Paying tribute to oryza Sativa

There are some things that you *think* you will not mind, …. …. Until you marry. For me, it was my elevated consumption of RICE. To DH, a meal is not a meal unless it contains either rice or bread. Actually flatbread (or more specifically NAAN) is one of my favorites, but I am not nearly good enough in the kitchen (much less have the time) to make Naan. And, just in case you didn’t know, Flat bread is expensive, running about $2.50 for four pieces of flat bread. Tortilla shellls are a pathetic substitute. I can eat pasta, but its lack of nutrician usually makes it less appealing. Sure, I have cooked meals with Couscous and Quinoa (also expensive) trying to have something “similar in texture,” yet “a bit different in taste.” But, when it is all said and done; It is all about Rice. I even (since marriage) make a pot of rice when I make chilli. Certainly, I don’t necessarily have to consume and many times, I don’t. But, it is still there. Rice&meat, Rice pudding, Rice&peas, Rice&corn, Rice stuffed cabbage leaves, Rice&mixed vegetables, Rice&Broccoli, stuffed peppers with Rice, Rice&Lentils, Rice & fruit salad, Rice&beans and Rice&potatoes. The latter seem to break the codes of good nutrician by offering too much starch during one meal setting, yet somehow, rice sprouts its way into every meal. I have washed, soaked, boiled, baked, fried, steamed and fluffed the rice. We have eaten long grained, basmati, ttexmati, wehani, parboiled, glutenous, sticky, fluffy, sweet, spicy, white, brown and golden rice.
three weeks ago, as head chef (only chef) in our household, I decided to put a ban on cooking rice in my kitchen. I welcomed flat or fluffy bread, pasta, potatoes, couscous, quinoa or any substitute and/or impostor, but resolved that the authentic small grain was not permitted to drop or roll anywhere near my dinner table for at least two weeks. It was time for a “purifying” of sorts.
Then, I got sick. I rarely get sick. On the off chance that I do, it usually consists of a fever and headache. This time, however, I had a horribly inconvenient case of the stomach flu which made me declare the bathroom as the most important room in the entire house. I am surprised that Dh didn’t get jealous of the time and attention that I seemed to lavish on my household toilet. The common standard advice was to go on the “BRAT diet.” This consists of Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Crackers can be substituted for toast, but them it changes the acronym. (smile) . Although I was physically weak, I did not want to be seen as noncommittal, thus, I was fervently prepared to continue the ban on that wonderful most flexible grain. I followed this strange diet (excluding the rice, of course) and gulped pills and chugged medicine every four hours. DH didn’t need the latest fad of the BRAT DIET to tell him that rice is a staple food for when you are sick. While we, American children, were making “Campbell’s chicken noodle soup,” a common household medicine for the flu, his mother was feeding her children a kind of rice mixture that was even better. I will abashedly confess that nothing improved until I relented. When I yielded to RICE, My health improved. All hail to the rice deity!
STATISTICS:
• More than 90 percent of the world’s rice is grown and consumed in Asia, where people typically eat rice two or three times a day. Rice is the staple diet of half the world’s population.
• It takes 5,000 liters (almost 1321 gallons) of water to produce 1 kg(Roughly 2.2 pounds) of irrigated rice. Rice can grow from two to five feet long and can grow under water and in flooding areas.
• More than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice are thought to exist. more than 100 grow world-wide, but only around 10% are marketed and sold.
• Three of the world’s four most populous nations are rice-based societies: People’s Republic of China, India, and Indonesia. Together, they have nearly 2.5 billion people almost half of the world’s population. Hmmm, is rice linked to fertility??? I have heard about celebrations in Bali where they believe just that and apparently have some ground for their beliefs. (smile)
• The average Asian consumer eats 150 kg(330.7 pounds) of rice annually compared to the average European who eats 5 kg (11.2pounds).
• Rice provides 20% (that’s one fifth) of the world’s dietary energy supply.
• The Chinese devote an entire day of their New Year to the celebration of Rice and punctuate the New year by giving wishes of “May your rice never burn.”
• In Japan, people do not think in terms of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but rather morning rice (asa gohan), afternoon rice (hiru gohan), and evening rice (ban gohan). Also, Japanese auto titans are even rooted in the rice fields: Toyota means bountiful rice field and Honda means main rice field.
• In Singapore, a good job is an iron rice bowl, and being out of a job, a broken rice bowl.
• The Korean term “bap 밥” and the Japanese term “meshi めし” as well as the Chinese word “fan 飯” all have the double meaning of “meals,” and “rice,” demonstrating how significant “rice” is to eating.
• rice is a good source of insoluble fiber.
1 cup of white has about the same amount of calories as brown, but far less fat. (.8 grams per serving vs. 2.4 grams per serving) However, brown rice is much higher in fiber than the white variety, with 2.8 grams of dietary fiber per serving versus .6 grams. Most other nutritional values are similar.

One of the reasons why rice is enjoyed internationally is that it is easy to prepare, it’s inexpensive, and it possesses significant vitamins and minerals. Examples of rice include: Basmati – which is aromatic in smell, is grown in south Asian countries and is DH’s favorite; and glutinous rice, which is a sticky, yet sweet rice typically used for dessert. Brown rice is another example — which has a nutty taste to it – while Jasmine rice is pleasantly aromatic and grows only in Thailand.
Currently, there are five national rice foundations (NRFs), one each in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.
The largest collection of rice cultivars is at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and there is actually a World Rice Museum, but my computer could not read the web page. There are also several rice cultivating organizations in the USA; usually distinguished by state.
And, I Dh’s favorite dish is Biriyani which consists of spiced long grained rice and either vegetables or chicken or both. In any case, I am feeling better and my battle with rice is over. The nonstick long grain is actually pretty good. I’ll not be purchasing rice flour, rice milk or rice wine anytime soon. i don’t even eat “Rice crispy treats,” or “Rice cakes,” which probably have a very minimum amount of rice in them. (smile) And, i most definitely draw the line at chocolate covered rice, no matter its nutritional superiority! .

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3 Responses to “Paying tribute to oryza Sativa”

  1. Roshni Says:

    Loool!!!
    Oh dear!!
    I don’t think I am the best person to comment on this subject; given that I am the most obsessive rice fan you are likely to come across! I live on rice, I’d say rice and spice are my 2 staples in life! I could go without chocolate, I could somehow survive (all be it badly), without coffee, but rice; no way!! I adore it! can’t get enough! And if I’m at dinner where rice and roti are on offer, rice wins, hands down! And you are totally correct; you cannot beat kichri when you are sick!
    BTW; I have to ask; is there such a thing as chocolate covered rice? If so, I’m totally there!! my 2 passions for the price of 1!!

  2. jamily5 Says:

    hahaha! Roshni, only in your universe!
    Actually, after my bout with the flu, I somehow am not as opposed to long grained nonsticky — still can’t deal with the short-grained sticky rice, though.
    Thanks for your response.

  3. luckyfatima Says:

    Yes, I love rice, but alas I have to limit it as I have a mild endocrine problem that is managed by a diabetic style diet (which I have a hard enough time following well!) My husband is also a rice lover. In his family they usually start out with chapatti and then move on to the rice. He is naturally wiry and muscular in physique, while I am stocky and thick. He can get away with a couple of chapattis and a mountain of rice twice per day, but if I ate like that I would surely start to resemble a baker’s wife. It’s sooo unfair.

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