My Robot Overlords 2: The Rice Cooker

We all know the way to cook rice is with a rice cooker. For most of my life, I had used simple one button rice cookers. I had seen these “fuzzy logic” cookers, but never figured it was worth shelling out for one. On the other hand, I had also noticed that whenever you are served the really excellent Japanese rice, it comes out of one of these cookers. So last week, under the pretense of obtaining a non-stick bowl, we bought a ten cup Zojirushi. The thing is a miracle. First, it sings. It plays a little tune when it starts and stops. Completely useless, but a nice touch of levity in an otherwise serious and mechanical undertaking.

Second, being able to set up the machine to provide cooked rice as you get home from work is a joy that is difficult to describe. No waiting an hour for food. The stir fry goes in the pan and we can be eating in twenty minutes with rice that is sushi-restaurant perfect.

But here is the thing. The first time I programmed it to make rice on a timer, I set the timer incorrectly and the cooker had to keep the rice warm for twelve hours. When we got home, the rice was still as good as fresh out of my old pot. I’m not sure what kind of bizarre liquid recycling technique the thing uses to do this. It should, it seems to me, be impossible to do this without drying the rice out.

Ultimately though, what sets this machine apart is the quality of the rice. Buy high quality short grain rice and properly calibrate the liquid to rice ratio and what comes out of this machine is just the right amount of sticky, soft and tender in the middle, and just a bit toothy on the outside. This is perfect rice, every time, ready made when you walk in the door. Who wouldn’t be a slave to such a machine?