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Texan Chutzpah

May 26, 1999

Perhaps I can explain the inferiority of some of the Basmati rices ("Rice: Exploding Possibilities," May 12). Basmati varieties in Texas were hybridized with high-yield Texas long grain rice--excellent in itself, but not Basmati. California Basmati appears to be the same strain. Unfortunately, the Texas traits have proved dominant and the various American Basmatis lost the traits of the real Punjab material.

In an action that may win the all-time prize for chutzpah, one Texas company has tried to patent the ancient name "Basmati" for its variants of this hybrid rice. If this move succeeds, real imported Basmati could not be called by its right name!

E.N. ANDERSON

San Bernardino

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