Monday, November 15, 2010

$199 -v- $10 Rice Cooker(s)

Last year about this time, my rice cooker died a sudden death.  One day it was working, the next day, not. I've heard Alton Brown on the Food Network repeat his mantra over and over that a "single purpose appliance is not a good investment."  Well, I beg to differ.  You have to understand where I'm coming from, literally.  I grew up in Japan and rice is my manna. If I don't have at least one serving a day, my inner peace gets out of whack. So this "single purpose appliance" is an absolute necessity for me.  Yes, I know you can do it the old school way and cook it in a pot on top of the stove, but it is a hit or miss proposition because you have to hover over the stove so you don't burn it. A rice cooker is like a coffee maker. . .you put in the water and coffee (or rice), and voila! It is done to perfection! Besides, I never heard Alton ever suggesting that a coffee maker is a "single purpose appliance" and therefore one should not own one! What gives, Alton?? But I digress. . .

What to do?  I went to Walmart, and was not impressed with my choices. The offerings were too small or too chintzy.  I scoured the thrift stores, but I did not see any.  Out of sheer desperation, I went by a Williams Sonoma to see what they had.  Oh, they had one all right, for $199! Um, I don't think so. It looked like this:

Months went by without finding one in thrift stores.  But I was determined not to pay retail. I figured it will eventually turn up somewhere, donated by someone not impressed by the "single purpose appliance." When I had all but given up, I went to a local thrift store I usually don't frequent, because it is too disorganized and "junky" even for a thrift store aficionado like me.  I wasn't looking for anything in particular, and was about to leave the establishment, when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something that didn't quite belong. . . My rice cooker! Its pink flowered exterior was not my style, but hey, all I care about is whether it will cook rice.  I went up to the counter to ask if I could plug it in to see if it worked. It did! $4.00 later, it was mine.  It now resides in my kitchen. 

Shortly thereafter, I came across another rice cooker in a different store for $6.00.  Although I thought it was excessive, I purchased that too.  It is wrapped in plastic and is quietly awaiting its turn in case the other one dies. I don't ever want to be without a rice cooker again. . . So, for a total outlay of $10.00, I'm set for a long, long time.  Sure beats spending $199!


  1. The day I discovered rice cookers about 4 years ago, I never looked back. I bought a cheap supermarket cooker for $30AUS and 4 years on it's still going strong. Love it!

  2. Yes, rice cookers are a life saver. If you eat rice with any regularity, it is a must! Besides, it is one less thing to keep track of when you are trying to prepare a meal.