Why is it that the chief food of the Punjabis is wheat, of the Kanarese millet, and of the Bengalis and Madrasis, rice? We might say because these different races like these different grains better than others. But why do they like them better? The answer is that the people of each race have to get used to the kind of food that could be grown best and most easily in their own country. And because of that, they have got to like it the best. The climate and soil of Punjab are very good for wheat but are not good for rice or millet so naturally, the Punjabis became wheat-eaters. The chief food of the Kanarese is ragi or, millet seed because of the Deccan soil and climate suit neither rice nor wheat. Rice requires a warm, damp climate, and a great deal of water, and so it grows well in such areas as Madras, Bengal, Burma, and parts of China. So we find that the people of these places are rice-eaters. They have taken as their chief food the plant that they can grow most easily and cheaply.
Rice is a kind of grass. It is found only in hot countries and grows in water. In India, the rice fields are enclosed by low mounds or walls of earth and kept flooded with water. The young rice plants are planted in the mud below the water by hand, the farmer having to wade in the water to do it. When the leaves rise above the water, they are very bright green and make the whole rice country look very pretty.
The rice itself, which is eaten, is the seeds of the rice plant. When they are gathered, they are small brown seeds with a rough covering. The seed in this form is called paddy. But before it can be eaten, this rough brown skin or husk has to be taken off, and the white, hard seed is taken out. Paddy that has been husked is the rice.