One of my little kids once said "Rice is good." and it sort of summed up something that I've noticed for a while. We are very loyal to the grains of our culture. When I was attending a Certain Illustrious Institution of Higher Learning, there was no short grain rice to be found in the cafeteria. The only kind of thing they had was that instant Uncle Ben shit, that stuff doesn't even smell right. The first month was the worst. Because I had no rice cooker, and I wasn't confident enough to try to cook rice in a pot. And when my mother sent me a rice cooker, I made a pot and just ate it straight, that's how desperate for rice I was. It doesn't make any logical sense. Our health classes teach us that we can get carbohydrates from many types of food. But during my month or so without the "right kind" of rice, I definitely felt the lack. (And for your information, the "right kind" would be short grain white, long grain won't do it, and brown rice won't do it, although I appreciate both of these kinds from time to time.)
This isn't just an Asian thing. My Caucasian coworkers have frequently said that they eventually want to eat bread or potatoes again. They get sick of rice. And I remember a short story I read, written by a native Hawaiian, who said "Rice is great and all, but I've got to have my poi."
Why do our grains come to represent our culture for us? Because they remind us of home? But why more so than say, meats or vegetables? I'm not really sure. Sometimes they seem to stand in for our culture, hence the term "rice rockets" we mean an Asian car, but if we say rice everyone will know it's an Asian car. But in the end I agree with my student, rice is good.
Ok, I'm going to stop before it gets all Amy Tan up in here.