Rice as Food

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Considered as food, rice is perceived in different ways in different cultures. Attitudes towards the proper way to cook and eat it seem to depend on the role rice plays in the lives of the people. In many communities where it has long been established as the principal staple, it is revered as divine and is still cooked and served in the plainest possible way; the dishes that accompany it may be elaborate and exquisite, but the rice itself is too precious to be treated as just another ingredient. (Of course there are dishes such as Cantonese fried rice, and Nasi goreng (the Indonesian equivalent), which do not conform to this pattern.)