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About Those Automatic Rice Cookers and other countertop appliances... [moved from General Topics]

The subject of counter space and rice cookers was touched upon briefly in the "Do You Measure" thread, and it set me off... So rather than respond there and have the Mods have to subdivide the thread, I thought I would be nice and just start the new thread myself.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that plain rice in Chinese restaurants -- and any other restaurant that serves "white rice" that isn't pressed into "sushi" (I use the word advisedly) -- just plain sucks since automatic rice cookers became universal? I cannot understand why anyone would buy one when it is so very easy to make rice in a pan the old fashioned way. And then there is the even easier guaranteed-no-scorch way of just tossing it in a huge vat of boiling water and pouring it into a colander after it's done. You can test grains for doneness just like pasta. No fail, no scorch! For me, an electric pencil sharpener makes a lot more sense than an automatic rice cooker! I wouldn't want to go back to sharpening my pencils with a pocket knife (usually my grandfather's) but I damn sure would like to have decent rice universally available again! And I don't think rice has changed. It's those humongous counter filling devices that are used in restaurants and now, more and more in homes. Why? Or is this just me?

And I will freely admit that my MUST HAVE automatic air filtering deep fat fryer sits on a pantry shelf collecting dust. No, I haven't given up French frying. Just do it the easy way in a sauce pan with a slotted spoon, a thermometer and a stack of paper towels. Works GREAT....! I think it must be about time to move the deep fryer to the garage to live in the big cardboard box with the automatic pasta machine. Please, God, let me resist the Sous Vide Supreme...! (I think?)

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  1. I'll speak for myself and say that I simply would not want to live without my rice cooker. I can make rice stovetop just fine, but I simply like the convenience of measuring, and forgetting about it. When I make sushi at home, it always comes out perfectly in the rice cooker, stovetop, not so consistent (and yes, I know it's my fault, entirely.) I like the set it and forget it process of the rice cooker, but I do treat the different rice varieties VERY differently, so they retain their characteristics when made in the rice cooker. I have noticed that some of my Chinese food joints' plain white has all tasted exactly the same, and tastes like it's been held for far too long resulting in a blob of mushier than should be allowed rice.

    As for the deep fryer, I like them for use outside. I still use mine probably as much as you use yours, but when I do, I use it outside to avoid deep fry funk in the house that the vent doesn't get out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      I like my deep fryer. It is a DeLonghi and has heavy washable filters. You can't smell a thing when you are frying, though, sometimes I am lazy and just use a wok. That you can smell.

      Rice cookers? Eh. I've been making rice for so long it is the last appliance I'd spend money on. If I was give one, I might give it a try but I'd probably donate it.

      1. re: Candy

        That was exactly how I felt about rice cookers until we went on vacation and stayed in an apartment that had one. Amazon had mine on the doorstep the day after we got back.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          And YOUR story is why I bought my little $15 one which I really like.

    2. We're super busy from 3pm-7 or 8 pm. I love making dinner, having it ready in my crockpot and serving it over rice from the rice cooker, with no work. Instant satisfaction walking in the door. Growing up in an asian household, everyone has always had them--since the 70's, nothing new. OTOH, I've never opened our deep fat fryer and it's going on 15 years old now (my husband won't let me get rid of it because it was a gift).

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser

        reminds me of a friend who bought a 'fry daddy' many years ago. the thing is he used it. almost every day. he just adored tater tots, it was his one big vice. he would come home, turn it on, and a few minutes later dump in his tater tots. whatever he was serving for dinner would always be accompanied by tater tots. I would never use a deep fat fryer, but far be it from me to tell someone else not to have one.

      2. Sorry Caroline, on most things I agree with you but this time not so much. Rice was one of the first things I ever learned to make. I think I was like 8 or 9. I can still make good rice in a pot on the stove, but it is not better than what comes out of a rice cooker. If you are going to chinese restaurants that can't make decent rice no matter what the reason, its time to find a new chinese (japanese, korean, etc) restaurant. Thats like going to an italian restaurant that can't make decent pasta. Fine japanese restaurants making incredibly fussy sushi use rice cookers - places like nobu and morimoto. they are not messing around with pots on the stove in the back.

        As far as home use goes I suppose it all depends on how often you use it. For a LOT of people in Hawaii rice is served at every meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As one of my friends used to tell me, "if there's no rice, it's a snack, not a meal." And I don't know one single person here that doesn't own a rice cooker. yes, I have made toast in a cast iron skillet, i have made coffee in an old saucepan, and I have stood there fine dicing meat for salsbury steak by hand. Glad i did it - once. I don't think people are going to give up their toasters, coffee makers or food processors. I'm not gonna give up my rice cooker either. It's easy, it makes great rice every time, and I don't have to watch it. As they say, set it and forget it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: KaimukiMan

          Yes, a special treat for my father, still, is that he can set his rice cooker and have rice any time of day, whenever he wants.

        2. Cooked a nice batch of barley in the rice cooker last night to go with the fall apart chuck roast that I cooked in the crockpot. I've been using rice cookers for so long I just don't care to go back to the pot on the stove. Sometimes "set it and forget it" is the best way to go.

          1. No rice cooker, psssst Caroline, don't tell anyone, but I've never used a crock pot, much less a pasta maker or a deep fryer. ) Gimme back my Stanley Waterford wood cook stove! Cooking, warmth and a constantly on bread oven.
            It's hard to be a living anachronism in 'Merica today.
            DumKeg the Neo-Luddite
            I do love my pressure cookers, however.

            1. Call me a Luddite, but I've never gotten the lure of a rice cooker, either. I make basmati in a saucepan, perfectly cooked, no scorching. Only 2 appliances are allowed on my counter: coffeemaker and toaster. Just began using the food processor last year, and it still lives under the counter. All the mandolines, choppers, various other floatsam have been relegated to the Salvation Army.

