Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.
Risotto, pilau, rice pudding, bibimbop, arancini, arroz con pollo, biryani, congee, etouffee, paella, nasi goreng, red beans and rice, onigiri, dolma, dirty rice: nearly every nation on Earth uses rice in its staple dishes.
We turned to our worldwide community of iReporters to let tell us how this simple cereal grain keeps them tied to their culture's cuisine, feeds their stomachs and souls - and in once case, even found them true love.
For iReporter Deddy Mansyur, eating rice instantly takes him back to his childhood in Indonesia. He says, “Rice is economical and very filling. In my culture, feeding a large family with meats and vegetables can be costly, but it's very much needed. Rice stretches a meal. With a medium sized bowl of rice, one can take his or her hand or chopstick and pick up a small ball of rice along with a tiny bit of their main entree and fill up that way a lot better without eating up all of the main course.”
The karate instructor, who adheres to a vegan diet, says that rice has kept his family of 12 siblings healthy throughout the years. "I tell people, rice is not the bad guy, it's what you cook in with and how you live your life that makes the difference in your health."
Rice doesn't just feed the body in India; it feeds the soul and spirit as well. Sobhana Venkatesan conforms to a strict Hindu sattvic diet that consists of milk, fruit, rice and vegetables. Venkatesan said, “Rice grains are held in high esteem in our culture. There is a festival when the paddy is sown and there is another when it is harvested. The women around the river deltas pray to Mother Nature around these seasons.”
He continues, "One who desires the sattvic qualities (or sattva guna) of physical fitness, concentration when doing tasks, control over their emotions and purity of mind, thought, word and deed, will strictly follow this diet, which will help him, lead a life filled with wisdom, cheerfulness and harmony. The sattvic energy we get from the food we eat brings us closer to the Divine and towards spirituality, peace and bliss."
It's not just an afterthought in the Philippines, either. In her iReport, “Staple food for Filipinos,” Lia Ocampo explains the importance of rice to her culture. She says, “Filipinos can’t live without rice. Every single Filipino family has rice in their pantry and it is cooked during meals. I do eat rice at least once or twice a day. Rice is a culture and a way of life for Filipinos.”
Thailand-based iReporter Duang Chaturapitaporn is no stranger to eating duck and rice for breakfast. He explains, “In my culture, we don't have an exact type of breakfast. The first dish we eat in the day is breakfast regardless to the kind of food. So don't be surprised if you visit here and see people having a pork fried rice or roasted duck on rice for their breakfast in the morning. It's quite common here.”
For Shari Atukorala, rice is must-have item in her diet. Atukorala is from Sri Lanka, and she says, “Rice is made in different ways like milk rice for breakfast which is cooked with coconut milk and eaten with a spicy sambol. Rice is eaten everyday; it is a must for Sri Lankans. It is mainly eaten for lunch, but in some villages people have it three times a day.”
She notes that red rice or white samba rice is seen as being especially healthy, but it takes "a lot of gravy to put down." It's also used to temper the heat of curries.
Cajun food has been a part of iReporter Shawn Yujuico's life for as long as she can remember. Yujuico says, “Rice is at the heart of my culture’s cuisine, as well as my husband’s on his father’s side. Growing up we were poor at times – even receiving food stamps and rice was a mainstay for our family. There were always many mouths to feed as my extended family is very large and an abundance of rice stretched every meal into a satisfying feast.”
When she met her husband, she knew it was a match that would last because among his spare kitchen furnishings, he had a rice cooker. "I could love this man," she says.
"I made my way to his heart through the kitchen cooking up rice-based favorites including gumbo and etouffee. Now, we have two children, whose ancestry includes French Canadian on my side and Phillipino his side. Rice is in their blood! My four year old daughter regularly implores me to make jambalaya and insists that we call the dirty rice 'clean rice' or she won't eat it. I continue to pass on my love for this simple food that serves so many and gives so much pleasure and sustenance."
Is rice just a side dish for you, or does it mean something more? Share your photos and stories and participate in the CNN iReport cultural census and in the comments below. We can’t wait to see what you share for dinner.
Previously - How to make etouffee like an expert and gumbo like James Carville.
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My favorite rice dish is fried Who could ask for anything more? It has meat (chicken, beef or pork), vegetables, (peas and carrots), dairy (eggs) and the rice itself. It is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I grew up eating rice with every meal and I can't remember a day that I didn't eat rice.
