Rice is good. Rice is life. If you want to get a life, just eat rice!

Over half the world eats rice as their dietary staple. I eat the rest. Rice is different from country to country, county to county, field to field. Do as you want, live as you want to live. But I recommend that when you have Chinese food, eat Chinese rice. When you have Japanese food, eat Japanese rice. When you have Indian food, don't eat basmati rice because it feels like wax candle shavings. Ack!

Japanese white rice is especially nice. Nothing is sexier than Japanese white rice so don't bother to tell me differently. There are many Japanese words for rice. A very common one is "gohan". This is also the word for a meal. Why? Obviously, if you have not eaten rice, you have not eaten. (Although I like noodles too.)

So, what other things can we say about rice? Well, rice is sometimes called "kome", but a rice plant is called "ine" (pronounced like "E-nay"). Rice straw is called "ine-wara" or "ina-wara" or just simply as "wara". In the good old days, "wara" was not thrown out but was considered to be precious material for making footware, rain coats, snow coats, floor mats, headwares, toys and crafts to name a few. It was (and is) used for making ropes, including the knotted ropes you see at any sacred area in Japanese Shinto tradition. These ropes are called "shime-nawa", and ropes in general are called "nawa". The tightly knit and strong ropes are called "tsuna" and the sacred ropes worn by the strongest Japanese sumo wrestlers known as "Yokozuna" are also called "yokozuna". The meaning of the word "yokozuna" is "horizontal rope", but you don't say "yoko-nawa", just "yoko-zuna". This probably has something to do with "Yoko-nawa" not sounding strong enough for the top ranked big fat sweaty sumo wrestlers. By convention, the usual spelling is "yokozuna" but to reflect traditional Japanese pronunciation, it could be spelled as "yokodzuna" since the "dzuna" part derived from the word "tsuna" and in the kana writing system, "dzu" is written as a letter "tsu" with two dots. The word "tsuna" is pronounced flatly. If you put the accent on the first syllable, it will sound like tuna fish to Japanese and they will look at you and smile and nod and think you are an idiot. In Japanese "tuna" is "maguro", as sushi geeks know, but Japanese call tinned tuna fish "Tsuna" with the accent on the first syllable.

Uhhhh. I digress. Anyway rice is very very good.

Variation I : Old-fashioned Mama-style
So named for my mama. Boil water in ratio 2(water):1(rice). Add rice. Stir and check often.

This method will be ridiculed and protested. It requires lifting the lid and stiring (but with a wooden spoon, mind you). In the end, it is the least chic way to cook rice.

But if you're a mama or want to cook mama-style, this method can be good. It takes long, long practice, but will work.


Variation II : New-fashioned European-style
This is what every European has suggested who has tried to tell me to how to cook rice. (That's not many -- I don't take no lip on rice-cooking.)

Heat small amount oil in a pot. Add rice. Let rice lightly cook (just enough to get a little whiter). Add water. Bring water to a boil. Stir and remove pot from heat. (Others say leave pot on low heat. You'll have to see what works for you. Often depends on the rice-type.)

Possibility: add a whole onion with water


Variation III : Rice pie
A form of cooked rice. For instructions see: how to cook rice

RICE: a mnemonic acronym for treating sports injuries.

Rest - Stop putting weight or stress on the injured part.

Ice - Apply ice to cool the area and prevent swelling. 45 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

Compression - Swelling is your body's way of immobilizing the part to prevent further injury. By compression with stretch bandages you can immobilize the area while reducing swelling and thereby speeding recovery.

Elevation - By elevating the injured area above your heart you decrease blood flow and further reduce swelling.

The eleventh and penultimate track of Dan Bern/Bernstein's 2001 album, New American Language. It's one of the more up-tempo tunes and perhaps the most produced and orchestrated song on an otherwise relatively spare album, so it stands out like an aural sore thumb --- in particular the wailing strings in the background. On the other hand, they managed to stick in some digiridoo, which is always cool. However, that's neither here nor there, since I can only node the lyrics and my commentary.

The song is about its narrator's response to an encounter with two very inspiring people, and I've taken it upon myself to make this writeup a shameless shout-out to some of my very favorite noders, as follows: every time the chorus reads "great teacher", it'll be pipelinked to a noder whom I consider such, for E2 or other reasons. As an added bonus, every time the chorus reads "sweet dreams", it'll be pipelinked to a node I find particularly inspiring. I only wish there were more room in its lyrics to hide more of my favorites (and I may not have been able to resist linking a few other things here and there). Enjoy.

