A few years ago, a friend and coworker told me she had recently invested in a rice cooker and that it had changed her life, adding that she couldn’t believe she had waited so long to buy one. I politely listened, then immediately forgot about it, after thinking (in a very judgmental way), “I know how to make rice—you dump it in a pot with water and let it sit for a certain amount of time. What is so hard about that, and who is spending money on something that does that for them?”
Fast forward to some time later, when I had been living on my own, without my mom’s skillful help in the kitchen, for close to two years. I had already managed to scrape up the bottoms of most of my pots, as well as completely destroy one to the point of no return, mainly by cooking—you guessed it! —rice. Although I can confidently say I am a pretty good cook (for the most part), cooking rice exactly the right way, without having it stick to the pot or burn or come out mushy, was becoming a bit of a struggle for me. I either tried to take it off too soon or way too late, with almost no in-between. I was ruining my pots, and I was also kind of ruining a dish I actually enjoy.
One night, as I scraped bits of jasmine rice off the bottom of a pot after soaking it in hot water and soap for not one, but two, nights, I remembered my old friend who had praised her rice cooker. That was it. I had had enough of my snobby cooking ways. I was going to spend money on a gadget that would cook my rice for me—or, actually, I was going to add it to my wedding registry and have someone buy it for me.
The Cuisinart Rice Cooker I received as a gift was one of the things I was most excited about opening (I believe I squealed, “My rice cooker!” as I ripped the paper off). Still, though, I was skeptical. Would this little pot really make enough rice? Would it really not burn and get destroyed after a few uses? Would it actually save me time, or just be a nuisance?
It only took one night of use to convince me that the rice cooker really was a game-changer in the kitchen. The way it works is super simple: you pour the rice into the pot, add water and whatever seasonings you want, and flip the switch to on. You don’t have to set a timer or select a temperature. You simply dump everything in there, turn it on, cover it, and let it do its thing. When it’s done, it rings, and immediately switches from “cook” to “warm.” This feature keeps your rice warm until you’re ready to eat it without burning it or making it mushy—a true miracle.
I happily discovered that the Cuisinart really did make fantastic rice, which is so surprising to me. How does it know the exact right temperature? How does it know how much time it needs? How does it know when the rice is perfectly done?! It’s kind of amazing, and yet, it works.
There are other perks to this as well, aside from the fact that it gives you the best rice ever. It frees up room on your stove, so if you’re making a bunch of dishes at once, you don’t need to worry about a rice pot taking up a burner. It gives you more time to focus on the other things you’re making—you don’t need to pay any attention to this thing until you’re ready to eat, which is amazing. The non stick aluminum pot is also really, really easy to clean. Nothing sticks to it, meaning no scraping, and it washes off super quickly. It’s small and easy to store (every piece fits inside), so it’s not too obnoxious. On top of that, the Cuisinart rice cooker has a steamer piece that allows you to steam meats and veggies while you’re cooking your rice, so you can do two things at once.
It’s also inexpensive. The 4-cup rice cooker (which we have) is only about $40, money well spent, if you ask me. This is a pretty standard size, but if you’re cooking for a large family, you can get the 8-cup for less than $20 more.
Now I can confidently say that this rice cooker really has changed my life in the kitchen. If you’re looking for a gadget that will help save your time and your pots, this is definitely it.
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