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!