I'm from Viet Nam and well, I ate white rice all my life. I think I should give you guys some insight about rice from south east asia:
1.Fake rice are easy to spot. First of all you should burn it, if it smells like burnt plastic,make sure it doesn't made it to your dinner table. If it don't, you should pored some boiling water over it. If it cook immediately,well you "rice" are actually instant noodle.
2.For some one out there that can't eat rice with chopp stick, try using a spoon. That what babies around here used (not saying that any of you ar e babies) before they got used to using choppstick
3. My personal fry rice recipe:
-Boil your white rice,let it cool to room temp
-Heat your pan,then fry some spring onion until it turn golden brown
-(Optional) mix you cool white rice with egg(s) and fry-able-veg(ie: corn, carrot...), with some kind of meat(yeah, any kind as long as it cut ted into small pieces as small as a corn kernel ).
-During cooking it is advised to put some fish sace( the salty VN or Thai kind) or soysace into you rice because the lack of salt in the mixture.
– Yum, I can say no more
Koreans eat rice three times a day. I think Koreans are thin(eventhough not all Koreans are thin) because of it.
I blame my best friend for my love of rice. We met when we were both thirteen, we're twenty now, and we are both military brats. Her family lives in Japan for most of her young life and when they came here, they brought some of their food choices with them. One of the staples she brought was rice. Literally she would eat it with every single meal. Rice and eggs and juice, rice and a small meat, rice and meat and vegetables and just any and every combination we could make. I fell absolutely in LOVE with rice and how filling a small amount could be. Now my family itself has some creole background so we do eat a lot of gumbo and jambalaya and stews. But when I found out rice could be made with almost everything, I went made. I am now twenty years old and I have begun to stretch my rice dishes out to each corner of the world. My favorite rice dish right now is kimchi bokumbop with a yummy egg on top!
oh! my favorite food is kimchi bokumbop, too! I like spicy food! And sometimes I put two eggs on top of kimchi bokumbop
That's the best way to eat it! Oh goodness it's soooo good with the eggs added on
A bowl of rice with any type of braised toppings : beef, shrimps, pork, with veggies...yum yum yum..i so hungry already.
"Let GOD be true." There exist a society of devils and demons whom will not prevail."To bring about the greatness of the TRUE COVENANT,we have to rid our planets, here and beyond; of all fragile and stronge,selfish cowardly criminals that seek to promote hell here and far beyond. While feeblemindeadly calling themselves powerfull.All we, the priviledged are is abled bodied servant inovators, and therefore;leaders, taking rightful precedence in OUR LIFE REALM to make sure, asure,and ensure the continuation of PRECIOUSE LIFE. Indeed,eat and drink from the everlasting COVENENT.
I'm an ESL teacher in South Korea, and in some kindergartens over here, it has taken a lot of time and effort for young students to see similarities between themselves and some of the Indian children also in the classroom. Something that my Korean students and Indian students bonded over? Rice. My Indian student packs her lunch every day, but that food was one of the first things that students could see was the same between them, even though they speak entirely different languages in their homes and are of different cultural backgrounds. "Teacher, she eats the rice and I eat the rice TOO! Same same!" – something seemingly small, but when acceptance has not been easy for some of them, it's a memorable moment.
Most Asians eat rice. When we greet one another, we always ask: Have you eaten your rice? (It means have you eaten your dinner, or lunch, depending on the time of the day.). This is because Asians mainly South east Asians feeding oneself is a problem due to poverty, therefore greeting someone :Have you eaten your rice is a concern for him/her. And it is a good greeting. . If the answer is: No, I have not eaten my rice, then the friend will say, there is some rice in my house, come and eat some. For the Europeans, because there is an abundance of food, where feeding oneself is not a problem they greet with words like "Do you think the weather is going to be good today?
In my church, when the priest consecrates holy communion, the words used for "After supper Jesus took the cup"
the chinese words used are: After evening rice Jesus took the cup"
Here is a delishiouse delectible very edible dish your whole family will enjoy (and you dont have to worry about tne next day) OK ,boil white enriched rice with one pound of lard , add twelve teaspoons of plain table salt.Bring to a rapid boil, then add two pounds of bacon. Cover and let simer on low heat until plump. Enjoy with a pitcher of coolaid sweetened with one quarter pound of dominoes white extra enriched sugar. For desert indulge the whole family with a variety of little Debbi snacks.
Countless dishes are cooke in India with Rice to make it more tasty and healthy. Rice pudding is a sweet dish using plenty of milk. Plake like flattened rice is used as breakfast cereal with milk or yogurt and as a salty snack when stirfried with vegetables and a few spices. Rice is often always eaten with some other things to make it a complete food just as pasta or noodles.
