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15 February 2011


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Christy Porucznik

I appreciate that L counts in the denominator for rating foods. In our house the toddler is far less picky than the preschooler.


What kind of rice cooker do you have? You obviously get a lot of use out of yours. I tried out three different ones a few years back and never found one that worked well.


Mine is a 10-cup Tiger brand rice cooker that I bought in an Asian grocery store. It's the most common kind you'll see keeping the white rice hot at a Chinese buffet restaurant. White, plastic outer finish, with pink flowers on the side. Mine is not fuzzy logic, just on-off. But it is very sturdy. The insert is nonstick and comes out for dishwashing.

They are not often found for under $100. But totally worth it IMO. Mine might not be the best model for cooking stuff other than rice, though -- when I bought it, that was all I was looking for is to cook rice. I mean, it seems to work fine to cook all kinds of things, but at the time I bought it, I didn't research around to find *the best* rice cooker for cooking whole meals.


Can you use a slow cooker (crockpot) in the same way? How does the rice cooker work differently? I ask because I have an oval crockpot and it just cooks things....wrong.


The rice cooker is faster and hotter, but requires much more liquid. As far as I can tell, it's basically a steamer, and it "decides" when the food is done by the temperature rise that happens when most of the water has absorbed or been boiled off. (It lets the steam out the top -- so you need more liquid than in a crockpot, because the crockpot keeps almost all the liquid inside it).

For example, cooking grains in a crockpot requires a few hours. In a rice cooker, it takes about the same amount of time as the stove top -- only you don't have to stir.

Crockpot is better for soups and stews and tough cuts of meat where long cooking breaks down the connective tissue. It's also good for cooking beans from dry. But I often think that meats in the crockpot seem overcooked (unless they are a perfect match for the slow cooking as in short ribs). The rice cooker steams food and then clicks back to "keep warm" when the steam is gone -- it's perfect for holding food for about an hour or two without continuing to cook it, which is what I need when I leave for swim lessons at 3:45 and come back at 5:45. So, like, you can cook rice in it, then dump some cans of beans in and turn it back on, and come back later to hot, if basic, beans and rice.

You definitely do different things in the two cookers. The only thing off the top of my head that I think you can make about equally well in either is steel-cut oatmeal (and even then they come out a little different).

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