Lyrics (reproduced here by permission):

He had just returned from Monte Carlo
He was on his way to Japan
And everything they did made me want to emulate them
Made me want to be just like them

And his wife, looking very Japanese,
Had never been to Japan
She sang Japanese songs
I tried my best to sing along

And the sky was gray and it looked like it might rain
And I decided that I was only eating rice from then on

And he spoke of places and of people that I knew very well
And I asked about them, it seemed painful for him to speak
She said maybe later, if we go to the movies you can speak
He was reading heavy books
and seemed burdened by his knowledge
she wore a thin Japanese robe

And the sky was gray
and it looked like it might rain
And I decided that
I was only eating rice from then on

Hey, sweet dreams, great teacher
Hey, great teacher, sweet dreams
Hey, sweet dreams, great teacher
Hey, great teacher, sweet dreams

I will meditate each morning at the sunrise
I will write down all of my dreams
I will travel on the backroads, I will
Keep myself open to whatever.

Every day I will learn a secret language
I will make my living in the casino
With 11 or less against a bust card
I will double down

And the sky is gray
and it looks like it might rain
And I've decided that
I'm only eating rice from now on

The sky is gray and it looks like it might rain
And I've decided that I'm only eating rice from now on.

Hey, sweet dreams, great teacher
Hey, great teacher, sweet dreams
Hey, sweet dreams, great teacher
Hey, great teacher, sweet dreams

---Dan Bern/Bernstein

Rice- food of the gods, god of the foods.

Despite the fact that I grew up in a large midwestern city in North America, I ate a lot of rice there and actually taught myself how to cook it at a very early age (somewhere around the time I also taught myself to cook eggs - still two of my favorite foods, and a great combination).

The great thing about rice is that you can buy it in large quantities for a low price and it will keep for a long time - currently a 50 pound sack runs somewhere around eight dollars and can last us for about 2 months.

I always cooked rice in a covered pot with just a small vent between the lid and rim so the pot won't boil over but the steam will not completely escape either. It wasn't until I moved to Asia I discovered the electric rice cooker - a great time saving device, especially if you only have one gas burner and are using that to cook something else. There's nothing better or more satisfying than clicking off the burner and hearing the rice cooker shut off simultaneously and knowing that your meal is ready.

We have experimented with various varieties of rice, the most recent being Thai Jasmine rice. The scent of jasmine is unbelieveable, I could sit there inhaling the steam all day... Recently we've gone back to another variety though and that's Calrose. Calrose is a short grain rice that has a nice smell and flavor. It usually sticks slightly together when cooking, a quality we appreciate in a rice. I'm sure Calrose would make a great risotto if asked. This particular variety was developed on Guam but is currently produced in California. On Guam and the rest of the Marianas chain it is cooked with achiote, a natural seed that dyes the rice orange. Usually it's cooked, in traditional Chamorro method, with garlic, onion and bacon and the above coloring and referred to as 'red rice'. This is consumed in mass quantities at village fiestas, usually with barbequed meat.

Usually when dining out I prefer Japanese or Korean restaurants because I know the quality of their rice is second to none. While not originally rice-producing countries, they have perfected their varieties and cultivation techniques to not a science but an art.

If you're ever in the Philippines, you should do yourself a favor and check out the rice terraces of Banaue, Luzon. They truly are one of the great wonders of the world. Just for some contrast, also visit the miles and miles of seemingly endless rice fields in east Texas.

Here's a recipe I kind of like, it's a Chamorro dish modified by me and it's good any time of the day:

2 large eggs
1 can tuna (preferrably "Century" brand Hot & Spicy, imported from the Philippines and available in most Asian markets; barring that any tuna in oil and a bottle of Tabasco)
1/4 onion, diced
2 tbsp soy sauce
cooked Calrose rice

heat frying pan
spoon tuna and oil into pan, leaving MOST of the oil behind in the can (add Tabasco if necessary)
add diced onion, stir
when the tuna is starting to steam, add 2 eggs and scramble with tuna and onion
as soon as eggs are cooked, transfer to plate on top of cooked rice (timed correctly, rice and egg/tuna should finish simultaneously)
sprinkle liberally with soy sauce and enjoy!

best eaten island style, with spoon in right hand, fork in the left and a can of beer in front!

