Rice Is Life: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the World's Most Essential Grain (Hardcover)

Rice Is Life: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the World's Most Essential Grain By Caryl Levine, Ken Lee, Kristin Donnelly Cover Image
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A love letter to the humble grain featuring 65 recipes for rice and all its glorious possibilities.

Rice is so much more than just a pantry staple. It's the foundation of cuisines across the world, a grain that sustains half the world's people, and the start of a delicious meal at home.

In RICE IS LIFE, rice visionaries and founders of Lotus Foods, Caryl Levine and Ken Lee, share 65 recipes that showcase the grain in easy-to-cook meals from around the world. From Arroz Con Pollo to Hainanese-Inspired Chicken and Rice, to Ramen "Carbonara" and Soba Noodles with Green Tea Broth and Smoked Salmon, this cookbook captures the diversity of flavors and helps transform simple, gluten-free pantry staples into flavorful and nourishing dishes.

Along the way, it offers essays on rice culture and sustainable rice agriculture, showing how rice plays a part in uplifting people across the globe. With its bright and colorful interior, RICE IS LIFE finds the joy and freshness in the everyday beauty of rice not just as a pantry staple, but a staple of life.

Rice is central to global cooking: As the staple food for more than half the world's population, rice is ubiquitous and is the foundation of so many cultures, including Japan, Korea, China, India, the Persian Empire, Italy, Finland, West Africa, the Caribbean, Thailand, Vietnam, the American South, and many more.

Naturally gluten-free: Rice and rice noodle–based recipes are naturally gluten free. This makes this pantry staple a core component in the diet of people with celiac disease, are sensitive to gluten, or are trying to incorporate less gluten into their diet for other reasons. This cookbook helps home cooks prepare rice with confidence and explore all its glorious possibilities.
Perfect for:
  • Home cooks who are looking to expand their repertoire
  • Fans of cuisines that rely on rice (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Filipino, Italian, Persian, and more)
  • People looking for gluten-free meal ideas  
  • fans of Lotus Foods and their products
  • Readers curious about the history, cultural significance, and environmental impact of rice

About the Author

Caryl Levine and Ken Lee are rice visionaries. Their pioneering introduction of Forbidden Rice®, Bhutanese Red Rice, and other specialty rices has fundamentally changed how Americans think about, cook, and eat rice, transforming it from a starchy white side dish to a center-of-the-plate ingredient. They also introduced a new paradigm, using market incentives for social change. By paying farmers premium prices to conserve rice biodiversity, they help improve incomes, protect the environment, and provide consumers with healthier rice.

Kristin Donnelly is the author of MODERN POTLUCK (Clarkson Potter, 2016) and CAULIFLOWER (Short Stack Editions, 2018). MODERN POTLUCK was lauded in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Food & Wine, Epicurious, and Design*Sponge.

Praise For…

“Every recipe in Rice Is Life looks so comforting and nourishing, and I love that they reflect rice’s origins around the world. I’ve known Ken and Caryl for years, so their book made me smile: It captures so well our shared belief in the importance of supporting our farmers. We should learn about the farmers who help put food on our table, and this book is a great place to start.”

 —Edgar Castrejón, author of Provecho 


Rice Is Life is for rice lovers. This book delves deep into the history of rice and all its varieties, plus how to cook, store, and season them. That’s before we even get into the delicious recipes: twists on traditional classics such as Spring Minestrone with White Beans and Black Rice, Sesame-Ginger Noodle Salad with Green Beans, and Portobello Ramen Burgers with ramen noodles as the bun! Throughout the book are stories of culture and rice's integral place in societies around the world, and beautiful photos that will have you hopping into the kitchen to cook. This book is a tribute to this incredible grain. You'll have so much fun delving into the world of rice with Levine and Lee as your knowledgeable guides.”

—Rachel Conners, author of Bakerita


“Rice Is Life beautifully illustrates the complexities of rice varieties, origins, and history, proving rice is anything but monolithic. It’s more than just ‘white rice.’”

—Tu David Phu, chef, community ambassador, and filmmaker


“Rice Is Life is a celebration of the most common staple ingredient throughout the world. It’s full of learnings about the varieties of rice, the growing benefits of System of Rice Intensification, how rice can be cooked, and how to make the perfect fried rice. I especially enjoyed reading the stories of farmers from countries that provide the varieties of rice for Caryl and Ken’s company, Lotus Foods. I love the simplicity of the dishes and how this humble gluten-free ingredient can make for a very fulfilling meal with the wonderful and delicious recipes portrayed in this exquisite cookbook.”

—Amisha Gurbani, author of Mumbai Modern


“I have been a fan of Lotus Foods, both for their wonderful rice and noodles, and their passionate support for small farms and environmental sustainability. That passion has found its way into this gorgeously photographed cookbook, which highlights the seemingly endless varietals of rice around the world. This book shows you how to cook rice varieties to your taste (with handy charts and all) and features recipes inspired by the cuisines of the globe: everything from breakfasts, soups, salads, and noodles to desserts. Perfectly suited for your home kitchen, Rice Is Life covers every aspect of rice.”

—Noah Galuten, author of The Don't Panic Pantry Cookbook


“An incredibly fascinating cookbook that tells a bit of a love story about rice production, the culture that it encompasses, and the extraordinarily elegant recipes you can create with rice.”

—Wil Yeung, host of Yeung Man Cooking and cookbook author

Product Details
ISBN: 9781797214900
ISBN-10: 179721490X
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: October 11th, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English