              1 Reply
              1. re: pine time

                I have the same 2 appliances, but the food processor is in the pantry and used only a few times a year. God! No I-phone or GPS and drive a '87 SAAB, which I work on myself. My baosts are all paddle powered.
                I cook for 9 pall summer long on remote Maine islands, as a licensed kayak guide, on a Coleman stove and camp cookware. Maybe it makes my modest kitchen look high tech by comparison?
                Am I just the over-the hill hippy that I never was? Asian food every night. Chop! Chop!
                My Korean DIL in Seoul does, however, have a rice cooker.
                Simplify, Simplify, Simplif,
                Dum Keg

              2. Hmmmm. I kinda sorta agree with you. We're definitely gadget obsessed in this country. Certainly, my grandmother never owned a food processor, blender, toaster or anything other than the bare essentials to cook for her seven children. Having said that, I do own two rice cookers. One of them is for Persian rice (boil some pre-soaked basmati rice in a big pot of water just until al dente, strain, then let steam in the cooker with tahdig on the bottom - rice mixed with egg, saffron and a splash of rose water). This one doesn't get used very often. My Japanese rice cooker, OTOH, gets used at least twice a week - quinoa, brown rice, grains - I get much better, consistent results with these in the cooker. I can cook white rice with pretty consistent results on the stovetop. But brown rice, wild rice, mixed rices, and many grains become very problematic - no matter what I do, how I do it, or what I do it in, I can't seem to get consistent results. Does this mean I'm running out to buy a deep fryer and a sous vide? No way! The only gadgets I buy are the ones I know I'll use often and will make life easier for me in my kitchen. My grandmother did just fine washing their clothes in the nearest river (even in the winter) and would air dry them - this was better for the environment and they never had chemIcals lingering in their clothes. Doesn't mean I shouldn't use my washer/dryer.

                13 Replies
                1. re: sherrib

                  I don't have a rice cooker, but I have a waffle maker, coffee maker, slow cooker, toaster oven, blender, juicer, foodsaver, kitchenaid stand mixer, blah blah blah... I just don't find the need for a rice cooker. It's so easy to make on the stove and I don't need another appliance. And I eat rice several times a week.

                  To each their own...

                  1. re: ahack

                    I'll admit I don't need about 90 percent of what I have in my kitchen (including all the pots, pans, etc) but that doesn't mean I don't use them. I LOVE this stuff! I really really enjoy using my kitchen stuff (and i don't discriminate either - it could be a copper pan or some el cheapo from a restaurant supply store - I adore them equally). Most of my friends feel this way about their extensive shoe collections. I have three pairs. To each her own!

                  2. re: sherrib

                    "We're definitely gadget obsessed in this country"

                    Maybe for many things, but not rice cookers. Rice cookers are popular in East Asian counties -- significantly more so than in US.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      You need one if you have a kitchen like mine was in Taipei - 2 burners, both white-hot or off. I've never had one since, mainly due to not having very much counter space.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        :) Taipei kitchen is small. I think my kitchen during my postdoc was larger than my mom's kitchen. She actually has a large apartment, but the kitchen is small. Of course, she has a bunch of things stored there, which really make the work space even smaller still.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Small but fun. I really learned to cook there. I loved Taipei.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            :) Taipei is fun. I spent most of my childhood summer vacations there, visiting grandparents. A lot of cool and beautiful stores there. Chinese stores, Western stores Starbucks, KFC, McDonald. These stores are actually slightly more neat and beautiful in Taipei. McDonald in Taipei are clean. Starbucks look almost upscale. The funny things are that the residential homes are actually small, tiny and maybe even dusty in comparison. Going out just seem so much more attractive than staying home. Here, in US, I have the opposite feeling. I really don't feel I have to go out. Even with my cheap apartment in my graduate student years (more than ten years ago), I didn't feel the temptation of leaving the apartment.

                            This is particularly for restaurants. I can get a decent meal in Taipei for little amount of money, and it isn't just because of US dollar value. Many residents in Taipei eat out all the time. In the US, I don't feel the lower scale restaurants can make better foods than I do and I can save some money eating at home.

                            "I really learned to cook there."

                            I am surprised you didn't find more temptation to eat out there (Taipei).

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              We lived in Jiantan in a (downscale but still a bit expensive) foreigner's residence kind of thing and ate out as much as humanly possible on a Fulbright and SSRC grant and me teaching English. The restaurants were divine, I remember whole meals to this day (and went back to some of the same ones - Zhongshan Bei Lu Tianchu, Linshen Bei Lu Peng Yuan - weird to use Pinyin for Taibei locations - last time we were there, in 2007). It was the best single experience of my life so far. Love the food, culture, language, still consider Taipei one of my heart's homes.
                              I just have to cook wherever I am anyway (and have since I was a kid) so having the strictures of this kitchen and access to the exquisite raw materials there was a real impetus to getting better at it.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Chemical, you are right - Americans are not "rice cooker obsessed". Even Persians, for whom a perfectly cooked platter of rice is sacred, don't use rice cooker as often as one might expect. I, personally, am "everything in the kitchen" obsessed. There's a current thread about dehydrators - never before did one cross my mind. I am slowly convincing myself I "need" one.

                      3. re: sherrib

                        Your dryer does consume a lot of energy though, and much can be dried on lines and racks. Washing machine not so much, if washing in cold water. And like a dishwasher (getting back to cookware and appliances) it saves on detergent, and if a modern type, on water.

                        I assume you mean the US? I can assure you that you have no monopoly on a modern love of gadgets.

                        1. re: lagatta

                          The covenants and restrictions in my neighborhood forbid clothes lines. i am just waiting for my old one to give up so I can get a newer more efficient model. New washer last year, I think I only use a Tbs or so of detergent per load. New dishwasher last month, holds more, uses less water and is much more energy efficient. Come on dryer, die! DH can't see buying a new one unless it is absolutely necessary and the energy savings don't do it for him.

                          Bread maker, I am married to one, have been for almost 36 years.