In India people cook rice only in steam and eat it with lentils and vegitables prepared seperately for taste and other nutrient. Non vegitarians eat it with various preparations of meat or fish. It is an staple food for them. Basmati variety of Indian Rice is aromatic and more tasty and expensive. Pulao, Biriani are rice preparations cooked with oil/butter, spices and vegetables or meat. Rice floor or wet ground rice are also used for many varities of tasty dishes.
Eat all the enriched white rice you want. Just, please stop having babies.
Thailand, with 26% of the world's rice exports, has been trying to set up a rice cartel. Since the USA exports 9% of the world's exported rice, we should encourage and join it, and tie rice exports to OPEC to it's price for oil.
More like the grain that only fills up the planet.
I still wonder how Asians ever decided to use two sticks to eat rice with. The only solid thing more difficult to pick up with chopsticks is sand.
and i cant imagine you using your fork with your soup.....
I use my pecker to eat with.
More information on wasteful rice:
Face the facts, rice is one of the worst foods to grow for return on energy investment.
Rice requires HUGE amounts of water to grow, it requires large amounts of land to produce
a few kilos of rice. Other crops could be grown in place of rice which would feed more people.
Sure, rice has its merits in wet climates but overall the grain is just a resource hog in this world
of ever growing numbers. People should throw off the romantic ideas associated with rice and
move on to a better food source. Oh, and if I've stepped on some toes and anyone wants "footnotes"
to my claims I'll be glad to put the Goole links up to many a PhD written, peer reviewed report..
biryani sounds good at the moment.
I love eating rice but my wife says it has too much starch which is not good for joints, specially knees. Depends on the person too. Around 3 billion eat rice daily. Human body not made to eat meat. I agree with @I'm vegan. You smell better if you are vegan. You live longer. Less chance of getting stomach cancers from meats.1/5 of the worlds population is vegan. India alone has 400million plus vegan. I m not a vegan, my wife is. However i want to become vegan. It just makes more sense not to eat flesh.
The human body not designed to eat meat? My body has 4 teeth that are designed for meat. And it needs amino acids that are hard (but not impossible) to get without eating animal protein (meat, eggs, etc). Don't make stuff up to put yourself on a pedestal. What you could say is that the human body is not designed to eat large quantities of meat. We have more teeth designed to eat plants than we have teeth for meat.
Rice is fantastic with the appropriate dish, but thank God for potatoes!
My first masters was in Agronomy and I have worked in the Philippines. Flooded rice is a sustainable crop that needs no, or almost no, fertilizer. The bluegreen algae growing in the rice patty fixes nitrogen to make the fertilizer needed by the rice. That not only eliminates the cost and impact of nitrogen fertilizers, but also balances carbon emisions because it usually would require burning natural gas to make nitrogen fertilizer. Fish or shrimp can be grown in the paddies and enhance the production even if they are harvested too. The flooding almost completely eliminates weed problems and the yields per hectare are enormous.
White rice is the equivalent of eating cardboard. Well, cardboard with sugar added actually. It has pretty much zero nutritional value and isn't much better for you than eating a couple spoonfulls of sugar.
So many people who like to make stuff up.... Please go look up the nutritional value of regular long-grain white rice on nutritiondata.com. It's not as good as brown, but is a good source of quite a few vitamins and minerals. Enriched is even better. And it contains zero sugar, so you're wrong on that count as well.
I love rice.
Health care reform?
Start with eating rice and soybean-based food.
There are plenty of American grown rice from Texas, selling only half of the price of imported Thai rice. Illinois soybean is also an important US commodity.
This might suprise you, but soy is the second most commonly consumed food ingredient in the US (after corn). Of course, it's generally not consumed "whole" but processed into it's components (oil, protien, etc).
soy- great if you want to raise your estrogen levels and join the legions of vegan skelators. rice- great if you are poor and can't afford food with actual nutritional value. seriously, we are the glorifying these foods in CNN articles when Americans need an education in health.
i'm vegan and i take offense to being called skeletor i'm 5'8" (tall for a girl), and 128lbs, and no that is not skeletor, that's actually a normal weight, but most americans views on weight are warped so they wouldn't know it.... 2/3rd of americans are overweight or obese... that's not a good population to get health and weight advice from, now is it?
I'm vegan: Do you take any B12 supplements? If not you should start before the pernicious anemia kicks in. Darn B12 is the Achilles heel of vegans.
