Why yes, yes that is a melodramatic title. But you know what? It’s also TRUE. (Which probably says more about how boring my life is than anything.)
A few weeks ago Jeff and I bought a Zojirushi rice cooker (you know, the ones with fuzzy logic and the ability to bake a cake). Specifically we bought the NS-TSC10 5 1/2 cup rice cooker (available from Amazon). In the first week, I think I used it every day – multiple times on some days. It has separate settings for white and brown rice (and sweet rice!) AND a porridge setting that will cook steel cut oatmeal to perfection. Oh, and the steaming feature is AMAZING. One morning, in the time it took Jeff to shower and me to get dressed, I made (frozen) dumplings and red bean buns for our lunches. They tasted so much better than the last time I made them in our stove top steamer. Apparently I can press a start button really well, but I’m not so good at steaming with actual boiling water in a pot.
I’ve recently picked up a few rice cooker books from the library and I’m hoping to get some ideas for easy lunches and dinners. I love to cook big meals from scratch, but with both of us working and commuting, we wouldn’t eat before 8pm some nights if I made a roast or casserole every evening.
If you’ve been considering a rice cooker, don’t start with the high end model. I had a dinky little $15 rice cooker from Target for about 4 years. But we outgrew it. While 3 cups is fine for one, the 5.5 cup capacity of our new one means we can each have rice for dinner (and/or lunch) and have leftovers for fried rice. Also, the timer function completely makes the price (and kitchen real estate) worth it for me. I can pop some rice in before work and come home to perfectly steamed white, brown, or sticky rice!