Auntie Amerika pushes up the sleeves of her purple patchwork dashiki and stirs a large pot on the stove, her granny glasses steaming up as she leans over to catch a whiff. She deftly grabs an unlabeled jar of spice from her collection and sprinkles some into the veggie stew. The kitchen is warm and colorful with some Janis drifting in from the other room. “Auntie A, can we have white rice with dinner?” Auntie drops her wooden spoon with a clunk. “No, honey. White rice is not nice.” Auntie is full of declaratives like, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.” A little exaggerated, but then she’s a healthy 94-year-old marathon runner. Go Auntie A!
Brown vs. white rice debates often go back and forth across the kitchen table. Taste is a matter of opinion, but the fact is that as white rice is refined many nutrients are scrubbed away with the outer layers. That’s why it is stickier – which is useful for some dishes. Brown rice has the bran and the germ layer intact and rice bran oil has been found to lower LDL cholesterol. Another minus to white is that refining rice takes an environmental toll on waterways near rice refineries.
The benefits of eating your grains whole has been found in many health studies to reduce the risk of many serious diseases. A Harvard Medical School 12-year study of nurses who included whole grains in their diet showed they steadily lost weight. To help consumers navigate the bumpy road of whole grains the Whole Grain Council has implemented a rating system. The brown rice in the TakeHome boxes this week is nutritious, delicious, organic and 100% Whole Grain – that’s 100% nice.
PREPARATION: Rinse thoroughly under cold water and remove any debris or dirt. Add one part rice to two parts boiling water or broth (for example, one cup rice to two cups boiling water). When it boils, lower flame, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with your favorite veggies. Warm up leftover rice with milk and add cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and raisins for yummy pudding.
- Heidi Lewis