Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Nice Rice

In Thai it's called "beautiful rice", to the rest of the world it's Jasmine Rice. Tonight I went to Thai Basil in Sunnyvale to hear three Thai rice farmers who were on a grand tour of the US, talk about Fair Trade rice, and how it helps the farmers keep their heads above water. They also seemed to equate fair trade with organic farming, two things which don't go together in my mind. Sure, you may get a lower yield without chemicals, but you also have seriously reduced costs. That alone ought to make you competitive with the US-subsidized growers of "ugly rice" in Texas.

It was an interesting event. Poorly attended (they were set up for about 75 attendees and got maybe 20) with a mixture of Thai wives and their American husbands, a small group of blonde female Stanford students, a couple of Thai male students and moi. The talk was to hype a couple of brands of organic rice, and an organization called ENGAGE, which helps build fair trade co-ops and helps place work-study students from the US in rice-growing activities in NorthEastern Thailand.

Each farmer (there was one woman and two men) had a chance to speak (in Thai) with a sandy-haird white boy named Chris translating. The farmers spoke rapidly, and their accent is one I did not hear much when I lived in Thailand, so I only caught about 25% of what they said, but it was enough to know that Chris was more of an intrepreter than a translator. The farmers used plain and simple words and phrases, Chris made them sound like college professors. He translated the meaning very accurately, but he completely lost their style. Probably for the best with a college-educated audience. Also, this was the last stop on a month-long tour, so while they spoke off the top of their heads, you know Chris had heard it all before, and knew what was coming. He done good, though, and I was impressed by his language skill and a little depressed that I didn't follow more than I did.

After the presentation, they served a small buffet, with their jasmine rice as the centerpiece. It is superb stuff, and if I wasn't on a low-carb diet I'd be going out and buying a box tomorrow. For info on the Alter-Eco brand rice I'm talking about, check out their web site.

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