History of Rice

Rice is thought to be the oldest cultivated grain and has been a vital food source to billions of people spanning thousands of years. Its importance can be seen in the various ancient cultures that have relied on it. Chinese mythology states that rice was brought to the starving people by a dog and the grain was prized more than jade or pearls. In Burma and Bali rice was thought to be a gift from the gods. In Japan, the emperor was considered the living embodiment of the rice plant. Additionally, in several Asian languages the word for "rice" was the same word as "food" or "agriculture".

Rice was thought to be cultivated as early as 6000 BC and sealed pots of ancient rice have been found in China that are about 8000 years old. The exact origin of the rice plant is not known, but it is thought to have been originally cultivated in Southeast Asia around modern Thailand and China. Traders were responsible for spreading rice throughout the world. It spread first to the to the Philippines, then to Japan, and later to India. It reached Greece in 300 BC and was traded throughout the Mediterranean. Rice was initially not grown in Western Europe due to the threat of malaria. Rice plants grew best in flooded fields, yet the standing water also increased mosquito populations. The rice plants finally spread throughout Europe in the 1400s. The Spanish and Portuguese introduced rice to Central and South America and they also transported rice to South Carolina in the 1600s, where it spread to New Orleans and later to California.

Today, rice remains a vital source of food. It is a staple for about half of the world’s population and it is cultivated in more than a hundred countries around the world. More than ninety percent of all rice on the planet is grown and consumed in Asia. Trading and breeding has produced more than seven thousand varieties of rice.


Rice Plants

The term "rice" technically refers to the grain produced by the plant called "paddy" (Orzyza). There are over twenty different species of Orzyza, but there are only two main species that are cultivated: O. sativa and O. glaberrima. The former originated in Asia and is the most common while the latter is native to Africa. The plant is a tall grass that grows to be 2 to 18 feet tall. The plant produces a stalk that contains hundreds of tiny flowers that develop into grains. The time from planting to harvesting the rice is about 4 to 6 months, depending on the variety. The grains are threshed by hand or harvested by a combine. These grains are dried, processed, and then stored or sold. Rice can be stored for a very long period of time compared to other grains because it contains less water.

Rice plants are grown under one of two conditions. The first, called "upland" rice, is grown in soil that is not flooded. The original crops of rice are thought to have been grown this way. However, it was soon discovered that the rice plants grew faster and taller and produced a better grain if they were constantly submerged in about 4 to 8 inches of water. The rice plants are first germinated in drier soil and then planted in flooded fields, called paddies, to grow. The water is kept fresh by draining and reflooding or providing a continual influx and outflux of water. The discovery that rice grew better in flooded fields helped the crop spread throughout Asia.

The rice plant actually does not need all the water in the flooded field to survive. The water actually is a method of controlling weeds and insects that would stunt plant growth. The flooding also helps keep the land fertile because it prevents salt accumulation that can be unhealthy to vegetation. Additionally, the flooding creates a false wetland region where birds and other wildlife can live and it helps maintain a steady air temperature in the area.


Uses of Rice

Obviously, rice is mainly sold and consumed in its grain form. However, the grain can also be crushed into rice flour that is used to make bread, noodles, and other baked goods. The rice grain is also fermented to make rice wine (sake) or rice vinegar. Leftover hulls and bran from processing are used as livestock food.

Rice and rice flour are an excellent alternative to wheat and wheat flour for those with food allergies, since rice does not contain any gluten. Rice is full of nutrients such as magnesium, thiamine, niacin, phosphorus, vitamin B6, zinc and copper. Some varieties also contain iron, potassium and folic acid. Rice also contains a decent amount of protein.

jasstrong kindly reminds me about yellow rice, a genetically modified variety of rice that contains vitamin A. Check out the yellow rice node for more info.


Categorizing Rice

Rice comes in three sizes of grain length, long, medium, or short. Long grain rice is four to five times longer than it is wide, medium grain rice is about two to three times longer, and short grain rice (also called pearl or glutinous rice) is almost round. Long grain rice, such as basmati or jasmine rice, contains the lowest level of starch of the three and this keeps the cooked rice grains dry and separate. This kind of rice is commonly used in stir fries, fried rice, and curries. Medium grain rice has a medium amount of starch and is used in soups, stews, paella, and risotto. Short grain rice has the highest amount of starch which makes the cooked rice sticky and moist. This type is preferred in sushi, rice balls, and desserts.

Rice is also categorized as either brown or white rice depending on how the rice is milled. The rice grain is composed of the white endosperm surrounded by bran and germ and encased in an outer hull. Brown rice has this inedible hull removed during milling but the bran is left on, giving it the brown color. It is more nutritious than white rice and contains high levels of insoluble fiber and vitamins B and E. The bran gives brown rice a pleasant nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Brown rice takes about twice as long to cook as white rice and it has a shorter shelf life due to the oils in the bran that can turn rancid. It is best to keep brown rice in the refrigerator to increase its life span.

