I love my rice cooker. I know you’re not supposed to love inanimate objects, but anything that saves me time, money, and aggravation in the kitchen should be worthy of at least a little affection. I confess that when rice cookers first appeared on the market, I thought they were one of the biggest money-making, worthless gadgets I had seen. Why did I need another appliance to take up room in my kitchen when I can boil rice on the stove in a pan that I already own? Ever had rice turn out as a sticky glob or tried to scrub a pan after you burned the rice on the bottom? You might fall in love with a rice cooker, too!
Back in the days before we owned a rice cooker, my husband would dutifully eat rice when I fixed it, to set a good example for the kids, of course. As long as I dressed it up with some type of topping, the whole family would usually eat it. Then came dinner at my sister-in-law’s house. She pulled out a rice cooker to prepare the meal, and I laughed. But when we sat down to eat, everyone actually loved the rice—without any sauce or gravy on top. My husband said that he would happily eat rice more often if it tasted like that. I purchased a rice cooker that very week and I have never regretted it.
Now, there are a few guidelines to achieving perfect rice. Everyone knows about the cheap, short-grain white rice that is readily available in most grocery stores. Do not buy that stuff. Look for jasmine or basmati rice, also sold in the same section, but much more aromatic and flavorful. If you like a nutty flavor, look for wild rice. Do not be fooled by the boxes of rice mixture loaded with sodium, but find a bag or bulk bin of pure wild rice or long grain and wild rice. Please don’t let the instant rice commercials fool you into thinking that cooking rice from scratch is too difficult or time consuming. It is much cheaper per serving than packaged rice and it only takes twenty-five minutes. Just pour in the rice, pour in the water, turn it on, and forget it. If the rest of your meal is not done then, never fear. Your new servant will keep the rice piping hot, ready whenever you are. And the best part—no burned pans to scrub!