The Mystery of the Rice Cooker

So, the Professor got the cutest rice cooker and I went over to her house last night for talapia, rice, and steamed asparagus.  I could eat steamed asparagus until it’s coming out my ears.  I don’t know what the deal is.  Don’t you crave things when you’re in need of something they provide?  Is my pee not stinky enough?

Neither here nor there.

No, my question is this: How does the rice cooker know to turn itself off?  It’s just working along–cook, cook, cook–until it decides its done and switches over to ‘warm.’  How does it know?

26 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Rice Cooker

  1. Sounds like she’s got one with a fuzzy logic chip. They basically use a combo of probability calculation and heat/humidity sensors to “think” for themselves and decide when to flip over to warm.

  2. She wondered if it wasn’t somehow by weight, because the actual pot the rice cooks in sits on a kind of boingy thing, so that when it’s empty, it bounces and full, it doesn’t really.

    I don’t know. To me, it was like magic. And she also used it to steam our asparagus. I was very jealous.

  3. Mine’s Japanese, and so are the instructions, so I don’t know what it thinks it’s doing, but I fully expect to come home one day to discover that it’s mated with the programmable crock-pot and the two are raising a baby bread machine.

    Somehow it seems like there should be a bun-in-the-toaster-oven joke there.

  4. Mine’s Japanese, too. I think it’s when the water all cooks out. My former sister in law, Takako, always said the amount of water to rice was the big thing with that. That and getting that good rice in the big ol’ bags and washing it. I never knew nothing about washing rice til I met her.

  5. No batch of rice i cook is the same as any other. it is my favorite food, and yet i cannot master it. I think this falls under the same category with the fact that while I can dance magnificently, and have a jump shot grown men cry about, i cannot master the two-step.

  6. I did have one, it didn’t help. Perhaps it was just a shitty appliance. But, really, rice shouldn’t require an appliance. Just sayin.

  7. Low heat, big pot, 2:1, don’t look. If I’ve managed to get something to turn out consistently, it can’t be that hard.

    I have a real throwback kitchen. No rice cooker, no microwave, no blender, etc. The Kitchenaid mixer was a wedding gift and it gets a fair amount of use, but otherwise, it can’t be cooked in a pot, stirred with a spoon, or cut up with a knife, we get it at a restaurant.

  8. A rice pot is one of my few indispensable single-purpose appliances (although mine does have a steamer basket for veggies). Bridgett’s right about 2:1, although I grew up learning to make rice by adding “water to the first knuckle.”

  9. But it all depends on what kind of rice you are cooking (long or short grain, brown or white, etc.). And whether you are going for pilaf, sushi, paella, whatever. They all get treated a bit differently. Can a rice cooker adjust for these variables?

  10. NM, don’t encourage him. I’ve never had bad rice at his house. I don’t know how he can even come on this thread and even talk like he doesn’t know what he’s doing when he’s cooking it.

  11. I have a cheap-shit rice cooker ($10, bad-for-you aluminum pot) that makes my life complete. It also cooks ANY grain I put in it (even grain combos) and will also cook lentils. I thought “what the hell” because lentils take about the same amount of time to cook as rice, and gave it a whirl.

    The only thing I don’t like about it is that when it cooks, water and starchy stuff spatters on the counter all around it. But since it does such a wonderful job and it cost so little, I simply wipe up the mess and forgive it.

    Yeah, you can cook rice in a pot on the stove, but once you’ve used a rice cooker, you’ll NEVER go back to that again!


  12. I can’t see it, myself. But I know it’s wrong to agree with Mack against B on B’s blog, so I’ll just point out that if he can’t two-step he can’t dance magnificently, by definition.

  13. Oh, NM, please don’t say that. Now I’m going to have to hear all about how, not only am I oppressing him with my too-heavy afghan, but also by not letting my readers take his side against me.

  14. I’ve never had bad rice at his house.

    Come to think of it, I haven’t either…then again, that’s because he always gets it from the Asian restaurant down the road.


  15. If you want to get rice that’s kinda like the kind you get at the International stores, don’t get the Long Grain. Get the Medium Grain. I got so spoiled with the Good Kind of rice that I almost can’t deal with the Long Grain anymore.

  16. Or you could just go to the international stores. I get my jasmine and white and brown basmati rices at the Indian store at the Farmer’s Market, and arborio from one of the Italian places.

  17. They sell jasmine rice at Kroger. Although the good stuff in the 25 lb. bags can be found at K&S and other fine international markets.

    My ratio is closer to 1:1.5 The rice doesn’t get soggy that way.

    Mrs. Sarcastro will dice some canned chipotles in sauce and toss them in with the rice. Good stuff.

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