[Sca-cooks] brown rice

Daniel And elizabeth phelps dephelps at embarqmail.com
Mon Jul 9 14:29:52 PDT 2012

Actually there are two species of rice in common cultivation:

"Rice is a member of the grass family (Gramineae) and belongs to the genus Oryza under tribe Oryzeae. The genus Oryza includes 20 wild species and 2 cultivated species (cultigens). The wild species are widely distributed in the humid tropics and subtropics of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Australia (Chang 1985). Of the two cultivated species, African rice (O. glaberrima Steud.) is confined to West Africa, whereas common or Asian rice (O. sativa L.) is now commercially grown in 112 countries, covering all continents (Bertin et al. 1971)."  All the continents except Antarctica one presumes.

Processing is what makes the color difference.  Rice processed to white rice has a significantly longer shelf life than brown.  That being said, isn't reasonable that if rice were to shipped a distance it would be white rice, especially since white rice would have been considered higher class than brown?


----- Original Message -----


The problem with brown vs. white rice is that they're both the same
species of plant - it's the amount of milling that determines the color.

Unfortunately I haven't yet found any strong sources which confirm the
color of the rice used in 15th century Europe.  I've started looking
through archaeological sources and late-medieval agricultural texts, but
I haven't had any luck so far.  A good late-period painting would be
nice as well ... the search continues.

Some of the recipes in extant cookbooks involving rice strongly suggest
that it was white rather than brown.  Rice appears prominently in dishes
that are described as "white" (e.g. blancmanger), however that's not

- Doc

> -------- Original Message --------
> From: Bernhard Rohrer <graylion at sm-wg.net>
> Date: Sun, July 08, 2012 6:51 pm
> Greetings gentle cousins
> I am currently trying to research the usage of brown vs white rice in 
> period. The only mention that i have found so far is that white rice 
> came in in Japan in the 17th C. 
> (http://ask.metafilter.com/149004/History-of-white-not-wholegrain-rice-in-Japan)
> Does anybody have a source that can shed more light? Gut feelings says 
> brown rice, but that tends to be unreliable ;)
> Arpad

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