                          Food processor yes, stand mixer yes, mini-processor yes, blender yes, hand mixer yes, immersion blenders 2 yes. Most valuable piece of kitchen equipment (I love great knives) are my pressure cookers. I have an unused slow cooker in my laundry room, I should donate it. I don't have time for slow cookers

                          Not really necessary, but I love? Cuisinart ice cream maker with its own compressor. No freezing a tub, no ice. no salt. Just make your base(s), pour it in and walk away. extravagant yes but i do have fun coming up with new flavors. It can make very cold drinks and soups too.

                        2. re: sherrib

                          "My grandmother did just fine washing their clothes in the nearest river (even in the winter) and would air dry them - this was better for the environment and they never had chemIcals lingering in their clothes. Doesn't mean I shouldn't use my washer/dryer.".....sherrib

                          I can't resist this, but if only we could air dry our clothes the way our grandmother's did and have them come in clean and pollution free! Unfortunately, the planet has changed and we have changed it. Air drying, in some parts, is to bring real pollution into your house. Shame on us!

                          But you make another comment I find I'm reacting to. You say you only buy kitchen gadgets and "appliances" you're sure you will use. WHAT is your secret! I want to know!!! I don't think anyone ever buys something thinking, "Oh, this will be wonderful to keep in that empty cardboard box in the garage! It's worth $300.00 to have the stupid box filled!" But that is exactly what has happened to me with the wonderful put-in-flour-and-eggs and extrude fantastic-home-made PASTA MACHINE that's living in my pet empty box in the garage. I had no idea I just plain don't much care for soft pasta, and unless you air dry it for a couple of weeks, you cannot get "al dente" from fresh home made pasta, no matter how much money you pay for semolina wheat!

                          There are times when the dream and the reality of a new kitchen gadget are simply irreconcilable! Unfortunately. '-)

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Hahaha, Caroline, you crack me up!! To be perfectly honest, I'm super cheap - not only with my money but also for valuable counter and cabinet space in my kitchen. What this ends up meaning for me is that I buy things to last and make sure I need them before buying them. I DON'T buy anything on a whim. I walk into housewares stores just like I do to the supermarket - with a list. If something catches my eye, I'll put it on my list for next time and then go home and really think about it's usefulness. I guess you could say I've acknowledged my addiction and am doing my best to manage it ;

                        3. Nobody needs a rice cooker; people made perfectly good rice for millennia before the things were invented. And whether to own one is a purely personal decision. But the notion that a rice made in a cooker is inferior to rice made on the stovetop is just silly.

                          Do you really think that the Japanese would have universally adopted machines that can't make good rice? Hundreds of millions of people use rice cookers every day for one simple reason: they do a great job. And although I'm not a fan of the neuro-fuzzy-logic cookers, there's no disputing that they can monitor and adjust the cooking process in ways a cook with a pot and a flame simply can't.

                          That's not to say the machines can't produce bad rice; it's just a little more difficult than ruining rice on the stovetop. But just because it's possible to misuse a device doesn't mean it doesn't work well or isn't worthwhile. I don't have a coffee maker on my countertop, but the rice cooker is there to stay.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            alanbartnes: "Nobody needs a rice cooker; people made perfectly good rice for millennia before the things were invented."

                            Very true. Also: nobody needs a flush toilet; people did perfectly well with shallow trenches in the ground for millennia before the things were invented.

                            Speaking for our household, we probably would function better, overall, with no flush toilet and a rice cooker than we could function with no rice cooker and a flush toilet.

                            We drink coffee every day; we do not need, and we do not have, an automatic coffee maker. We do have a fuzzy logic rice cooker, and it is an essential part of our daily routine.

                            1. These electric rice cookeres are a blessing to me. They save so much time. I often come home late (7-8PM) and the last thing I want is to stand there and make rice. I pop my rice in the rice cooker turn it on and go take a shower/bath. The rice is all ready when I get out of the show.

                              The only time I make rice is to intentionally scorch the rice in a clay pot.

                              1. It depends on much and how often you eat rice. Old school Toshiba/Panasonic/National cookers look and work the same as they did in the early 60s. Japanese never went back to old cast-iron pots. They're a huge convenience. Both old and new micro-processor models work well. Use quality rice and follow directions--fool-proof.

                                1. Caroline1, I always love your posts, but don't agree this time. Have you ever tried a rice cooker? I used to make rice without a machine--it almost always came out "okay" -- but that meant a tiny bit over or underdone -- with the rice cooker I get *perfect* every time, no effort. Why would I not use it? I also do quinoa and barley -- always right, never not-quite-right.
                                  What I do without is... a dishwasher, and a garbage disposal. Hate 'em!

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: blue room

                                    For a second, I thought you said you can do without a washer (cloth). :)

                                    Yeah, I have never used a dishwasher. I used to use garbage disposals, but my last two apartments do not have them. I missed themin the beginning, but now I don't.

                                    1. re: blue room

                                      I agree totally. If used properly, I think you will get better results with a rice cooker, especially for Asian style rice. Also, the rice cooker keeps most kinds of rice warm for hours, which is also very convenient. But a rice cooker is *not* a necessity for people who don't cook rice on an almost daily basis. For some it probably really is overkill. But I'm with blue_room - I'd rather do without a dishwasher than without a rice cooker.

                                      I also really like the timer feature of mine - making stovetop brown rice takes hours, but with the rice cooker, I can have perfect brown rice ready when I get home from work, or perfect steel cut oats ready when I wake up.

                                      Seconding the comment that quinoa comes out perfect in a rice cooker, while I've never, ever had good results with it on the stovetop.

                                      1. re: blue room

                                        Ahhh, blue room, I have to confess, not only to never having used a rice cooker, but also never having eaten rice prepared in one in a friend's house. Restaurants ONLY! I guess it's possible that I have had some good rice from a restaurant's rice cooker and never stopped to think about it, but in the last two years I have had a great preponderance of gummy dried out rice from rice cookers in Asian style restaurants. Great globs of rice I've had to cut with a knife to be able to pick it up. And yes, I agree fully with whoever said I need to find some better Chinese restaurants. Problem! I live in Plano, Texas. I'll just leave it at that.