White rice has the bran, germ, and hull of the rice removed during the milling process. This removes the brown color and most of the nutrients found in brown rice. However, white rice often has these nutrients added back, making the rice "enriched." Enriched white rice actually contains more thiamine and iron than brown rice. It also has a longer shelf life. Both white and brown rice come in long, medium, or short grain varieties.

On top of that, rice may also be sold in its normal form, parboiled form, or instant form. Parboiled rice has been soaked and cooked before it was processed, which draws some of the nutrients from the bran into the endosperm of the rice. This makes parboiled white rice slightly more nutritious than regular white rice. The process also helps keep the rice grains separate when cooked. Instant rice has been fully cooked and then dehydrated after the milling process. It requires a much shorter time to cook compared to regular rice.


How to Cook Rice

Rice is commonly cooked by adding a certain amount of water and slowly heating it over low temperature until the grains absorb all the water. The rice is cooked over a heat source such as a fire, stovetop, or rice cooker. The node How to cook rice has many more comprehensive writeups concerning cooking rice so I won't go into more detail here.


Common Types of Rice

  • Jasmine rice - This is an aromatic rice that is grown in Thailand. When cooked it is moist and has a delicate floral flavor and aroma. Jasmine rice is predominantly used in Asian dishes and can be found in both white and brown forms. It can serve as a substitute for basmati rice, however the flavor and aroma will be slightly different.
  • Basmati rice - This rice is another aromatic rice and has been grown in India for thousands of years. Basmati has a nutty aroma and flavor that develops because it is often matured up to a year after harvesting. It is a long grain rice that stays fluffy and separate when cooked. It is mainly used in various Middle Eastern and Indian dishes such as curries and can be found in white and brown forms. Hybrid forms of basmati rice can also be purchased. Texmati is a type of basmati rice hybrid grown in Texas. It is fluffier and has a milder flavor than imported basmati. Pecan rice is another type of basmati grown in Louisiana. It has a nutty flavor and supposedly smells like popcorn.
  • Black or red rice - These kinds of rice have a black or red bran instead of brown while the center of the rice is still white. The black form of rice is mainly grown in Southeast Asia while the red form is grown both in India and in the Carmargue region in France (thanks to BlueDragon for the info). Thai black rice actually chances color to a deep purple when it is cooked, making it an interesting visual choice for dishes such as rice pudding.
  • Arborio rice - This is a short grain rice grown in Italy. The rice has a high amount of starch, which gives it a creamy consistency when cooked. The rice is also able to absorb a large amount of water without getting mushy. For these reasons arborio is the main type of rice used in risotto. When cooking this rice it is important not to rinse it before cooking. Rinsing will remove some of the starch, making the finished risotto less creamy. Arborio rice can be found in both white and brown forms.
  • Glutinous rice - Also called sticky, sweet, pearl, or sushi rice. The names of the rice are misleading as it actually does not contain gluten and is not sweet. It is a very short grain rice that is chalky white in the center and is commonly used in sushi and Asian desserts. The rice is very sticky when cooked.
  • Valencia rice - This medium grain rice also known as Spanish rice or paella rice is from Spain. It is mainly used in the traditional Spanish dish paella.
  • Wild rice - The name is deceiving, as wild rice is not really rice but a seed of the water grass plant Zizania aquatica that is native to North America. It is cooked and used in the same way as rice. Check out anthropod's node for a detailed description of wild rice.


http://www.mycustompak.com/healthNotes/Food_Guide/Rice.htm
http://web.foodnetwork.com/food/web/encyclopedia/termdetail/0,7770,2760,00.html
http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/foods_view/1,1523,75,00.html
http://www.cgiar.org/research/res_rice.html
http://usda-ars-beaumont.tamu.edu/tidbit1.html
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/Crops/Rice.html

Rice is an interesting creature. When rice is alive, it's great to watch swim. When the rice is growing, the growers have to be quiet, or the young rice will get scared, and when you scare rice, you stunt its growth. If the rice doesn't grow big and strong, the crop's yield will be stunted for the next three generations, it is believed the reason for this is caused by poor parenting as a direct result of the abuse incurred. Widely known in the biological community as "broken home syndrome".

