I love rice the way some love bread or pasta. The dependable and cheap pantry staple is my comfort carb, the foundation for so many of my meals. And for as long as I can remember, that rice, whether prepared by me or my mom, was cooked in a Zojirushi rice cooker. Seriously: Growing up, whenever we went on family vacations to a rented home, my mom always brought three things — extra beach towels, Costco-size packs of sunscreen, and her Zojirushi rice cooker (a vacation is no time for subpar rice). After I moved into my own place, I used a basic Zojirushi model with just an on-off switch for more than a decade before upgrading to the newer Zojirushi Micom this year. It truly prepares flawless rice with just the push of a button. I mostly make Japanese-style Calrose rice, but the Zojirushi has perfectly cooked every other variety I’ve thrown into it: short grain, long grain, Vietnamese broken rice, brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, even a mixed-grain blend including millet and quinoa (I really love rice). The Micom has successfully whipped up coconut rice, something my older Zojirushi could never seem to handle. With the ability to make up to 10 cups of cooked rice, it’s ideal for a small family or one or two people who don’t mind leftovers (two words: fried rice). The machine doesn’t cook rice any faster — the basic white-rice setting takes an hour, and the “quick” function takes 45 minutes — but it makes up for this lack of speed with an impressive stamina. It’ll keep cooked rice warm (piping hot, really) for a whole day; I’ve prepared pots in the morning that I then dug into for lunch and dinner.
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