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Rice has been part of the staple diet in Eastern Countries for thousands of years. According to legend, Rice was first eaten in China 5000 years ago. The early Chinese removed the outer husks from the grains and sold them for polishing precious gems. Most Chinese people today prefer to eat White Rice, which probably originates from the influence of “Confucius” who always insisted it should be as white as possible.

Rice arrived in Egypt in the 4th Century B.C. and around that time India was exporting it to Greece. The Japanese rate Rice very highly and it is reflected in the many thousands of shrines which may be seen across their countryside, which are built to Inari, their god. For centuries, Rice was a standard of wealth and was often used in place of money. When Japan invaded China, the Chinese “coolies” were paid in Rice. In fact, the growing of Rice and the success or failure of the crop affected the history, art & literature, ceremonials and the very way of life of the people of India, China & Japan. For centuries, Rice has been a symbol of life and fertility, hence the old tradition of throwing rice at weddings, which has today been replaced by the throwing of confetti. Rice is so ingrained in the eating habits of the Orients that the Chinese word for “rice” doubles as the word for “food”.

As they say in the West: “to break bread”, is very similar in meaning to what they say in the East: “to eat rice”. Both refer to eating a meal.

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