Rice: A Global History (Edible)
Renee Marton started out as a working chef. She now teaches culinary history and cooking technique. In Rice: A Global History (Edible), Marton introduces us to the world of rice. She covers the history, rice in the old world, rice in the new world, the rise of the consumer, rice in art, ritual and symbolism, and she provides a handful of recipes. She has some important insights such as how the profit motive and the need o feed labor drove rice cultivation and suggests that Japanese rice growing encourages group harmony. She provides some good recipes for iconic rice dishes around the world. While the book makes some interesting points it is on the whole a bit of a mish mash, mentioning everything abut not saying much about anything. In her discussion of the development of rice, Marton lauds the green revolution but she ignores the green revolution's dark side. Her information on the history of sake puts the evidence for the beginning of sake a millennium or so before most evidence would support. She provides an adequate discussion of oriental rice but as a chef she her discussion of the differences between arborio rice (risotto), bomba rice (paella) and basmati rice (pilaf) dissapoints with its lack of depth.