Earlier this season, an episode of PBS' The Mind of a Chef focused exclusively on rice, showcasing Sean Brock's visit to heirloom gain purveyors Anson Mills. In this online exclusive, Anthony Bourdain narrates an animated history of rice in the South Carolina lowcountry, which at one time, was "the central component of the economy of South Carolina"... and also, unsurprisingly, the central ingredient in local cuisine.
A quick rundown: The Civil War fuels the decline of Carolina Gold rice, and the once-prized crop is completely "abandoned and forgotten" by the Great Depression. But a new interest in Carolina Gold and other "lost crops" by folks like Anson Mills and Brock has lead to a modern resurgence in Southern heirloom grains. Go, watch: