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The mystery and romance of the rice cooker
September 1, 2010 3:58 PM   Subscribe

"The thing is, he doesn’t eat and he doesn’t talk. Or rather, he can’t eat and he can’t talk. He hasn’t for four years, ever since cancer took his lower jaw, and three attempts to rebuild his face and his voice failed." Roger Ebert is publishing a cookbook: The Pot and How To Use It. Previously.
posted by hippybear (36 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was so excited that someone else calls it "the pot(s)", but no...its about a rice cooker.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:12 PM on September 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm waiting for Lady GaGa's book of microwave secrets.
posted by sanko at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


previously.
posted by crunchland at 4:13 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, great article. I miss arguing with the TV (didn't always agree with Ebert's reviews).
posted by HyperBlue at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2010


I saw this yesterday, and felt sorry for Ebert (which he'd probably not like) towards the end, where the author relates how he tires easily, needing to go sit down in the other room and take in nourishment. We get to read all of his blog posts, so for us, he's still incredibly communicative, witty, and insightful, yet in daily interactions, he's reduced to communicating with a pen and paper, which must be ridiculously frustrating for him.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I also was VERY disappointed when I found out that this was about rice cooking...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:21 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also see this FPP: Nil by Mouth
posted by zarq at 4:28 PM on September 1, 2010


Well, now I want to give Ebert a hug, and I am no more able to do so than he is able to taste food.

Probably his frustration is the greater.
posted by Wataki at 4:31 PM on September 1, 2010


I like Roger Ebert, but I'm not so keen on rice. Now I can't decide what to think of this post.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:35 PM on September 1, 2010


Canadians and bran muffins? Is that really a thing?
posted by cmoj at 4:36 PM on September 1, 2010


This Canadian didn't know that he was supposed to be obsessed with bran muffins.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 4:52 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think he meant butter tarts.
posted by maudlin at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


All of those nationalistic food associations are based on (representative) individuals. In the case of the bran muffin, it's "a Canadian" is in love with the single-serving bread item. So I like to think Ebert recalls a certain Canadian who was all about the bran muffins.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:00 PM on September 1, 2010


The pull quote is interesting. Every time I see the use of "doesn't" instead of "can't" for a disability, I'm reminded of a yoga teacher I once knew. She was 100% blind, but so graceful and present in her body that it was easy to forget that. When somebody inevitably goofed and asked her to sign a form or read something from a screen, she'd say "Oh dearie, I don't see", as if the act were beneath her, something she never bothered with. It always struck me as a terrific way to identify.

So yeah. "Or rather, Roger doesn't eat, and he doesn't talk." He writes, though, and damn well.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 5:19 PM on September 1, 2010 [22 favorites]


If I could no longer eat, I would - out of pure selfishness - distance myself from everything involving food, so that I wouldn't have to think about what I was missing. Ebert's writing is so truly generous in the deepest sense of that word, and I love him for it. He is a treasure.

Thank you for the post, hippybear.
posted by jbickers at 5:26 PM on September 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


It's not just rice recipes. It's about how to cook with a rice cooker. He used his for all kinds of things.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:38 PM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm Canadian. Bran muffins are probably my favourite if I think about it. But until now, I've never thought about it.
posted by Trochanter at 5:46 PM on September 1, 2010


Hey, I'm a Canadian too, and I can live on bran muffins. (And if that's a derail, it's OK, because I ordered his book ...)
posted by woodblock100 at 6:01 PM on September 1, 2010


It seems Ebert's inability to eat has left him thinking a lot about how we interact with food. See this blog post where Ebert discusses his inability to eat.

"So that's what's sad about not eating. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. It may be personal, but for, unless I'm alone, it doesn't involve dinner if it doesn't involve talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments and shared memories I miss."

I've actually been thinking of using my rice cooker more, and I love Ebert's writing, so this is well timed :)
posted by malapropist at 6:07 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love Roger Ebert, I love rice, and I love rice cookers.

This is like winning the cookbook Trifecta for me.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:28 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a Canadian who never really thought about bran muffins either until today. Now that I do, yeah, I actually do like bran muffins a lot. I probably could live on them. I mean, not my first choice, but doable as long as I have a microwave to use and enough margarine to slop on beforehand. I could really go for a bran muffin, actually.

