Day 2 ~ The Miracle of Rice

Part 2 of my (hopefully) 5-part note on “Living Below the Line”


We eat something like 530 million metric tonnes of rice every year. I found, preposterously, an answer online to the question “how many grains of rice in a metric tonne?” If it’s remotely correct, we are talking about roughly 19.4 quadrillion grains of rice eaten this year for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

On the list of agricultural commodities, rice slots in 3rd for production, behind only sugarcane and maize. Since maize is used for a lot other than food, rice is arguably the world’s staple. Surprisingly (to me), growing it is apparently quite labour-intensive. This only surprises me because it is so cheap and so abundant. The disconnect between labour and cost hints at something sinister in our economic system, but we won’t get into that now.

I’m focused on rice because it recently laid the smackdown on bread in the “Battle of the Cheap Staples.” Pasta and potatoes will mount a challenge, yes, but already I have a hard time seeing a victory for either of them. I won’t belabour the point, but as you’ll see in my meal breakdown, rice allowed me to eat 4 cookies yesterday, and for that, I deem it miraculous.

Day 2

Lunch

Quarter box of KD + 2 tsp mayo = $0.37 + $0.10

Quarter can mixed veg = $0.20

Dinner

Stirfry: rice, carrot, onion, bok choy, sweet & sour sauce, canola oil, S&P, chili flakes = $0.69

Quarter pear = $0.12

Dessert

4 (small) Fudge graham cookies = $0.24

TOTAL = $1.72

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