An unexpected tool to keep your kitchen cool.
The monthly Fresh Letter product rec is here!
How are you holding up in your kitchen? Mine is…sweltering, even with the AC (that we’re very luck to have!) blasting. This heatwave is making it hard to think—or write—about anything other than the weather, don’t you think?
So, for this month’s Fresh Letter product recommendation station, I have a gadget I love so much that’s been on my list to share since the inception of this monthly series. Because I got mine as a gift, I’d been saving it for the holiday season, but it shot right to the top of the pile because it has an unconventional but very heatwave friendly functionality. This month, let’s talk about my Zojirushi Rice Cooker.
Yes, you read that correctly—I want you to use a rice cooker to keep your kitchen cool.
But before we get to that, let me briefly tell you about why I love this specific rice cooker.
Google “best rice cookers” and this model pops up at the top of almost every list. It has a relatively steep price tag—you can find plenty of rice cookers in the under $100, heck, even under $50 range—but this one has a competitive edge that makes its price very worth it to me. Thanks to the rice cooker’s “fuzzy logic,” which, as best I can understand it, has something to do with its induction cooking technique and a magical microchip that’s able to detect moisture and heat, this rice cooker yields an absolutely perfect pot of rice every single time, regardless of human error. So say you accidentally add a little more water than necessary. This Zojirushi can adjust for that and still leave you with a perfect pot of rice with just the touch of a button. I’m clearly…fuzzy…on the details of how the technology actually functions, but what’s important is that I know it works. Rice+water+my Zoj= stunning, steamy, succulent rice without exception.
I’m anxious to get to the exciting way you can use a rice cooker to keep the kitchen cool, so I’ll quickly rattle off a few other things I love about my Zojirushi.
I’m obsessed with the keep warm functionality. I’ve had the same pot of rice for salmon at dinner, kept the leftovers in the rice cooker overnight, and woken up to a still perfectly fluffy and warm pot of rice for my crispy over easy egg the next morning.
This may sound a bit strange or silly, but I gain a significant amount of satisfaction knowing that I own and regularly use an item that’s best in class. I’m a Leo and love a bit of luxury here and there. This appliance feels like the Birkin of rice cookers and because of that I get a little thrill every time I turn it on.
After a quick scan of the instructions booklet, this appliance is extremely straightforward to use, but still has quite a variety of functionality. Related:
Set it and forget it. Sure, I think you can make an amazing pot of rice on the stovetop, but not without a little bit of vigilance to avoid burning. Pushing a button, walking away, and coming back to an amazing steamed pot of rice without any babysitting at all? I’m in.
Finally, it’s cute. Thanks to limited NYC storage options, my Zoj lives in full view on top of my fridge, so that was a big plus for me.
Alright, it’s time. We need to talk about how you can use a Zojirushi (or really any rice cooker) to keep the kitchen cool.
Did you know you can use your rice cooker to cook much more than just rice? I didn’t until I stumbled across this very cute series about everything Amy cooked in her rice cooker during her college years. And because rice cookers are electric appliances, they’re not only allowed in most college dorm rooms (the central conceit of Amy’s series), they also let off almost no heat while in use. So you can make a delicious hot meal without heating the space you’re cooking in.
Amy’s using a really simple rice cooker for her dishes and gets pretty wild with what she’ll cook in there—think Japanese curry, egg drop soup, and a very cute little banana bread. (Her rice cooker actually reminds me a bit of a crockpot or InstantPot, so let this be a reminder that you can also use both of those appliances in a similar way and avoid overheating the kitchen!) The Aroma she’s using is under $20, so experimenting probably feels a little less high stakes than it would in for me in the Zojirushi, but I did a little googling and found explicit instructions for making oatmeal, steaming eggs, and even cooking proteins like fish and chicken in my Zoj.
So yes, if you were thinking about investing in a rice cooker, I cannot recommend mine highly enough. And if you were thinking you might need to shave your head then proceed to dunk it in an ice bath thanks to this heat (no? just me?), I also cannot recommend making use of it (or another similar electric appliance) to cook dinner tonight.
Alright, that’s it from me, stay cool and well-fed out there, folks.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,
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