Bill–I doubt there is much truth to what you just said. More likely half-truthsmade up because people are prejudiced against those who are "different".
Health care reform? Start with eating rice. There are plenty of American grown rice from Texas, selling only half of the price of imported Thai rice.
I like rice once in a while, but look at the rice the eat.
Its been stripped of the most important outer parts where all the nutrition is.
What they are eating acts more as just a stomach-filler.
Phil. That is exactly why it is eaten. Without it, there would be mass starvation in many countries. And they process it into white rice because it needs to be shelf stable. A crop of rice can easily be ruined, so dry rice has to be able to last a very long time. Whole grains go rancid much faster.
Of course, in developed countries, brown rice is becoming more popular as those issues have become less of a problem. But old habits take a long time to break.
Matta rice is the best,the parbolied one which is the most nutritious and tastiest one,its kerala's staple food.
White rice is devoid of all nutrients. It is only starch and nothing more. Brown rice is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. White rice has nothing.
Try looking up regular long-grain white rice on nutritiondatadotcom.
The planet's gonna be a real nice place if mankind just consume rice, vegetables, fruit and a little meat. Greed and luxury of mankind is shortening everything's life.
i quite agree
Rice has no vitamins or substance. Stupid third world eating nothing,
Not exactly true. Brown rice is loaded with B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It's also a very good complex carbohydrate that digests very slowly-keeping you full longer. It's the third world people eating it the most. Us fat unhealthy Westerners are the ones indulging in white rice. I for one only eat brown rice, and I'm an American.
Just for info. The best Kernel Basmati Rice is produced by Pakistan. If you cook these rice in your house, your neighbors will love the smell of them. My Korean friend told me brown rice is also healthy.
Brown rice is very healthy. One serving gives you two of the 2 of the 3 servings of grains. Loads of fiber, and it sticks to your stomach so you eat less food later on. Whoever says otherwise is ignorant.
Ever notice that those that eat rice are usually trimmer than the "porkies" that eat bread/potatoes every day.
That is not always true.
What you may have seen were the poorer people that live on rice, fish, a few vegetables and very little meat.
Go to any country and you will find people who are over-weight and its not always what they eat or how much. Some people's systems are different, some burn through the calories, some don't, some have hormone problems or other disorders.
I love rice too. Unfortunately, it is a significant factor in both China and India having the highest diabetes rates in the world.
I love rice. I grew up fairly poor, and we had a lot of dishes that featured a lot of rice with delicious gravies and sauces. Now I want to cook rice all the time, but my husband doesn't like white rice, or the thought of sauces/gravy with it. One of these days I'm going to snap, and cook it anyway, and he's going to eat it, and he's going to like it!!!
Why does your husband have to approve what you cook? If he doesn't want it, make it for yourself.
It's more effective and efficient to make something we both enjoy. He does a lot of the cooking anyway.
Have managed to make Mexican rice that he likes.
As nutrition goes, rice makes a horrible food. Strictly empty calories, virtually devoid of any nutritional value.
Rice didn't become a staple because of it's nutritional value. It became a staple to provide needed calories.
And rice IS a good source of several important vitamins and minerals. You might want to look it up.
You might want to look it up. White rice, which is by far most common, is processed brown rice. The processing strips the white rice of all nutrients and vitamins and you are left simply with starch.
Brown Rice – very healthy
White Rice – no nutritious value
I like Condoleezza Rice 'cuz she is full of nutrients and can play the pianie.
I did look it up, thank you. I looked it up before I responded to make sure I actually knew what I was talking about. Brown rice is certainly much healthier, but unenriched, long-grain, white rice is still a decent source of thiamin, b6, folate, niacin, manganese, selenium, and iron. Seems to matter whether it is "parboiled" or "regular", as "regular" seems to be better.
yes, i can agree that the main reason it is eaten is to help fill you up because in comparison to raw fruits and veggies there is much less nutrition, however it is not completely devoid of nutrition if you avoid the white kind and eat the more colorful varieties...
Rice and other grains are unhealthy. Paleo diet is the way to go.
I tried the Pelosi diet and became a bitch!!
I'm vegan, therefore i could never eat the paleo diet.
I love rice. One of my favorite foods. Eat it everyday. It's so easy to cook and you can do anything with it. However, I eat brown rice and try to stay away from white rice. Not only because of health reasons, but also because personally, brown rice tastes better. Any sauce or stew you make can be used on top of a bed of rice, creating endless possibilities.
