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by: Tony Wheeler
Victoria, Australia :
Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd 2004, $40.00, Hardbound
Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2005 Issue: 12(3) page(s): 24
Subtitled: A Journey through the Ricelands of Asia and Australia, Wheeler's text is enhanced with photographs by Richard l'Anson. Together they paint a picture about the world's most important source of calories field to plate, planting to tending, harvesting, processing, trading and, of course, consuming. They share that rice is grown on every continent but Antarctica, that more than five hundred million tons are produced yearly, and that this grain is central to ever so many cultures worldwide. Want to learn about rice worldwide; check out this volume.
The text and the beautiful views of people, places, rice growing, and rice foods help celebrate the United Nations International Year of Rice (2004). It begins with history, goes through the growing process, talks of trading, using, celebrating, and researching rice.
Though rice is consumed almost everywhere, the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) rice experts from Australia, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and elsewhere helped Wheeler provide a visual sense and some general understandings about usual and less common rice lore and language. There are no recipes, but the flavor of rice permeates every word and every picture. The book is a fitting tribute to rice and the green revolution that makes it possible to feed the many who consume this important source of calories.