April 19 is National Rice Ball Day
Interesting Food Facts about Rice Balls
- The rice balls preserve very well, and can even be used to preserve meats or other foods within its airtight seal.
- The rice ball is traditionally Japanese.
- Typically the rice is soaked in vinegar and made to stick together. Dipping it in soy sauce will cause it to fall apart again.
- Rice balls date back at least as far as the 11th century.
- Another word for the rice ball is “Onigiri”, a word commonly misused to refer to sushi.
Popular onigiri fillings include tuna salad, salmon flakes, seafood salad, konbu (a type of sea vegatable), umeboshi (a sour bright-red pickled Japanese plum), tempura, and even natto (eat this one at your own risk!).
“Onigri” literally means “to hold on to”.
It was believed that onigiri could not be mass-produced as the hand-rolling technique was considered too difficult for a machine to replicate. In the 1980s, however, a machine that made triangular onigiri was devised.
Today’s Food History
- 1877 Ole Evinrude was born. He invented the first practical outboard motor in 1909. The idea came to him while rowing a boat to a picnic one day. He decided there must be an easier way to move a small boat on the water.
- 1882 Charles Darwin Died. Pioneering English naturalist who developed the theory of evolution. His works include ‘Origin of Species’ and ‘The Descent of Man.’
- 1904 Richard Pough was born. An American ecologist he was the founding president of the Nature Conservancy and helped found the World Wildlife Fund. In 1945, he was one of the first to warn about the dangers of DDT to fish and birds.
- 1933 Jayne Mansfield was born. American beauty contest winner, stage and screen actress. Supposedly the only title she ever turned down was ‘Miss Roquefort Cheese,’ because she believed it “just didn’t sound right.”
- 1947 Mark Volman of the music group ‘The Turtles’ was born.
- 1968 ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro is #1 on the charts.
- 1975 Percy L. Julian died. An African American chemist, he worked on synthesizing various compounds from soy beans. One of his creations was a foam fire extinguisher refined from soya protein.
- 1995 The Supreme Court ruled that alcohol content could be listed on beer labels, overturning a 1935 law which had prohibited it.