SACRAMENTO, CA - Those of us in the foodisphere often find ourselves in a place where we have to explain that rice is more than a steamed side served with Chinese take-out or a major component of Sushi. Time and again we create and share recipes ranging from jambalaya to rice and beans to show the versatility of culinary staple.
While I love to playing the role of the culinary explorer, after running into Ken Lagrande of Sun Valley Rice, in California, I discovered that rice isn't just limited to uses in the kitchen.
Anyone who has done a charity walk or run knows that the acronym RICE is a key part of the post-event for participants who strained or sprained a knee or ankle. The acronym RICE is for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rice, the grain, can play a role in the recovery period. Keep a zipper bag of ice in the freezer to use as an icepack. Unlike traditional ice packs, the loose nature of the rice allows it to form itself around the sore body part.
When a sore neck, from sitting at a keyboard strikes, use some of that frozen rice in a clean sock to hang around your neck to reduce neck soreness.
Muscle mishaps aside, rice can play a role in rescuing electronic equipment. Moisture can wreak havoc on electronic devices like mobile phones and tablets. There isn't a food writer around who has not had at least once meal where a drink was spilled and their phone or tablet got wet, then thee are those other situations where the device is dropped into liquid like a puddle or toilet. Just bury the device in a bowl of rice so all sides are surrounded. Be careful to not let any rice get into the ports. This method usually works well but may not work with sugary beverages, but it is still worth a try.
After photographing a local event on a somewhat misty day, I buried my professional camera in a bowl of rice to draw out any moisture than may have gotten inside. Afterward, that rice is reserved to use for other non-culinary needs like heat packs.
One of Lagrande's ideas is to put rice in a clean sock and heat it in the microwave to hold as a handwarmer. We took that idea a step further by going to sale section of the children's department and purchasing colorful child and infant socks for this purpose. Just fill the socks, tie off the ends, and store them in the freezer. They'll start our as cold packs, but a minute in the microwave they'll be heat packs.
This winter we found ourselves adapting the "heating sock" concept for a semi-culinary purpose. Take a few of those rice socks, heat them in microwave, and put them in the bottom of a cooler. Then put in your hot covered dish for a potluck event. Some of the socks can even be placed on top and along the sides of the dish to keep it hot during the journey to the dinner destination.
One of the our favorite tips from Food Network's Alton Brown is to have an electric coffee grinder that is used just for spices. Even with cleaning there is often some spice dust left in the grinder. The fastest way to clean the grinder, especially if grinding a few spices one after the other, is to grind some rice. It will loosen spices clean all those nooks and crannies. The same strategy also works for your electric coffee grinder.
Forget using a spray bottle to distract the cat from climbing places where they shouldn't be, too often things that shouldn't get wet, get wet. Rice can can be a part of your feline training program, not to throw at kitty, but as a noisemaker. Put some rice in a container in which it will make noise and shake it vigorously when the cat climbs. Some cats will associate the location with an annoying noise. This is not a foolproof training method as some cats know that in Ancient Egypt they were thought to be gods and they remain fearless.