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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

From jambalaya to risotto, curry to nasi kandar, few foods are as ubiquitous in our meals as rice. A dietary staple and indispensable agricultural product from Asia to the Americas, the grain can be found in Michelin restaurants and family kitchens alike. In this engaging culinary history, Renee Marton explores the role rice has played in society and the food economy as it journeyed from its beginnings in Asia and West Africa to global prominence.
Examining the early years of rice’s burgeoning popularity, Marton shows that trade of the grain was driven by profit from both high status export rice and the lower-quality versions that fed countless laborers. In addition to urbanization and the increase in marketing and advertising, she reveals that rice’s rise to supremacy also came through its consumption by slave, indentured servant, and immigrant communities. She also considers the significance rice has in cultural rituals, literature, music, painting, and poetry. She even shows how the specific rice one consumes can have great importance in distinguishing one’s identity within an ethnic group. Chock full of delicious recipes from across the globe, Rice is a fascinating look at how this culinary staple has defined us.

144 pages | 40 color plates, 20 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2014


Food and Gastronomy

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“Historical anecdotes and evocative descriptions of meals certainly whet the appetite for cooking up, or ordering in, rice for dinner. In broad brush strokes Marton recounts the movement of rice through the ages. . . . The book does a nice job of illustrating the long global history of rice and the many ways in which cultures have turned rice into a food and a symbol. It is an accessible source on the past 1,000 years or so of rice history, nicely illustrated with colour photographs of rice meals, tools, and historical depictions, from a sixteenth-century Persian sultan receiving rice to an 1866 rice harvest in South Carolina. If you have never really thought much about where the rice you eat comes from, then this book will open your eyes to how global and cross-cultural the story of rice has been and will offer some alternative recipes by which to try a taste of this history.” 

Nature Plants

Table of Contents


1. Country and Culture

2. The Old World

3. The New World

4. The Rise of the Consumer

5. Art, Ritual and Symbolism


Select Bibliography

Websites and Associations


Photo Acknowledgements


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