The most versatile among the food grains, rice is the staple food of over half the world’s population. It is the largest cultivated crop and provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.
Rice cultivation originated in the Pearl River Valley of Chine, close to 10,000 years ago. From there, it spread to countries in South and Southeast Asia like India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Legend has it that is was the soldiers of Alexander the Great that brought this grain to Europe. And when Europeans started the colonization of the American continent, rice reached there too.
There are many varieties of rice available today, each one suitable for particular ways of cooking. Like basmati for a pulav or arborio for a risotto. And if we start talking about the many many dishes that can be made out of rice, we will be here a long time. 🙂
There is this funny story about how humans first started cooking their meat… how a barn got burned down along with the animals in it and the sad owner burned his finger when he poked a dead (and apparently perfectly cooked) animal… and put the finger in his mouth… and went yummm… but I have not heard a story about how we started eating shrimp. Only thing I can say is, whoever started the trend, he or she must have been a courageous soul! To look at one of those grumpy looking things with all spindly legs and stalk eyed stare and think… “umm… that must taste lovely!” would have taken a truly adventurous mind.
Whoever it was, I’m eternally grateful to that person. For, that indeed tastes lovely! In fact, shrimp is the favourite of a majority of pescetarians.
The name ‘shrimp’ is used to describe a wide variety of species, often synonymously with ‘prawn’, though technically prawns are the larger cousins of shrimp. These days more than half of the shrimp in the commercial market is farmed and rather than caught in the wild.