I have the book by Julie Powell in front of me. Ashley C. gave it to me as a wedding gift. I miss her. She’s a person who has learned to listen well enough to her friends to really “get them.” The book is easy and fun to read, but skim before you make a commitment because the language, on a scale of Relief Society to a typical hallway in a public school, it leans more toward the public school side. One of my English teachers used to say, “sometimes !@#$ is the only word that makes sense at the time!” I have found that is true, to Brandon’s disappointment. I like what the book says about rice cookers. This is from Julie and Julia, pg. 182:
Isabel, as usual, came up with a contribution to the Rice cooker Debate both imminently diplomatic and irretrievably odd:
I think perhaps there’s a slightly removed parallel universe that we can all gaze back and forth across, in which rice cooks without hitch and easier for some of us in pans, and for others in rice cookers. Across the Rice Veil?
I got a rice cooker for my wedding and was religious about its use until one day it tried to tell me that I didn’t need it and begged me to release it to kitchen appliance heaven and when I wouldn’t listen, it self-combusted out of exhaustion. It also left a note that read: Alicia, you need new clothes and I’ve noticed you have a few gray hairs. I couldn’t afford to buy a new one because I had pretty smelling soap to buy. So I decided to make rice on the stove top. I felt so lied to with the rice cooker. That whole first year of my marriage, I thought I needed it to survive the obstacle course of pleasing-Brandon-with-food-land. You don’t need a rice cooker is my humble opinion. My rice cooker said: add 2 parts water to 1 part rice and press “on”. Since it broke, I’ve been adding 2 parts water to 1 part rice to a pan and turning the stove top to “medium”. Takes about the same time, and turns out just as good.
I don’t think it’s the cooker, I think it’s the rice you use. I have a thing for good rice, none of this minute rice c!@#$ (this is a mannerly blog, after all). I always used Jasmine, but then I discovered Basmati. Jasmine is your wonderful, sticky, gooey, great-with-Thai-and-Indian-food staple; but Basmati is amazingly nutty and as Ina Garten would say, you can really “turn up the volume” with Basmati. Plus, “Eat This Not That” says this about Basmati: “Basmati has a milder effect on blood sugar than other white rice.” So it’s healthy, right? *wink* Wrong. Ashley C. says, “I am racist against all white food.” And she’s in great shape so there’s some merit in that.
I learned how to cook rice from that science guy on FoodNetwork. Try his method, it’s amazing:
Turn stove top to medium heat
Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a pan
Add 1 cup of Basmati rice and stir until all the rice is covered in butter
Keep stirring until you start to smell the Basmati nuttiness and you notice an ever so slight change in color
Carefully add 2 cups of very hot water from the tap but add slowly and step away so you don’t get burned from the steam that shoots up
Let it simmer on medium until all the water is absorbed
Now the fun part, “turn up the volume” by adding freshly cut herbs of your choice. I used chives and cilantro because that’s all I had but I’m sure there are better herbs to add.
Fluff with fork and serve. You’ll never use a rice cooker again.
At this point, readers are like, “well, duh, it’s just rice.” But to me, rice is a big deal. I always ruined it and it was in using the rice cooker for a year that now I know what it was trying to tell me all along about rice: right amount of water and time.