Why is rice, and therefore rice cooking, so popular in Canada? The answers are simple. To begin with, no matter where you are in the world, rice has and always will be a staple, a supplement, and a solution to what’s for dinner as much as it is to keep those less fortunate alive and offer a glimmer of hope.
Rice has been around for close to five thousand years, so while nobody would ever consider blaming Canada for not being hip to the presence of rice given its perpetual and longstanding presence as a form of sustenance; rice has a certain stigma. Growing up in North America, I can probably count on one hand aided only by my thumb the number of times I jumped for joy after learning dinner would be brought to me by the letter ‘R’ for rice. Which leads us into my next point.
For most of us, rice comes in two forms: white and boring. Hearing that rice was part of dinner would send up a flare that the rice itself was a flare to distract us poor kids from the under or over-cooked chicken, pork chops, or bush meat that was placed on the plate in front of us. What’s most disturbing about that piece of the past is how our parents/legal guardians treated, (just a diplomatic way to say disrespected) rice; like some sort of distraction already destined for the trash after being passed over for the pieces of pork, chicken, or beef deemed by the eye to be safe to consume.
Things have changed, however. Feel free to let go of all the ill feelings you have held towards and associated with rice. New methods have turned rice on its hull, and the world is now a better place. There are literally thousands of varieties of rice, and with food becoming the ‘new’ rock and roll in terms of its popularity, there is no reason why rice ever has to labeled ‘boring’ again. More than half of the rice Canada consumes comes from the United States, as Canada does not produce any of its own, but the price benefit of importing rice from a country directly south is doubled when you consider the financially sensible options available to put a consistently delicious bowl of any variety of rice on the table for you and your family.