This very early Minute Rice advertisement comes from Life Magazine, and one of the things that struck me about it was how strongly the ad design and style resembles an actual article, at least on first glance. Black and white photographs with detailed captions, and a relatively wordy page. (Later Minute Rice ads would be either slightly more cartoony, or be just large pictures of plates of food.)
I was wondering just how old Minute Rice is — and according to Wikipedia, it was released on store shelves in 1949, so this ad is for a product less than a year old. A little more Googling turned up the interesting story of Ataullah Durrani, an Afghani chemist who invented and perfected the process of parboiling rice. (Thankfully, it’s one of those stories that ends with, “he made millions,” rather than, “General Foods stole his process and left him with nothing.”)
BUSY-DAY LUNCH … IN 16 MINUTES. Tomato Rice is a rosy, appetizing dish for 4 … on the table in jig-time. Saute 1/4 cup finely diced onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1-1/2 cups Minute Rice, 2 cups seasoned tomato juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash pepper, 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Bring to full boil, remove from heat, cover, let stand 10 minutes. Serve with crisp bacon. You’ll taste a new kind of lusciousness — for Minute Rice absorbs all the tomato flavor and color — something no other rice can do.
As Buzz noted when we made Apricot Rice, the idea that no other rice can absorb flavor and color is pretty bizarre. But we’ll forgive them some hyperbole and try this anyway.
The kids have decided that they don’t like onions, so this is something of a risky recipe. I’m hoping the onions will also absorb the flavor and color, so they’ll be too distracted and disgusted by the V8 juice to notice…
Finely-diced onions were very quickly sautéed. I think it was faster to cook them than to chop them, actually.
We then added the rice and tomato juice, and brought it to a boil, and then waited ten minutes.
Much to my surprise, this came out very well. The strong flavor in V8 juice was mellowed out by the rice, and it paired nicely with the bacon. Hilariously, it was the baby who loved this the most, although he largely showed his appreciation by managing to get it all in his mouth instead of in his hair like most food.
Well done, Mr. Durrani!
From Minute Rice advertisement in Life Magazine, December 12, 1949 (page 5).