                                        As for dishwashers and garbage disposals, I got my first dishwasher when my first child was born and I asked my pediatrician which method he recommended for sterilizing baby bottles. "Get a dishwasher and the baby will have sterile bottles and you and your husband will cut colds and flu by 75%!" I've used a dishwasher religiously ever since and had about three colds in 42 years. As for garbage disposals, better left overs and spoiled stuff down the garbage disposal than having armadillos and other wild critters looting my trash cans. Raccoons are quite good at picking locks...!!! '-)

                                        So the consensus seems to be that I'm way off the mark on the quality of rice a rice cooker can produce. My error seems to be in assuming that the cooks in the places where I've had gummy, yucky dry and welded rice knew how to use their rice cookers. I don't think I'm going to rush out and buy one, but I do plan on paying MUCH closer attention to how its cooked when I do have GOOD rice...! I may be in for some surprises! '-)

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Always gracious, even in defeat. Had no idea you were in Plano, still hard to believe that they serve bad rice. Guessing they probably make too much and it sits in the warmer mode too long.

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            If the rice was gummy or dried out it was old, not the fault of the rice cooker. Your local restos are using the rice from the day(s) before and reheating it.

                                            Japanese pros that I new swore by gas fired rice cookers, these things are too large for the home kitchen but look and function pretty much like the electric ones. There were always a couple of extra pots of rice around soaking overnight. Leftover were either turned into fried rice, onigiri or tossed out.

                                          2. re: blue room

                                            I agree with you. I only bought one about six months ago. And when I'm cooking alot of things that all require timing, it's nice to have the rice under control. I also make quinoa in it, a product that seemed to take forever to get done. No problem now. Mine cost $15.

                                          3. You know, James Beard advocates cooking rice by throwing it into a pot of boiling water. A technique I've never tried...

                                            I have an ancient electric range that is worthless as far as temperature control goes. Rice cookery on that thing is out of the question, at least the "normal" way.

                                            I love the rice cooker. The girlfriend prefers frozen brown rice from Trader Joes (which is great) but sometimes I really just want basmati or jasmine, and the rice cooker is the best option for me.

                                            We really try not to use the microwave. In fact, it's locked under the sink. I think I used it once this year. *kudos*

                                            1. Sorry, but totally disagree with you on the automatic rice cooker.

                                              Rice cookers in restaurants have been in use for for decades now, probably 30 or 40 years at least. The difference that you may find in restaurant rice and the stuff you make at home isn't because of the cooking vessel or method, but the type of rice.

                                              And isn't sushi rice made with rice cookers also?

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Rice cookers are pretty much essential in busy Japanese restaurants even for the most skilled chefs. Although most places use gas fired rice cookers, I don't know anyone that uses a stove-top method unless they are serving a very small number of people. Stove top rice (like kama-meshi) or rice cooked in a kamado tastes better (most people might not notice the difference), but it's very easy to screw up, and it's much more labor intensive. If you're in a busy kitchen and you accidentally leave the heat on for an extra thirty seconds you can ruin a lot of rice. To give you an idea how much rice you need to cook, the restaurant I'm working in currently cooks rice in a 50 cup cooker every 45 minutes. If we accidentally burn it we would have a lot of angry people waiting a long time for their rice.

                                                Japanese (and I assume Chinese) rice is sticky because it steams in the pan after the water has evaporated. The timing of the heat and the temperatures reached inside the rice cooker are extremely important, and removing the lid to test things is not an option because the steam and heat will escape, ruining the rice. It is not possible to make sticky Japanese rice by dumping white rice into boiling water and straining it out. I assume this is different from western rice. Honestly, , even though I've been eating it my entire life, I'm embarrased to say that I have no idea how things like American wild rice are supposed to be cooked. Does everyone make it like pasta? I know that paella and risotto can't be strained out, but as far as "American" rice goes, what is the typical way of making it?

                                                If your Chinese or Japanese restaurant serves bad rice, the last thing you want them to do is get rid of the rice cooker. If they can't make good rice with a rice cooker, they definitely can't make good rice without one.

                                                1. re: la2tokyo

                                                  If your Chinese or Japanese restaurant serves bad rice, the last thing you want them to do is get rid of the rice cooker. If they can't make good rice with a rice cooker, they definitely can't make good rice without one.



                                                  1. re: la2tokyo

                                                    The "pasta" method is effective for any plain indica rice, from basmati to jasmine to the stuff that comes in a bag that just says "long grain rice." When you want each grain separate, and when the cooking liquid is imparting no flavor, the pasta method is a viable option.

                                                    That said, I think very few people who eat rice often make it that way. It's simpler just to steam it, and if it's a staple of your diet you figure out the ratios, times, and heat levels pretty quickly. It's exactly the same process as cooking japonica rice, but takes a bit more water.

                                                    I also wonder about how the flavor of pasta-style rice compares to steamed rice. Seems to me that you're going to lose some flavor when you pour the cooking liquid down the drain. That may not be a big deal with generic long-grain, but I want to keep all the wonderful aroma of an aged basmati in the pot.

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      Let me open by saying that this last bag of Mahatma brand basmati rice is not like all the others I've had before it. First off, it was VERY hard to find, a premium price but seriously lacked premium flavor! Anyway, tonight my "Dinner for one, please James" was wild caught Alaskan flounder fillets fried in olive oil and butter with a bit of terragon, then served on a bed of "pasta method" basmati rice with a drizzle of balsamic and French cut green beans on the side. I cannot say whether the rice lost any flavor with the "pasta method" of cooking it since it didn't have that full typical basmati flavor to start with, but it came out as separate "fluffy" (as in not packed together) individual grains that also had plenty of room to grow loooooong and kind of "snaky" in shape, which may sound like a bad thing but actually isn't. Did a LOT of the starch go down the drain? You betcha! Would I use this method every time I make rice? Never! Or at least not until someone comes up with a really easy to clean colandar for draining it with. But! Tonight it was a perfect match in its lightness for the flounder and light and airy green beans, so to put it in Marthanese, "its a good thing!" '-)

                                                      And Alan, your avatar? Why are you teaching an old dog new tricks, and what have you done with Mr. Capone! I hope not cement shoes... <sigh>

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        The pasta method is great for maximizing the texture of long-grain rice. And basmati may be the longest-grain rice of all, so the pasta method is ideal for that. But it isn't all about texture - taste plays a role, too.

