Rice, My Defining Grain…or Starch

I was thinking about grains and what would be a defining grain for a country. In my opinion, wheat would define America, we are a “bread basket” country. That’s not so hot for celiacs. When I watch this show on the Travel Channel, “No Reservations” with Tony Bourdain, I notice that rice is the defining food for so many other countries and cultures. In my little gluten-free world, I am so grateful for the wide variety of rice. Even before diagnosis, I could have eaten rice every day. Now I pretty much do eat rice every day.

Whether it’s basmati, aborrio, sushi , wild, brown, short grain or long grain rice, there is a perfect side dish for every meal. I love the frozen brown rice I buy at Trader Joe’s because it’s nutritious brown rice that’s ready in three minutes from the microwave. I love creamy risotto that I often order in Italian restaurants. I love fried rice with peas, bits of egg, pork or chicken. My favorite lunch happens to be sushi rolls from my neighborhood restaurant. I eat leftover rice with a dash of tamari soy sauce and a hefty helping of wasabi.

Rice is one of those critical food staples that prevents hunger in many corners of the globe. As a writer, I like to wake up my brain with daily vocabulary quizzes by going to the Free Rice site. For every correct answer, the UN World Food Program donates 10 grains of rice. It’s one of those addicting, time wasting, things you can do on the world wide web…but it’s educational and it does some good! Couldn’t all of us use a refresher on SAT words like punctilious and perspicuity even if we can’t figure out how to use them in a sentence. Yesterday there was 72,142,820 grains of rice donated, and 59 billion donated to date. Clearly I am not the only one hooked!

Rice is such a versatile gluten-free food, there must be hundreds of different ways to enjoy this staple ingredient. I am signing off to go make dinner, chicken satays with a side dish of, no surprise here, rice!