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Byline: Sharon Noguchi
In a Japanese fairy tale, an industrious man is rewarded with a magic mortar that pours out enough rice to feed the entire village.
Like that mortar, my family's yellow plastic bin never ran out of rice when I was growing up. By the time we scraped bottom, there would be a 25- or 50-pound sack leaning nearby.
Even now, my mother habitually asks on the phone, "Do you need rice?" then drops off a sack. Except in early fall, when the question changes to a command: "Don't buy rice!" That is, why buy a sack of old rice when the new harvest is just about to be delivered?
Rice has a long shelf life, but it is produce, after all. And like pears or tomatoes or eggplant, it tastes best and most like itself when just harvested.
In Japanese and other Asian supermarkets that sell premium …