The Rice Cooker

The first thing to know about a rice cooker is that it knows more than you.

It knows when the rice is done.

ItBlack-&-decker-20-cup-stainless-steel-rice-cooker knows when the shrimp is cooked.

It knows how to keep food warm for hours on end.

It probably knows more about your emotional state of being in the kitchen than anything or anyone else.

How? "It's a mystery of the orient. Don't ask questions you don't need the answer to."

So, take it from me, a man who has challenged the Cooker's authority two too many times: be deferential in its presence.

The second thing to know about rice cooker is that it is arguably the most versatile piece of kitchen equipment yet invented. How versatile? Think of how versatile peanut butter and cottage cheese are: it's that versatile. Think of Kobe Bryant now with a post game. Think Philip Seymour Hoffman doing the Big Lebowski, Capote, and Doubt.

Want to cook white rice? Done. Brown rice? Done. Banana nut bread? Done. Steam vegetables? Done.  Korean BiBimBap or Chicken Biryani? Done. Want to liberate women in Iran? According to the New York Times, thank rice cookers.

Roger Ebert, in the face of such variety, just calls it "the pot." Me? I'm a religious man. I call it "El Padre."

Bottom Line: Love the rice cooker because the rice cooker loves you.

15 Responses to The Rice Cooker

  1. Colin says:

    A++, will read again.

  2. Mike says:

    Bought one after traveling through Asia last summer. Now my life is a dyptych, with the rice cooker as the hinge.

  3. Ben Casnocha says:

    Hahah. I hear you.

  4. Karl says:

    My mom said that when she was stationed in South Korea with the U.S. Army in the 1970s, a male soldier who bought a Korean woman a rice cooker would have a guaranteed girlfriend the entire time he was there. I suppose that’s pretty imperialist/sexist/-ist, but apparently rice cookers were just that valued.

  5. Ben Casnocha says:

    I believe it.

  6. Marina says:

    I lived in Japan for a year and definitely understand the rice cooker as a deity thought process. It kept me fed and happy and required no sacrifices to appease it.

  7. Eugene says:

    Haha, I love it!

    We Asians have known this for years, but you guys are finally catching on.

  8. Chris Yeh says:

    Kobe has long had a post game. It just happened to be that he used it a lot more at the beginning of this year. Many times early in the decade, he would post up Bobby Jackson of the Kings on the wing.

  9. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, I’ll remember to register for one!

  10. Anyone I know who has a rice cooker would never be without it. So now it takes a stranger and a blog from the other side of the world to move me to action.
    Clearly, this is all that is missing in my life…

    I love this simple and poetic post, Ben, there is real passion in those lines!

  11. Eric J says:

    crazy, I was just reading about how to cook steak in a rice cooker “sous vide” style, definitely going to try it soon:

  12. Sri says:

    The Indians have the rice cookers too, but we have a more binding relationship with the pressure cooker. No canned chickpeas and beans and lentils for us. All of it fresh and cooked in under 15 mins in a pressure cooker. Rice, veggies, all included 🙂 SIGH!

  13. Mark says:

    Damn, this ode to the rice cooker is well written.

  14. Andrew says:

    As the man who knows more about rice cookers than you 😉 I was really impressed with your opening line. So true!

  15. If you know about rice cooker already. Don’t forget to choose the best rice for your good meal also.


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