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Rice Bible, The

by: Christian Teubner

New York NY: Viking Studio of the Penguin Group 1999, $34.95, Hardbound
ISBN: 0-670-88602-5

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 2000 Issue: 7(1) page(s): 22

The Rice Bible is one of a series of food books, their titles similar. It and all of them are equally colorful, have fine photographs, and there is much to learn from them. This volume has items of particular interest, Chinese, and it moves the dates of rice's origin back to a cave where they were probably harvested in Thailand between 10,000 and 7,000 BCE.

This book follows The Vegetable Bible, The Pasta Bible, The Chicken and Poultry Bible, The Chocolate Bible, and The Cheese Bible. All are equally colorful, have fine photographs, and offer much about foods Asian and Western. The Rice Bible has items of particular Chinese interest. It moves dates of the origin of rice back as rice grains were found in the cave mentioned above. This makes rice indigenous to Assam, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. The trail of rice, its ancestors, cultivation, and breeding is worth reading. Annual rice cultivation is largest in China by acre and metric ton, more than nearly double the tonnage in India but less by acreage.

There are wonderful Chinese wood-cuts, discussion of varieties of rice in grain or noodle form, and recipes from appetizers to desserts detailed from all over the world (red rice included). Rice as flour, in the making of wines, its use in clay pots and bamboo holders are but a few of the items illustrated and discussed. Complete it is not, but no book of less than two hundred sixty pages can be, certainly not one on such a massive topic as rice. Nonetheless, its words and illustrations are exceptionally worth perusing. Suggest you do so!

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