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Seductions of Rice: A Cookbook Hardcover – October 1, 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Chinese stir-frys, Spanish paellas, Japanese sushi, Indian thorans, Thai salads, Turkish pilafs, Italian risottos, Senegalese yassas, American gumbos: if rice isn't the heart and soul of all these diverse dishes, rice can be found piled right there at the side of the plate, or in a bowl. To say that Alford and Duguid, authors of the award-winning Flatbreads and Flavors, deliver the world of rice is much too simple an understatement. Your days of buying one rice to serve all purposes will end with even a cursory reading of this lovely book.

The authors are photographers as well as writers, but their greatest skill may be to travel the world at the level of the culture they visit. They seem able to drop away from Western culture and hunker right down with rice vendor or cook, no matter where.

Seductions of Rice opens with all the basics of rice, everything a reader would want to know and then some. Then on to the cultures of rice: Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Senegalese, and North American. Recipes either made from rice or to accompany rice range from Chinese Congee to Thai Green Papaya Salad to Japanese Quick Morning Miso Soup to South Indian Lentil Stew to Cuban Black Beans to Mexican Green Rice.

And in between? The authors fill in all the space between these diverse grains of rice with traveler's tales from the road. It is a luxurious book, a delicious book, a ripe combination of travel and taste. You leave off thinking that the world must be the shape of a rice ball. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

In their debut cookbook, the IACP and James Beard Award-winning Flatbreads & Flavors (1995), Alford and Duguid explored a wide range of ethnic cuisines using the traditional flatbreads of each as a springboard. Here the authors, who are married, do the same with rice, yielding similarly terrific results. As is explained in the introduction, there are two kinds of rice dishes represented here: dishes that incorporate rice (Grilled Sticky Rice Balls; Central Asian Rice and Bean Stew) and those that are served atop or with rice (Spicy Simmered Tofu; Savory Chicken Finely Chopped). Recipes are organized in chapters by country and region (e.g., China, India, the Mediterranean, North America) and they overflow with the information gleaned by the authors who traveled far in their research, their two young sons in tow. The chapter on India recounts the days they spent observing workers in a rice stall at an open-air market, as well as recipes for Ripe Mango Chutney, Banana Salad and various pachadis (yogurt sauces differentiated from raitas because the yogurt is heated). The chapter, "Gohan, Sushi, Mochi: The Japanese Way," describes the making of miso along with a Salad of Grilled Mushroom and Fried Tofu and Soothing Tea Rice. Unexpected flavor combinations (risotto with beer, Rhubarb-Lamb Stew from Persia) add extra spark to this comprehensive exploration, illustrated by more than 200 photos, which gains depth from Alford and Duguid's personal accounts and their infectious interest in the growing of rice as well as its use (Alford and Duguid are real agricultural geeks, and they love to share facts). This is a must-have compendium for any serious cook. 35,000 first printing; 12-city author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; First Edition edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579651135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579651138
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on September 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My daughter tells me not everyone has at least four kinds of rice as pantry staples; I tell her they should - and this book gives them reason to.
This has the most comprehensive inventory of rice types that I have seen. For example, I have only recently found a source for red rice; this book distinguishes between Thai red rice, mahogany rice, Bhutanese red rice, Himalayan red rice, South Indian red rice, South Asian red rice, Vietnamese red cargo rice and Wehani. Reading the differences, even without knowledge of what red rice I bought, allows me to adjust the recipes conservatively so that I don't over-cook, over-power or otherwise mutilate my find.
The recipes are well chosen; many of the recipes are not rice recipes but dishes to accompany rice. This gives the book a greater range than its title might imply. The stories of learning the worldwide recipes on site add to the enjoyment of the recipes; they provide a travelogue of the search for new rices and rice uses. They are accompanied with excellent photographs of growing, harvesting, and cooking rice.
Recipes come from Italy, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Thailand, India, China, USA, Senegal, Persia, Jamaica, Spain, Uighur (Russian-Chinese border). There is an index by the geographic region which allows the book to serve as an ethnic cookbook.
This is a cookbook to read and to use. I definately recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy cooking. Especially food that feeds the soul as well as the body. I also enjoy the look and feel of a beautifully designed book. Seductions in Rice feeds both of my passions. The text is interesting, something not usually true in a cookbook, and the photography is engrossing. Then I tried the recipes. I started with a chicken curry from India, then a Miso soup and sushi roll from Japan, and then my favorite, a Thai papaya salad. All filled my kitchen with rich exotic smells and tastes. This book now lives on my coffee table. It is a keeper.
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Format: Paperback
This was one of those cookbooks that I glanced through at the bookstore, liked it, put down and then went on my way yet it never left my mind. I've found when I do that I might as well buy the thing the next time around. So I did and I was not disappointed.

As others have said its part cookbook, part travelouge organized by geography. I found this to be an interesting combination. I bought the thing for the reciepies but find myself enjoying the travelouges while search through it for my next meal. I don't know, it just seems like you get more out of the dish that way.

At the beginning of the book it tells a good chunk about history, cultivation, physiology and processing of rice. This was quite informative. Things like the advantages and disadvantages of hulled vs unhulled rice and rinsing rice before cooking. No perfect solution, just valuable information based on your needs.

The receipies are of course the meat of the book. When I first opened it up I figured it would be 300 ways to prepare rice or something like that. Far from it. Many (say half or more) of the dishes are not rice dishes at all but meals or snacks that you would eat with rice. So while it does have some rice specific dishes its really more of a cookbook that samples dishes from around the world. A good chunk of them are winners, far higher hit rate than I see in most cookbooks.

The receipeis themselves tend to be easy to moderate in complexity. Having its international focus does call for some ingredients that you just wont find at your local chain grocery store. There are some good mail order sources in the back for some of the more shelf stable items. For items that need to be fresh they often suggest substitutes.

Its a great book, I really recommend it and its on my short list of go to books when I ask myself "What do I want to cook for dinner"
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Format: Hardcover
Since I have a great love for Asian and Oriental food, I am no stranger to rice in many of its variations. But my knowledge is fragmentary, and I am guilty of thinking of it as a mechanism for delivering food to my mouth, when the exact opposite is really true. To be honest, I didn't even know how much I didn't know. So when a friend confided to me that he had acquired a copy of "Seductions of Rice" I was intrigued. His description of the book convinced me that I would have to read it and, after some arm twisting, he yielded it up - on temporary lone only.
For some reason I was expecting one of those thin lightweight essay books on rice and was amazed to discover this is a large, very well made volume with a great deal of narrative and an immense number of recipes. The book is full of countless black and white photographs taken by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid on their rice hunts across the globe. There are also some wonderful color photographs taken by several professionals of food that looks so appetizing I was gaining weight reading the book. It is sufficiently well made and protected to last several generations of rice hungry families
The narrative text provides many dissertations on the varieties of rice and the cooking thereof, as well as many pastiches about the authors' travels and the people they met. Often the recipes themselves contain even more narrative. Much effort has been put into making the book of value intellectually as well as gustatorially. For the most part it is arranged geographically, with chapters on Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Central Asian & Persian, Mediterranean, Senegalese, and North American rice cookery. The obligatory (but often left out) glossary, mail order, bibliography and index sections are also present.
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