Rice-a staple of life among diverse cultures the world over-is an “in” food today. With a bit of dash and pizzazz, “mild-mannered” easily takes on the zesty zing of Mexican, Indian, Spanish and Greek cuisine.

Certainly, for people seeking vegetarian or low-fat recipes, rice is an ideal component of innovative dishes. And, as a comfort food-Southern-style or “like Grandma” used to make it-still can’t be beat.
The traditional rice pudding conjures up memories of a warm home, good food, and lots of love. Traditional rice pudding, a blend of cinnamon, sugar and raisins added to cooked rice, is always a hit. However, many people have resolute to “eat healthy” and trying not to dig into calorie-ladled desserts!
The winner of the Rice Expo 2012 Recipe Contest was from White County and her recipe-Instant Rice Pudding.
Instant Rice Pudding
1 cup instant rice
2 1/2 cups low fat- or skim milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2cup sugar (may use Splenda instead)
1/4 cup raisins
2 eggs slightly beaten (may use egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In medium saucepan, combine rice, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and raisins. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat; boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly pour hot mixture into beaten eggs. Beat vigorously with a fork. Add vanilla. Set aside. Let cool 10 minutes or serve warm. Serve in four 1/2 cup compote dishes and garnish with whipped cream. Serves 4
To satisfy customers with a “comfort food” craving, UNCLE BEN’s has two rice pudding mixes that are quite tasty. The mixes are Uncle Ben’s Brand Vanilla Rice Pudding and Uncle Brand Cinnamon Rice Pudding. Both varieties have all the qualities of homemade pudding-rich and creamy. These mixes are very versatile and can easily be made into signature specials. Topped with berries, garnished with caramel sauce and fruit, served warm with cake or chilled in a parfait or even more delicious served with warm hot fudge sauce-a real WOW!
September is National Rice Month and on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Iron Mountain Depot in Newport the Jackson County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and the Jackson County Extension Service will host a Rice Tasting Luncheon. Drop in from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and taste how versatile rice really is in appetizers, salads, as a main dish, a side or desserts. Bring your favorite dish to share or just bring your appetite and taste.