First, get the Pot. You need the simplest rice cooker made. It comes with two speeds: Cook, and Warm. Not expensive. Now you’re all set to cook meals for the rest of your life on two square feet of counter space, plus a chopping block. No, I am not putting you on the Rice Diet. Eat what you like. I am thinking of you, student in your dorm room. You, solitary writer, artist, musician, potter, plumber, builder, hermit. You, parents with kids. You, night watchman. You, obsessed computer programmer or weary web-worker. You, lovers who like to cook together but don’t want to put anything in the oven. You, in the witness protection program. You, nutritional wingnut. You, in a wheelchair.
There’s an entire collection devoted to great opening sentences. Submitted by readers, they’re partially the expected. You might be able to recite some now: “Call me Ishmael,” of course. Perhaps you remember, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Or, “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” And, “All this happened, more or less.” But for me, there is but one great opening sentence, “First, get the Pot.”
Roger Ebert’s “The pot and how to use it” is not just one of the most recognized essays on rice cookers in popular use today, it is a fine specimen of food writing for our modern era. Not M.F.K. Fisher per se, but brilliant in that above all else, it is indeed a guide to something simple done his way: rice. And now he’s organized the grains into a rice-cooker cookbook due out this fall.