What’s the first thing you think of when you ponder Chinese and Japanese cuisine? They all go well with rice. This is because much rice comes from the Far East. Its origins are a little murky, though.

Some say rice originated in Thailand, others say Burma, but it was the Chinese who were the first to cultivate it successfully by a technique known as “flooding.” You’ve seen those iconic photos of rice paddies filled with water. The technique was developed hundreds of years ago to ward off weeds and pests. Maybe we need to consider this for our crops, it might save us from all those pesticides!

Rice became popular in Europe in the 1700s and was introduced in America at about that same time. South Carolina was the first U.S. state to grow it.