Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Rice is the principal food for about half of the world’s population, and in such countries as Bangladesh and Cambodia provides nearly three-quarters of the daily energy intake. Oryza sativa is a native of the tropical and semitropical Indian subcontinent, northern Indochina, and southern China, and was probably domesticated in several places independently, the short-grain types around 7000 BCE in the Yangtze River valley of south-central China, and long-grain types in Southeast Asia somewhat later. A sister species with a distinctive flavor and red bran, Oryza glaberrima, has been grown in west Africa for at least 1,500 years.