Kitchen & Pantry

Microwave rice cooker Microwave rice cooker

Over the past weeks, Speedy and I, together with my brother and his wife, have been spending time in my mother’s house going through… well, everything. The work is so overwhelming, just looking at the amount of stuff in the house makes me feel like collapsing in the heat and dust but, heck, it has to be done. Yesterday, Sam and Alex went with us. Books needed to be sorted out according to what we want to keep and what we can donate to the public library. Clothes had to be categorized into new and used, what will fit who, and what could be brought either to Golden Acres or Gaches Village or an orphanage that we still have to choose.

And then there’s the matter of the “other stuff” which really constitutes the bulk… I don’t know how else to call them because my mother was a notorious shopaholic. Shopping was every kind of therapy to her — physical exercise, mental stimulation, social interaction, assertion of financial independence… For instance, there’s a Singer zigzag sewing machine (the kind that embroiders) that looks very new (well, she might have used it once or twice based on the thing’s shiny and scratch-free condition). I didn’t even notice it was there when she was alive. Since neither my brother nor my sister-in-law knows how to operate it, I brought it home. Oh, yes, I can sew so there will be a lot of sewing projects once we find a technician who can oil the machine to re-condition it.

Although there is no heirloom cookware (my mother didn’t cook, period) in our inheritance, there are stuff like this microwave rice cooker which was still inside its original box. I can’t say it’s new because the box has browned with time, the cooker itself was already dusty but it was definitely still unused when we opened the box. Since I had been on this mission to learn to use the microwave for purposes other then re-heating (microwave cooking creates less heat in the kitchen and, ergo, less stored heat inside the house), Speedy said we could use it. So, okay, we brought it home and I used it today.

The microwave rice cooker has three parts — the vessel, the lid (with a vent) and an inner lid (also with a vent). The instructions said dump the rice in the vessel, rinse, measure the water, snap on the lid and cook on HIGH for so many minutes depending on how much rice is in the cooker. Those instructions sounded so convenient because when I cook rice in the microwave, it is a two-step process — 20 minutes on MEDIUM, uncovered, then another 20 minutes on MEDIUM, covered. I learned that the hard way. The first time I cooked rice in the microwave (it was at the girls’ condo), I used a ceramic cookware, I covered it, cooked the rice on HIGH and the starchy water spilled out of cookware. I spent more time cleaning the inside of the microwave than I did cooking the rice. If my mother’s microwave rice cooker could do the job in one step, with no mess, I’d be happy. Microwave rice cooker

So, following the instructions, I measured the rice, rinsed it, added carefully measured water… Microwave rice cooker

The instructions didn’t mention anything about the inner lid but I decided to put it in… Microwave rice cooker

I snapped on the top lid and cooked the rice on HIGH for 20 minutes. Microwave rice cooker

As you can see, the water did spill out. The glass turntable of the microwave oven was a starchy mess. Microwave rice cooker

And the rice… the upper half was perfectly cooked but the lower half, although thoroughly cooked, tasted like the grains cooked in too little water. In short, the cooking was not uniform.

So, am I going to conclude outright that the microwave rice cooker is a lemon? I’ll do a take two and, next time, I’ll cook the rice on MEDIUM instead of HIGH. Then, I’ll update this post with the result.

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