I hate it when people ask me questions about things I know nothing about, and I actually have to, you know, think. It makes my brain hurt. But I do it, because I love you all. Also because it irritates me when I realize I don’t know something. Anyway!
Hey Mir —
Since you were so very helpful on my coffee-maker purchase (I got the Gevalia one and love it, by the way) … I have another small-appliance question for you. I’m considering getting a rice cooker (or at least requesting one from Santa). But I see they come in a huge price range, from like $15 to more than $150. I don’t need a super-giant one or anything, and I do kind of like the veggie steamer function that many offer.
So, oh wise one, what’s your advice? Do I even need a rice cooker or will it just clutter up my counter? Do I go for the cheapest one I can find or spend a bit more?
I do not own a rice cooker. I’ve never used a rice cooker. But—to be fair—we don’t eat very much rice. Let me assume the role of Rice Consumer and see what I can do for you, here.
Let’s start with the easiest part, first: Do you need a rice cooker?
Well, I’m guessing the sky will not fall and the world will not end if you don’t have one. But do you eat a lot of rice? Do you not even eat a lot of rice, but vastly prefer the taste of rice from a cooker? This isn’t really a need question. You want one. Whether that’s a sensible item for you to own depends on how often you’ll use it, how much you think it will add to the quality of your life (or, in this case, the quality of your food), and whether you have space for it.
Let’s assume you do the mental math and conclude that, YES! You really do want a rice cooker.
In my hunting around, the best article I came across was this one. It has lots of information all in one place, and I highly recommend reading it from top to bottom if you want a great overview on what to consider.
Look for a cooker with a non-stick pan since rice can be hard to pick off once it sticks to something.
Buy a model with a clear glass or plastic lid and stay away from the metal lids on cheaper rice cookers.
There are really only a few types of rice cookers — cook and turn off, cook and keep warm, electronic cook and keep warm. Cook and turn off models are the cheapest at around $20-$30 while the cook and warm style are $40-$70 and the electronic cook and keep warm ones are $100 and up.
There’s also some excellent good-better-best discussion of specific models. The top-rated brand is Zojirushi, and if you want to go for the Cadillac of rice cookers, you’re looking at the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 ($179). Is it an awesome appliance? Absolutely. Do you need that? Probably not.
If you want to stay within the brand, I’m guessing the Zojirushi NHS-10 would probably meet your purposes quite well (and it’s just a tad more affordable at $49.95). Heh.
What the writer of the above-reference article points out, though, is that it’s really nice to get a rice cooker that has fuzzy logic; it’s more versatile and fool-proof. He recommends the Sanyo ECJ-D55S (about $155) as a mid-range option, if you’re not ready to go whole hog with the top-of-the-line Zojirushi.
(Remember: You can use coupon NOVSAVER on Kitchen purchases over $125 at Amazon to take $25 off your purchase.)
So. Read the article. Do your research. And then pick the one you like, which you can either afford or can con someone else into buying for you. And then? Enjoy your rice. The most important part of any Large Purchase is to do enough research beforehand that you can relax and appreciate it once you have it, rather than agonizing over whether or not you should’ve done it.