Man, I have to stop skipping lunch.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 6:41 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a Brit living in Canada and the only kinds of muffin we eat are bran*

*Tim Horton's Cranberry-Blueberry Bran, to be precise. Accept no substitutes.
posted by unSane at 7:11 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This reminds me a bit of when I saw Martin Yan give a cooking demonstration at my university in 1997. About midway through, he took a break and started bantering while his staff did cleanup and arranged stuff for the second half of the show. I'll never forget this sage advice:

"All you student boys, you think you need fancy car to get women! I was in university, I was poor, I had no fancy car. But I had rice cooker, and I cooked for my women, and I had many, many women. So, forget the fancy car, get a rice cooker! If you cook for your women, you'll have many of them!"

He then unveiled a cheap $20 rice cooker, then showed us how to make rice porridge (i.e. congee or zhou) with chunks of nuts and egg and fruit and all kinds of awesome.
posted by xthlc at 8:03 PM on September 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Well, I like the idea of this book, but I don't think it's art.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:51 PM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Now I'm impatient for my shipment to arrive so I can get my rice cooker out.
posted by arcticseal at 11:08 PM on September 1, 2010


He tweets little recipes all the time, but it's nice to see them getting published. But the article made all too apparent the Roger Ebert of the physical world, the one in which he can't eat and can't stand for long periods. I know I'm kidding myself, but I try not to think of that Roger Ebert.
posted by tommasz at 5:26 AM on September 2, 2010


...yet in daily interactions, he's reduced to communicating with a pen and paper, which must be ridiculously frustrating for him.

Not necessarily.
posted by menschlich at 5:54 AM on September 2, 2010


I totally pre-ordered this.

Greg_Ace: I like Roger Ebert, but I'm not so keen on rice. Now I can't decide what to think of this post.

The Pot is not about rice. It's about making anything in an electric pot. Or as Ebert says:
"No, I am not putting you on the Rice Diet. Eat what you like."

posted by yeolcoatl at 5:54 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rice cookers are all kinds of awesome. I'm boring, so mine is mostly the never-burned-rice awesome, but really they are very flexible.

That said, how many settings there are depends on the fancyness of your rice cooker. We have the simplest kind, but I have seen ones with timers and sealing tops and stuff.
posted by jb at 6:46 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I use my rice cooker a lot, so much so that I feel impatient for it to die (it's a 15-year-old 3-cup Aroma, the kind with two settings: off, and on) so that I can upgrade to a cooker I can do even more with. I'm afraid that it has several more years left in it, unless it meets with some sort of tragic "accident".

I'm pretty excited about this book.
posted by padraigin at 7:18 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Earlier this year I figured out that one could make pasta and veggies in the easiest way, in shorter time, and with better results, with a rice cooker. Was angry at myself that it took so long to realize. Will be adding this to my Ebert shelf.
posted by jtron at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2010


"Oh dearie, I don't see", as if the act were beneath her, something she never bothered with. It always struck me as a terrific way to identify.

Yeah, like how I don't run a 100-meter in under 10 seconds, or how I don't bear children. It's not because I have absolutely no say in the issue whatsoever, nooooo.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:31 AM on September 2, 2010


I use my rice cooker every night. They're a pain in the ass to clean but they're magnificent in their plainness and utilitarian-ness. Which is the way cooking should be once all the Food Network and celebrity recipe and haute gourmet stuff is stripped away. I love cooking. I don't love the culture that has accreted around it and attached to it like a parasitic barnacle.

(Not a knock on Ebert, BTW -- I love this idea of his and want to buy the book.)
posted by blucevalo at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2010


Which is the way cooking should be once all the Food Network and celebrity recipe and haute gourmet stuff is stripped away. I love cooking. I don't love the culture that has accreted around it and attached to it like a parasitic barnacle.

Kill the Food Network from your life. America's Test Kitchen is the only cooking show you should ever need.
posted by hippybear at 10:02 AM on September 2, 2010


Kill the Food Network from your life.

Agreed, which makes me sad, because it used to be great, you used to actually be able to learn technique from people like David Rosengarten. Now, it's all food porn.

That said, my cable company has started carrying something (new?) called the Cooking Channel, which is what Food Network used to be like. They show reruns of Two Fat Ladies, even.
posted by jbickers at 10:33 AM on September 2, 2010


For anyone still following, Ebert has been answering NYT readers' cooking questions here and here.
posted by lalex at 12:00 AM on September 8, 2010


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