The growth cycle of rice is a complicated procedure, and they must be kept in a warm, happy, and extremely damp environment. Their diet early-on in life isn't too complicated, however they must have a steady supply of murky water. They tend to enjoy water with large amounts of organic compounds, rather than synthetic fertilizers. The standard agricultural fertilizers are considered toxic to them. When the rice grows tall, it's matured to the point of sexual reproduction, after the male leaves have released their gametes, and that fusion has induced the production of a zygote, then the actual rice grows.

During the sexual reproduction phase, the caretakers normally flood the field, in order to assist the formation of the zygote, and the growth of the zygote into a fetus. After the fetus has begun to mature, the field is drained, and then flooded again, to remove the dead, un-matured fetuses, and all remnants of the sexual process. As observed with human reproduction, the leftover gametes tend to hurt the maturation of rice, thus affecting the self-esteem, hopes and dreams, and the eventual career choices.

After the rice has grown, it decides to leave the nest. After the rice has left the nest, the mother dies, the rice goes into a grieving state and begins to stop eating. The rice eventually starve themselves into a thin, dry, and sexy form and figure. Thus rice then begins the slow and steady decline into full-blown adulthood. At this point, there are two paths the rice can choose: the path to brilliance, or the path of forced sexual reproduction in the chicken-coop style sex-worker procreation farm.

If the rice doesn't get trapped by the poor parenting and upbringing of the fore-generations of rice who were scared by loud noises such as gunfire, genocide, gang-rape, or abuse by the stern overlord of the farm, it can grow to become a beautiful creature, complete with a sunset-filled happy ending. However, if the strange and unholy influence of the world comes into their hearts, instead of the lord, this will be nothing more than a dream of the parents who wish nothing more than to see their children prosper in the good light of the lord.

The happy, yet still sad alternative is when the rice prospers. When the rice gets aerated, it tastes the real world for the first time. If this taste brings the world into view, as it flies into the air and smells their first whiff of the world. If their first smell is the smell of freedom, and free-roaming rice, they'll stick to the straight and narrow, and eventually become something to behold, such as a gourmet dish prepared by an anglicized Itame in a psudo-japanise restaurant.

The process of cooking rice, in the normal, inhumane, barbaric, process involving boiling water, completes the process of the rice turning into a fulfilling human-edible dish. During the process, the dormant rice comes out of the chemically induced coma, it warms up in the hot water, then soaks in the water, much like a reverse steam bath. The newly, hydrated rice then begins the final phase of life, the decline and eventual death.

During the process, the rice over-absorbs water, thus breaking their cell walls. After this has occurred, the rice is legally deceased. An easy way to tell this is to check the hardness of the rice. If it crunches in your teeth, this has not happened, however, if it is soft and squishy like a tub of Jell-O brand gelatin, it's dead. This genocide brings life into full circle.

Rice (?), n. [F. riz (cf. Pr. ris, It. riso), L. oryza, Gr. , , probably from the Persian; cf. OPers. brizi, akin to Skr. vrihi; or perh. akin to E. rye. Cf. Rye.] Bot.

A well-known cereal grass (Oryza sativa) and its seed. This plant is extensively cultivated in warm climates, and the grain forms a large portion of the food of the inhabitants. In America it grows chiefly on low, moist land, which can be overflowed.

Ant rice. Bot. See under Ant. -- French rice. Bot. See Amelcorn. -- Indian rice., a tall reedlike water grass (Zizania aquatica), bearing panicles of a long, slender grain, much used for food by North American Indians. It is common in shallow water in the Northern States. Called also water oat, Canadian wild rice, etc. -- Mountain rice, any species of an American genus (Oryzopsis) of grasses, somewhat resembling rice. -- Rice bunting. Zool. Same as Ricebird. -- Rice hen Zool., the Florida gallinule. -- Rice mouse Zool., a large dark-colored field mouse (Calomys palistris) of the Southern United States. -- Rice paper, a kind of thin, delicate paper, brought from China, -- used for painting upon, and for the manufacture of fancy articles. It is made by cutting the pith of a large herb (Fatsia papyrifera, related to the ginseng) into one roll or sheet, which is flattened out under pressure. Called also pith paper. -- Rice troupial Zool., the bobolink. -- Rice water, a drink for invalids made by boiling a small quantity of rice in water. -- Rice-water discharge Med., a liquid, resembling rice water in appearance, which is vomited, and discharged from the bowels, in cholera. -- Rice weevil Zool., a small beetle (Calandra, ∨ Sitophilus, oryzae) which destroys rice, wheat, and Indian corn by eating out the interior; -- called also black weevil.

 

© Webster 1913.

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