Pick Of The Week: Get A Damn Rice Cooker



Of all the things I have recommended in Pick Of The Week, this is definitely the one I most wholeheartedly (or should I say…whole grain-ily?) endorse. In fact, I’ve sort of been saving it for when I had no other ideas, which I realize was not nice because I should’ve told you about it sooner, but it is what it is. Regardless: that time has come.

If you, like me, try to eat a lot of those “healthy, well-balaced meals” that magazines are always talking about, you probably combine a whole grain with a protein and a ton of vegetables as a matter of course. At least, provided you’re not on the Paleo diet or something, in which case…no, I will not go off on a tangent about that!

Cooking three different dishes can be annoying, even if those dishes are all relatively easy to make, which is where your handy dandy rice cooker comes in. I use mine at least once a day, sometimes twice: in the morning to make myself some sort of hot cereal (Bob’s Red Mill 8-grain cereal is my favorite lately; I’m also a fan of steel-cut oats), and in the evening to make a grain to go with my dinner (generally brown rice or quinoa). Exciting stuff, I know!

Having a rice cooker is like having a robot butler that cooks your rice perfectly for you every time. You just add the right amount of grain and water (usually twice as much water as grain, check the package), push the SINGLE BUTTON on the front of the thing, and cook the rest of your food while it cooks the rice for you. It shuts off automatically when it’s done, which means it’s totally idiot proof.

I’m told you can make a bunch of other things in a rice cooker too, like polenta, beans, soups and stews, poached fruit, steamed veggies, and even frittatas, but that’s a little too advanced for me. Where would my rice go while I was making those things? I’d need to get a second rice cooker, and my roommates are already annoyed at me for taking up valuable counter space with the first.

Rice cookers are cheap and abundant; I think I got mine at Kmart for about $20. Here is one that costs $30 on Amazon.

What will you do with all of the time you save? Think of all the novels you could write and fish porn you could look at!


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    • JennyWren

      They are amazing. I particularly like using one in conjunction with a slow-cooker, because it’s like “oh, I just came home and there was something delicious ready in a pot for me, now I’m going to press this button and soon DELICIOUS WILL HAPPEN.” And then you can bugger off for fifteen minutes and get your sweats on. And then your food is done.

    • Lastango

      +1 — got mine a couple of years ago at Wal-Mart. $8.50 on sale. I never expect cheap stuff to last, but this thing is still going strong. The teflon-coated tub means the rice doesn’t stick and cleanup is easy. Automatic shutoff means not having to remember to come back to take the rice off the stove. And it always gets the rice right. Mine cooks a little dry, so after putting in 2X water/rice I add an extra splash.

    • Tania

      I looooove my rice cooker. So so much.

    • http://twitter.com/chanivictoria LaVieEnRose

      My rice cooker is ah-may-zing. The smell of steamed Jasmine rice smells almost as good as fried bacon.

    • Eileen

      My father’s family is Asian, and a couple of Christmases ago, my sisters, my cousins, and my cousin’s boyfriend and I were all chatting about rice cookers. As in…until we were adults, we didn’t understand that not everyone had one. Or why anyone thought cooking rice was hard (“Did they forget to plug the rice cooker in?”) Seriously, if you like rice, even just occasionally rather than every day, like our family, you should own a rice cooker.