If you’ve ever cooked rice in a rice cooker, you’ll have noticed the papery residue that gets left around the rim. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with how rice paper wrappers are made, but they’re pretty thin and brittle, so it seems likely. However, it’s a lot easier to go down to your local Asian supermarket, where they will sell you rice paper in small sheets.
When I was young, I spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen. One day I saw my mother making Christmas macaroons. Part of the trick to macaroons is that you line the baking tray with small pieces of rice paper, so that the macaroons don’t stick.
I liked the macaroons, but I was fascinated by the rice paper stuck to the bottom of them. It was like paper… but you could eat it! It just dissolved in your mouth!
Later on I found the rice paper in the pantry. One thing led to another. I don’t know whether rice paper is expensive, but I do know that mum didn’t want me eating it by the sheet. So she told me that it was only called rice paper, and that it wasn’t actually rice. She told me that it wasn’t really edible. It was like those shiny metallic cake decorations. On no account was I to risk my health by eating it.
I obediently began peeling my macaroons. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the awful truth.