In the Far East rice is coveted as the staff of life. The Italians rave about risotto, and rice is the accepted ne plus ultra accompaniment for fried chicken in the Deep South. Rice originated in India and China a few millennia ago and came to Europe via Egypt and Greece. Oddly enough the French were among the last to appreciate its virtue, the reason being, according to gastronomic theory, that the early Gallic chefs succumbed to the temptation to stir it too often and cook it long.
There are dozens of kinds of rice including the long grain, short grain, oval grain and round grain, each bearing a different name. Wild rice is not botanically rice at all, but another sort of cereal, and it is native to the United States. Genuine rice of Eastern origin was introduced to this country in 1694.
The peoples of the world who depend on rice as a major nourishment eat it cooked from rough unpolished grains; that way it is more nutritious. When polished rice is used and cooked in a great quantity of water, the vitamins and whatever else go down the drain. Rice should be cooked in a minimum of stock or water, just enough for the grains to absorb and become tender. As the rice cooks, it should not be uncovered or disturbed with fork or spoon. According to the Chinese the rice is done when “eyes” form on the surface of the rice, about twenty minutes.