                                                        The "snaky" texture of the rice you're working with is a good thing. But it should ideally be accompanied by an intense fragrance and flavor. If you have the opportunity to visit an Indian market where they sell high-quality rice, you may be able to stick your nose into various bags of the stuff. It's an enlightening experience.

                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                          Oh, I've had the good stuff before! It's just that when I ran out last time, I had to settle for -- well, "settle" is a poor choice of words. Let's just say that jasmine rice was all that I could find. Basmati had about vanished! And there are lots of Indian restuarants in these parts too. It was also a time when I could ONLY get basmati in twenty five pound bags in Asian markets, and do you know how many centuries it would take me to use up twenty five pounds of basmati! Things seem to be beter now. It may have been a reflection of world market and weather, as in monsoons and whatever. ut this is the least aromatic basmati I've ever had. Even though Mahatma is a very common brand, I'll think twice before I buy Mahatma basmati again. :-(

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            The best by far I've had lately is labeled "Dehraduni" (from Dehradun, India, but I'm 100% sure you know that). Very aromatic.

                                                    2. re: la2tokyo

                                                      "Japanese (and I assume Chinese) rice is sticky because it steams in the pan after the water has evaporated."

                                                      The variety of rice has a lot to do with the stickiness of the rice. A general rule of thumb is that the shorter the grain of rice, the stickier it is. That's why rice used for sushi is usually short grain--it holds together when you pick it up. In contrast, Chinese restaurants often use long grain rice, which doesn't stick together that well. That is also the reason why long grain is better than short grain for making fried rice.

                                                  2. I like having a rice cooker because if I'm entertaining it frees up a burner on my stove. It reduces mess because I don't have to clean a pot and strainer right away to make the kitchen presentable during entertaining, too. It is also one less thing I have to think about. If I have my meat in the Sous Vide Supreme and my rice in the rice cooker, all I have to do is cook a vegetable, sear the meat and plate. Easy peasy.

                                                    1. Car, Sweet: What were you doing up at 1:47 AM?

                                                      I'm pretty much with you. I make rice about 1x/week on average, is all. I need all the space in my kitchens I can find, and so my rice cooker (a good wedding present for a bad marriage) went in a garage sale years ago. I'm not convinced rice cookers make bad rice, I just never really got past the single-use aspect (Yeah, before anyone else jumps me, I know you CAN do other things with fuzzy logic machines; it's just that most people don't).

                                                      We now have boil-in bags of rice for the pot, and even nuke-able frozen rice as the next convenience progression. The only of the latter I've tried is Trader Joe's brown rice, and I think the texture and separate-ness is excellent.

                                                      Let me help you avoid the Sous Vide Supreme... When you get your induction cooktop with the precise temp control, just cock up your own waterbath on it.

                                                      If that doesn't work, would you be interested in a lightly-used bread machine?

                                                      34 Replies
                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        That frozen rice just blows my mind. Does ANYONE actually have enough room for that?!?

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Not the same as *buying* frozen rice, but we freeze our leftover rice (if we're not using it for fried rice, in which case it goes in the fridge, of course). Ball it up in saran wrap "hamsters" for later re-heating.

                                                          1. re: will47

                                                            I like that 'hamster' idea. It's not often that rice makes it more than a couple of days but if so.... The frozen rice that one can buy just offends my frugal nature. I lump that in with chopped onions and such for salsa. Hell...OH.

                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                            c oliver: Mea non culpa. The DW brought home the TJ's frozen brown rice. I scoffed. She insisted. I chewed and tasted. I knelt and begged forgiveness.

                                                            It is good.

                                                            If CH lasts that long, a prophet says: Out of the west will come one who eschews the Bag and the IceRice, who cleaves to the fuzzy logic. She will be ridiculed for Her truth as heresy, and the Baggers and Icers will gnash and invoke their throng: "We the nation DEPEND on the Bags and Ice; whosoever could praise the Cooker is as backward as the ancient Pan People." (Apologies to foofdfuser).

                                                            Beware. Convenience bears a price.

                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                              Last line --- YES! It's the price of that convenience that niggles a bit. I have a dog who, when a pup, had a very 'delicate' stomach. When it would act up, she went on the rice, yogurt, etc. diet for a few days. I kept the boil-in-bag around for that use and was glad to have it.

                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                kaleokahu, the first read-through, my old eyes misread one word of the prophesy.

                                                                "Baggers and Icers will gnash and invoke their thong: ... "

                                                                I kind of prefer the way I misread it, and am consulting the freudianistas.

                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                I buy two packages at a time, then remove all three rice bags out of each box and freeze them randomly distributed throughout the freezer. Kinda wasteful, I'll agree, but so convenient when you need brown rice right now.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  have you done a price comparison on frozen vs cook it your self rice? Ridiculous! That is right up there with frozen mashed potatoes.

                                                                  1. re: Candy

                                                                    And have you seen the chopped onions???

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      but onions are about $1.50/lb, at least here in Honolulu. For $1.69 i can get a 16oz package of frozen chopped onion. And that is no waste.

                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                        I was referring to the little plastic containers in the produce department of fresh chopped onion. I don't think I've notice frozen chopped onions. What do you use them for? I know many, many (most) food items (and non) in Hawaii are really expensive but don't y'all still grow onions? And they're still that pricey. Whew. 'Course here on the mainland I'm not finding much these days under a buck a pound.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          we grow onions here, but all produce grown here is more expensive than the stuff they bring in from the mainland. yes, you read that correctly, we pay a premium for locally grown.

                                                                          the frozen chopped onions are great when you are making spaghetti or chili, or just about anything and find that the onion you thought was still in the back of the fridge has gone mushy. no, you don't want to use it for anything raw (tuna salad, etc), but other than that, its not a bad option.

