noun This ancient and venerable grain has been cultivated since at least 5000 B.C., and archaeological explorations in China have uncovered sealed pots of rice that are almost 8,000 years old. Today, rice is a staple for almost half the world’s population-particularly in parts of China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Southeast Asia. The 7,000-plus varieties of rice are grown in one of two ways. Aquatic rice (paddy-grown) is cultivated in flooded fields. The lower-yielding, lower-quality hill grown rice can be grown on almost any tropical or subtropical terrain. The major rice-growing states in the United States are Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. Rice is commercially classified by its size-long-, medium- or short-grain. The length of long-grain rice is four to five times that of its width. There are both white and brown varieties of long-grain rice, which, when cooked, produce light, dry grains that separate easily. One of the more exotic varieties in the long-grain category is the perfumy East Indian Basmati Rice. Short-grain rice has fat, almost round grains that have a higher starch content than either the long- or medium-grain varieties. When cooked, it tends to be quite moist and viscous, causing the grains to stick together. This variety (also called pearl rice and glutinous rice, though it’s gluten-free) is preferred in the Orient because it’s easy to handle with chopsticks. Italian Arborio rice

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