Chinese New Year: Rice Facts and Fun

January 23rd, 2012 is the Chinese New Year!!

While some of us might not celebrate the Chinese New Year, most of us have, at some point, enjoyed Chinese food and rice is a usual accompaniment!

Rice Facts and Fun

Did you know...

  • Seeds of long-grained rice were found by archaeologists in the Hemudu, Yuyao, Zhejiang Province in China that date to 3000 - 4000 years ago? That is, so far, the earliest signs of rice production in the world.

  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (website), 60% of China's population lives on rice and according to the USDA, rice is the primary staple for 50% of the world's population.

  • On the eve of the Chinese New Year, Chinese families enjoy a cake called "nian gao." Made of glutinous rice flour, the cake is also known as "sticky cake" - they also give this "sticky cake" to the "kitchen god" in hopes that he won't speak badly about the family to the rest of the gods.

  • Rice came to what would become the United States in the 1600's. Produced on plantations, especially in South Carolina, the rice industry in the south waned after the civil war. 

  • Now raised mostly in Arkansas, California, Mississippi, Texas, Lousiana, Missouri, the United States produces more than 19 billion pounds of rice per year according to the USA Rice Federation (website)

  • The average American eats about 25 pounds of rice per year - that is way up from the 1950's when the average American only ate a little over 5 pounds per year!
 Fun -
  • Did you know also that you can donate rice to feed the hungry by playing a vocabulary game? For each correct answer, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Programme. There are also other quiz subjects to try your hand at such as literature, and flags of the world. I tried the vocabulary game and admit that it is a bit addictive! Give it a try!  freerice.com

Happy Chinese New Year!

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