                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                            "yes, you read that correctly, we pay a premium for locally grown."

                                                                            That kinda stuff makes ya crazy, doesn't it? Can you spell "counter-intuitive"???

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              c oliver, it happens all the time. We live right next to a superb wine zone, Yamhill County (Oregon) pinot noir. Some of the wines grown, aged, and bottled here never see the shelves of local stores, but go straight to the collections of Goldman Sachs executives in New York City whose annual bonuses (over and above salaries) run into the billions of dollars. So, here in wine country, we drink wines imported from Umbria and Toscana at a small fraction of the price we would have to pay for local pinots noirs. (Actually, price aside, we prefer the Umbrian wines.)

                                                                              1. re: Politeness

                                                                                Politeness!!!! You live in Oregon?????? We lived in Grants Pass for almost 20 years. But, yes, I get your point.

                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                bananas from Costa Rica, pineapple from the Philippines, mangoes from Mexico... all of them are cheaper than locally grown.

                                                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                            Agreed that frozen onions, leeks, etc. are sometimes a viable option. (I'll cheerfully give the folks at Trader Joe's $1.99 for a pound for peeled pearl onions so I don't have to mess with the prep work myself). But das not gon get dem ono Kula kine onions.

                                                                            Frozen rice is another beast. $1.99 for a single serving of rice just seems silly when the ingredients cost pennies. Of course convenience is an issue, but making rice is a whole lot easier than prepping onions, so the cost differential just isn't worth it to me.

                                                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                      You don't read my time stamps often, do you! '-)

                                                                      As for the rest, I just know I'm going to come across as the anachronism that I am, but I cannot, for the life of me, understand bread machines. Well, wait a minute! I consider my Kitchenaid the very best bread machine in the world! I just don't understand the kind that make those all-shaped-the-same loaves! I mean, show me an English muffin made in THAT kind of bread machine and I'll consider it. Until then, to each his own.

                                                                      As for the induction cook top, it keeps sinking over the horizon like a setting sun! Last month, a power surge killed my computer. Got it repaired and resumed working on my graphics project when the monitor decided white pages had to be either pink or blue, so now I'm getting headaches from doing graphics on a brand new Samsung 22" LED monitor. Bright lights and all that jazz.... <sigh> I've just gotta get out there and buy more lottery tickets...! '-)

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Car: There is neither scintilla, mote nor monad of your posts unread by me. Your dicta read as others' theses.

                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                          And now every time I use the rice cooker I'll think of Caroline1.

                                                                          Caroline, I learned from an internet friend to use my bread machine for kneading & rising only--(no stand mixer). I just take out the silky elastic dough and shape and bake.
                                                                          Hated the loaves I actually *baked* in the thing!

                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                            Yeah, but can you whip egg whites or make whipped cream in it? '-)

                                                                            Actually, my Kitchenaid mixer and your bread machine probably have very similar "footprints," but mine does so much more. Probably not all that far apart in price either, I suspect. I've never really examined a bread machine up close and personal. How much of it goes in the dishwasher for clean up? Just curious.

                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                              I want a stand mixer, I just keep putting it off -- and the bread machine was a big mistake from years ago. I'm glad now though to have it for kneading, as my hands and strength--well, you know.
                                                                              The bread machine has a "bucket", and a little (man's thumb size?) metal stirrer that whips around noisily and powerfully until the bread is kneaded. Neither of these are hard to wash or keep clean.
                                                                              I have an electric hand mixer. I don't mind using it, I sadly don't need such nice things as whipped cream or whites that peak too often.

                                                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                        I must confess to loving the frozen pre-cooked rice from Trader Joe's, esp the brown rice. I can nuke it in 3 min compared to 40-50 on the stove.

                                                                        In general, I prefer to make my own rice, and appreciate the convenience of a rice cooker. Mine sucks, and I plan to replace it with a good one, but I'm beginning to wonder if there is any such thing.

                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                          Isolda: "... appreciate the convenience of a rice cooker. Mine sucks, and I plan to replace it with a good one, but I'm beginning to wonder if there is any such thing."

                                                                          There is.

                                                                          Back before the Internet became big, when there were BBSes and BBS Networks, I remember having a discussion on the ILink Japan Board about our then not-very-old rice cooker, a National (Panasonic) model SR-EA10N which was one of the first fuzzy logic rice cookers on the American market. Because the discussion was on ILink, it had to have been at least 15 years ago, probably closer to 20. Over the intervening years, while the National has worked ceaselessly, flawlessly, perfectly, with no cause whatsoever for complaint, in making rice at least 300 -- probably closer to 365 -- times per year, I have secretly and guiltily harbored a wish that maybe it would stumble and allow me to get a shiny new Zojirushi with all of the NEW! and IMPROVED! features designed to incite buyer lust (but, truthfully, do not do much for making better rice). But no. This rice cooker just keeps on keeping on, quietly doing exactly its assigned job, perfectly, every day, no complaints, no falters, no stumbles. Damn: it is certain to outlive me.

                                                                          1. re: Politeness

                                                                            Could you please explain to me what a fuzzy logic machine is and how it differs from a regular rice cooker?

                                                                            1. re: runwestierun

                                                                              runwestierun, Fuzzy logic in a rice cooker is just one step on the ladder of degrees of control of the heat. The earliest (and current model simplest) rice cookers simply had a heating coil and a timer in them. When you turned the rice cooker on, the heating coil got hot and stayed on for a certain length of time, then shut off. The next level up the ladder of sophistication is a thermostatically regulated rice cooker, where the shut-off mechanism is triggered by the thermostat's recognizing that the rice has reached a certain temperature. The next step up is a heating element that turns off and on within the cycle to maintain a certain temperature. The next step is a variable temperature heating element or array of heating elements that need not be all-on or all-off. Up from that, you have sophistication of the location where the heat is applied (bottom only is simplest; whole pot -- via induction technology -- is the most comprehensive) and of the shape of the pot itself (a "spherical" -- really a chord of a hemisphere -- shape places more of the rice near the heat and less of the rice remote from the heat).