Is this still CNN? CNN by far has become the worst news channel. Its more like youtube. They show dumb stuff that entertains people. What about the people dying around the world because they dont have basic necessities of life.
In case you didn't realize, this is at the bottom of the first page, in a separate CNN blog.
I'm being entertained by a dumbazz named John right now.
I could not agree more. I only come here out of pure boredom and when I want a fix on trashy American-focused news. Al Jazeera is by far more intelligent news. Why are the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsey Lohan front page news? I wonder how many people can name the capital of the world's newest country let alone place it on a map as compared to naming Kim's fiance and what is Lindsey's little sister's name?
The newest country is called MuslammaBad and is inhabited by blonde blowup dolls with rather large breasts They are NOT virgins though.
I can honestly tell you without looking that the newest country in the world is South Sudan, created after a long civil war between the Muslim north and Christian south. It's in central Africa, and the capital is, um, well it's four letters and starts with a 'J'. Jula, perhaps? And yes, I'm an American born and reared.
Seriously... the front page of cnn is like 70% fluff
Did you happen to notice the page is titled "Eatocracy"?
Its about food!
Not the news items that you seek.
I love rice but I'm still amazed that we still keep producing so much white rice when brown rice is so much more nutritious for us and requires less processing. When we send rice to countries to help out it should be brown rice because it is so much more nutritious and healthy.
Unfortunately, the whole reason rice is processed is to improve shelf life. If brown rice was shipped out of country, it would more than likely go bad or get eaten by insects or animals. Processing brown rice in to white protects it from spoilage. This is an unfortunate part of the industry that needs to be fixed. The best way for other countries to get brown rice is to grow it locally.
This is so true! But the more untreated rice you buy locally, the cheaper and more accessible it will become. So many countries use rice as a staple in their diets, and all should buy what's local to the region to maintain biodiversity and help all economies.
But wouldn't the fix likely have unhealthy impacts? GABA brown rice is great if you have the time and a great Japanese rice cooker!
The fix is that white rice is often enriched to add back the nutrients that were lost when it was processed from brown to white. I wouldn't call that unhealthy. Still not as good as brown, but better than unenriched, especially for poorer people who can't afford to eat well.
Brown rice is nutritious, but it also has a wonderful taste which should be emphasized to get more people to try it. I stay full longer after eating brown rice than white rice too.
Amen to that, I've always wondered the same thing. I like the taste of brown rice just as much as white rice. Historically, however, brown rice has always been eaten in mass in countries around the world only in times of great famine.
Sorry P, but I almost sure you have that backward.
In Angola, Africa, S. Africa, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, etc. I've seen and eaten with some and they were all eating white rice. Its cheap or free, it cooks faster and requires less fuel to cook it.
I think P just worded his sentence awkwardly. He actually said people eat white rice almost exclusively, and that brown rice is generally only eaten during times of famine. It makes sense since shelf life would not matter as much and the hulls would provide extra calories.
I love rice, those pictures are making me so hungry. It's true, travel anywhere in the world there is a type of rice, sauce and bean dish that is unique to that region. The only difference is the spices and vegetables. It's such a satisfying meal.
I know the solution to all this but you people wouldn't wanna hear it
I like rice better than potatoes or bread. It's all what you are used to. I like noodles of any kind better than rice. But when we talk about rice, there are so many varieties and dishes that can be made from it. Americans need to challenge themselves more, stretch the envelope a little more and experience what great foods can be made from rice.
when I think champion, I thank rice for getting me there.. Basketball players all they ever eat is rice, right?
is brown rice much healthier???
Brown rice is healthier, but if you go old school brown rice, it takes a lot longer to cook which means more wood, gas, electric or what ever fuel they use to cook it.
I've seen precooked dried rice at the grocer, but never bothered with it.
Here is something, some countries are making rice out of potato and plastic resin, that can't be good for you!
Look for plastic rice or fake rice.
Phil–Interesting. My first thought was that you must be mistaken, but knowing what comes out of China, I shouldn't have been suprised that the fake rice is real. Yuck. Doubt that would ever pass inspection in the US, though. Plus it's texture is supposedly different, so I doubt it gets fed to anyone but poor people in poor countries. How sad.
Some posters say that this is a fluff article, but rice has a direct impact on most of the world's population. There are so many scrumptious options with rice grown around the world in different climates; many are delicious. I don't agree with the idea that rice is comparatively nutritionally poor – think about the other staples in people's diets such as Irish potatoes and bread.
yes brown rice is much better than white rice...its like comparing white flour and wheat..
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