello).

Above: Piero

After a long discourse by one of my colleagues about how this product is not meant for the average rice consumer and how it is only affordable to a few because of its “elitist” price, Piero responded by saying, “Our product must not be seen as a luxury but rather as a necessary luxury.” This got me thinking, what is a necessary luxury and is not reflecting upon those two words a luxury in and of itself? At that moment, the same colleague lit up his usual cigarette of the hour. And luckily thanks to the sound of the lighter and the smell of tobacco, I realized that he may not be willing to pay $10 for 1 pound of rice but $9.00 for a pack of cigarettes is not a problem.

Are cigarettes a product for the elite?

Or are they too a necessary luxury?