                                                                              As you may appreciate, microprocessors have invaded the world of rice cookers as they have most other appliances. Computer managed thermostats ("Micom") were the first implementation. But computers, at base, are binary, on or off. Fuzzy logic, a mathematical concept implemented in hardware and software, allows the electronics to communicate with the heating elements to "make the rice a little bit warmer," or "back off the heating just a smidgen."

                                                                              In practice and historically, the step from "plain" computer controlled thermostats to fuzzy logic control of the thermostats proved to be a greater boon for the finished product (rice) than the step from on-off thermostats to computer-controlled (but non fuzzy) thermostats.

                                                                              So (personal opinion, but one that I share with many others), if you are looking to purchase a rice cooker, and you want a better-than-base disposable appliance, the next step up to consider should be the lowest model that has fuzzy logic. A pretty good argument can be made that all of the steps of the ladder above the lowest fuzzy logic model are tiny increments or window-dressing.

                                                                                1. re: Politeness

                                                                                  Thank you! And now I understand why my super-cheap Black and Decker rice cooker is so awful. It's definitely one of the heating coil types. If I don't shut it off the very second the rice is done, it will burn.

                                                                                2. re: runwestierun

                                                                                  Impress your friends mad to know more about your new rice cooker:


                                                                                3. re: Politeness

                                                                                  My old no-name rice cooker finally became unpredictable so I bit down and got a 10-cup Zojirushi fuzzy logic cooker. It's fabulous and even plays "Twinkle twinkle little star" when I hit the start button. It makes perfect rice every time with no attention paid to it once you turn it on. I think you can make cakes in it, too, but I never tried. In fct, I may do that tomorrow if I can find the manual.

                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                    "It's fabulous and even plays "Twinkle twinkle little star""

                                                                                    Is there an option to turn this off?

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      As Meatloaf sang "You took the words right out of my mouth...."

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        It only plays the first two lines- and not very loudly. Just to let you know you did turn it on and cooking is beginning. It's cute in the Japanese way :-) and doesn't bother me enough to look for a way to turn it off.

                                                                              1. Frankly, I use my rice cooker about 25 times more often than my toaster.

                                                                                1. Your need for a rice cooker depends upon how often you eat rice IMHO. My wife is Japanese we eat rice almost every night, sometimes at lunch as well. We could not live without our fancy Japanese rice cooker, which keeps rice warm for 2-3 days before it starts to dry out. We also freeze any rice we do not use right away. It is easy to reheat in the microwave.
                                                                                  I do think our rice cooker consistently makes delicious rice and its nice to have, but I dont think a rice cooker is necessary unless you eat rice more than once a week.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: AdamD

                                                                                    If you don't have a rice cooker you probably won't eat rice more than once a week, bit of a chicken/egg situation there.

                                                                                    1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                      I hear what you are saying. I could say "if you wanted to eat rice more than once a week," but so many people purchase gadgets with the intention of using them more often then they actually do. If you like rice and eat it often, or if you want to eat rice more often, then a rice cooker is a necessity IMHO.

                                                                                  2. No mention that I can see of microwave rice cooking pots. Mine cooks way superior rice to either of my (admittedly older generation) rice cookers, but is only big enough for 4 servings.

                                                                                    As for other counter top kit, my halogen oven has been a revelation in the 6 months I've had one. It roasts beautifully, and just for the price of a decent saucepan!

                                                                                    1. A stupid question. How do rice cookers do w/ brown rice, which we eat 5-1 over white? How long does it take?

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                        rice cookers are much slower than stovetop. but they are so hands off it doesn't matter, to me.

                                                                                        brown takes an hour +. mine also has a setting that takes 3 hours for GABA brown rice - that is it allows the grain to germinate before cooking, which is supposed to be even more healthful

                                                                                        most rice cookers hold rice warm really well, so you can start them before dinner and the rice will be perfect when youre ready for it. they also have timers so you can tell the cooker what time you want the rice done by.

                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                          Dinner time is often so hurried, I will, at times, use my pressure cooker for brown rice!

                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                            but the rice cooker can save you that hurry. put the rice and water in when you have free time, set the timer, and forget it

                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                              "Free time"? I know not what that is.

                                                                                          2. re: thew

                                                                                            You have to distinguish between "smart" and "dumb" rice cookers. The smart ones (computer chips, neuro fuzzy logic, etc.) take a lot longer than cooking on the stovetop for any kind of rice. I have a dumb one - one thermostatically controlled on/off switch - and it's just like cooking in a saucepan.

                                                                                          3. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                            Mine does best with brown rice if I soak it ahead of time. Takes about 45 minutes - the same as cooking it on the stovetop.

                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                              I generally soak my brown rice over night. See you in 3 weeks, Al.

                                                                                          4. I got onto this late, but I challenge the notion that the poor rice is the result of the use of a rice cooker.

                                                                                            Your reference point is a North American Chinese restaurant, many of which are on the lower end of the price point and many of which "offer" rice gratis as part of the meal being ordered. So, if you need to do it fast and you need to do it cheap, you're not going to buy the best rice you can, you're not going to measure, you're not going to wash it, and you're not going to let it hydrate before you start cooking it. The premise is that the "gwailo" won't notice.

                                                                                            As for the Sous Vide Supreme, I'm resisting. After having spent a good part of my life in a lab, a real laboratory-grade circulating water bath from Julabo is more what I have in mind for sous-vide. And a Brinkmann micro-evaporator would be nice too.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: wattacetti

                                                                                              Ah, yes. If you're going to sous vide, do it up brown! I adopt your wish list and add to it... A winning lottery ticket! '-)

                                                                                            2. I welcome our countertop overlords......

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                  I so want one of these, it would teach the wife not to mess with my toaster settings.

                                                                                                  1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                                    "I so want one of these"

                                                                                                    So it is not yours then? Who does this 'statue' belong to? It is actually very well made.

                                                                                                    P.S.: In the old Chinese religion system, there is a God of Kitchen. I cannot but think of this 'statue' is a representation of the God of Kitchen himself.


                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      found on the net , I don;t know the provenance.

                                                                                              1. Well, kids, I thought you all might like to know. I do not (yet) own a rice cooker, but I may head for 99 Ranch Market to see if they have any that will comfortably make rice for one. Or maybe for two. As a hedge against inflation, I went to Sam's Club today and bought FORTY POUNDS OF RICE...!!! 20 pounds of basmati that comes in a gym-dandy (there's a pun there if you wiat, then dig for it) burlap bag with carrying handles and a red zipper that I'm going to use to carry my dumbells in, or whatever. And I bought 20 pounds of CalRose rice, which makes great rice for anything from sushi to risotto. So I'm spending the weekend repackaging it, sucking all of the air out of it, and storing it in a safe place where only the squirrels and I will know where to find it. Gotta do something so I can afford the $5.00 a gallon gasoline the evening newscasters say is on the way. Bon appetite!

                                                                                                And I'll let you know if they make fuzzzy logic 2 serving rice cookers. '-)

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  Zojirushi does indeed make 2-serving rice cookers. Model NS-VGC05; it's a 3-cup (max) unit which will comfortable make smaller quantities.

                                                                                                  It can apparently bake cakes too.

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    I distrust appliances that are smarter than I am. And I'm too impatient (and cheap) for the fuzzy logic units, although they make superior rice. Here's the 3-cup version of what I use:


                                                                                                    But if you want computer control, you can't do much better than this one:


                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                      Alan, you and watacetti are both terrific! I figured people would be rolling on the floor laughing about a single woman buying 40 pounds of rice. I think I'm going to give myself the rest of the month to think about which one, but that little fuzzy logic guy from Zojirushi kind of reminds me of the little yellow "mascot" for Droid OS smart phones.

                                                                                                      A month to think about it because in the it-could-only-happen-to-Caroline department, I have just ordered a new computer and a new super powerful UPS (the hell with the electric company) surge protector and back ups sytem BECAUSE this poor computer that has been hit by a gazillion power surges that killed my last UPS will now allow me to access Chowhound (it knows what is important) but will NOT allow me to download email. Well, sometimes it downloads email, but it all turns out to be blank pages. And sometimes it downloads the blank page emails six times each. So I'm praying the new AMD Phenom computer and the UPS will be here sometime next week and I can enjoy it while I eat rice the rest of the month and dream about the day I'll have a fuzzy logic Droid (I'll paint the Zojirushi yellow) to cook it! Thanks, guys! '-)

                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                        Well, if it's any consolation, I did get a laugh out of it! DH said he was going to Trader Joe's and I said "get basmati rice" but he went to Costco and brought home the same bag of basmati, from your description. I thought WTH are we going to do with that? We already have ten pounds of sushi rice! And there are three of us...
                                                                                                        You could always shoot for the 5-cup Zojirushi, more flexibility (and a larger cake if you get that notion).;

                                                                                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      If you're buying 40 pounds of rice, you could use a rice cooker! We have the one alanbarnes posted a link to and have used it for small amounts for years. I also have one my mom gave me 25+ years ago, no fuzzy logic--you still put water on the outside of the pot to control how long it cooks and it works great. I also use it to steam potatoes and it keeps them warm, until I'm ready to mash or whatever I want to do with them. It's perfect for Thanksgiving when I have no spare burner or time.

                                                                                                    3. Zojirushi rocks!
                                                                                                      My stove has 4 rounds. When making Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese food one is for the soup, another for a braised dish, another is for the grill, and the biggest is for the wok. Without the rice cooker, I would not have the space.
                                                                                                      With a good rice cooker (forget Cuisinart and the sorts) and a premium quality rice (just picked up a bag of New Crop 2010 jasmin scented rice), the results are really quite good.

                                                                                                      1. Ah, the electric rice cooker. My wife of 50 plus years would age even faster if she did not have it. It's one lfewer item to watch while cooking, it frees up cooktop space, and keeps the rice warm during the meal. We are first and second generation Chinese Americans and eat rice virtually every day regardless of the cuisine.

                                                                                                        But it ended my meal ending bowl of "fon jue". My Dad made it and so did I before the advent of the rice cooker. We prepared the rice/water ratio such that there was a thicker, somewhat drier layer of rice at the bottom when all the regular cooked rice had been taken out. I would turn the heat up and continue cooking so that that crust was brown and toasty crisp most of the time. Then add water, continue heating and we have kind of a toasted rice tea/soup to clear the flavors of the meal.

                                                                                                        An occasional added treat was when my wife would cook Chinese sausages directly in the rice. Then at the end the crust would brown even crispier due to the oils from the sausage. The aroma was fantastic.

                                                                                                        Alas, haven't had that for 30 or more years now. Sizzling rice soup is an approximation these days.

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Gene786

                                                                                                          Hey, congratulations on the fifty years of marriage! It was 56 years this week since the first time I got married, but alas, it ended after 18 years. But overall I'm the happier for it so what's to complain about? Well, besides no extravagent anniversary gifts. '-)

                                                                                                          You've underscored the convenience of a rice cooker, and mine should be arriving next month. But I'm also sad that you've lost your "fon jue," Gene. Sounds like time to get out an old fashioned stove top pot and cook some rice! With sausage! And maybe write to Zojirushi to see if they'll add that feature to their top-of-the-line rice cookers. Couldn't hurt! And maybe the'll send you a freebie? That would be nice.

                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            "And maybe write to Zojirushi to see if they'll add that feature to their top-of-the-line rice cookers."

                                                                                                            LOL, So much to do, so little time left ... :)

                                                                                                          2. re: Gene786

                                                                                                            you could take that last bit of rice out of the cooker and throw it into a dry hot pan.....

                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                              IIRC (it's been 30+ years), the continued browning and water separates the crust from the pot bottom.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gene786

                                                                                                                My Sanyo programmable rice cooker is one of my favorite appliances. I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but it makes the best and easiest oatmeal ever! No muss, no fuss.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jane917

                                                                                                                  ummm... So does my microwwave, but I'm still going to get a rice cooker. '-)