August 18, 2004

The Rice Incident (Not Condoleeza)

I'm Brad DeLong's fourteen year old son. Today, my father was making steamed rice. Alas, he forgot to put the water into the rice cooker before he put the rice in the microwave. Soon, a horrible stench began emanating from the microwave. It was soon unbearable! We realized that the rice was the cause of the smell.

My mother demanded the RR (Radioactive Rice, as I dubbed it)be removed from the kitchen. Brad set the rice out on the porch, but the kitchen was hopelessly contaminated. We moved to the dinning room, but the smell had reached that room to a lesser extent. After waiting several minutes, we set our food down on the dining room table and began to eat. However, the food had sat in the kitchen for too long and it tasted like the horrible rice!

We ate some bread and berries that hadn't been contaminated, but we are still hungry. After dinner, I put on my shoes, ran out, and took the rice down to the trash can, despite being almost overcome by the smell. Now the RR is gone, and we need a new rice cooker. Moral: Be very careful when cooking rice, and DON'T FORGET TO PUT THE WATER IN THE RICE COOKER!


UPDATE: As an exercise for the reader, calculate the steady-state electromagnetic field strength in a 1000-watt microwave filled with one (1) cup of dried rice and three (3) pounds of plastic rice cooker.

Posted by DeLong at August 18, 2004 07:55 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

that´s why andronico´s was invented

Posted by: david sanger on August 18, 2004 08:06 PM

____

Did the precious tomatoes get contaminated?

Posted by: ogmb on August 18, 2004 08:26 PM

____

Now Brad, why would you want to spoil a perfectly good rice story with a math problem

Posted by: lakemichigan on August 18, 2004 08:33 PM

____

I did a variation on that two weeks ago. I put some leftover rice from Chinese takeout in a a ceramic bowl (I like to warm up the rice first out of the refrigerator before warming the leftover Chinese on top of the rice) and put it in the microwave. I forgot to look at the time, or clear it, and set it for 3 minutes on medium. But since I failed to notice the that the timer wasn't clear, I really set it for 33 minutes. The results were the same. I can still smell burned rice if the conditions are right. I found that orange scented ozium worked the best.

Posted by: cal on August 18, 2004 08:49 PM

____

I did a variation on that two weeks ago. I put some leftover rice from Chinese takeout in a a ceramic bowl (I like to warm up the rice first out of the refrigerator before warming the leftover Chinese on top of the rice) and put it in the microwave. I forgot to look at the time, or clear it, and set it for 3 minutes on medium. But since I failed to notice the that the timer wasn't clear, I really set it for 33 minutes. The results were the same. I can still smell burned rice if the conditions are right. I found that orange scented ozium worked the best.

Posted by: cal on August 18, 2004 08:50 PM

____

Another microwave story. My middle daughter, then about 5 or 6, decided to heat an english muffin in the microwave -- for about 30 minutes. We found that this was a most energy inefficient but time effective way to create charcoal.

Posted by: John Casey on August 18, 2004 09:14 PM

____

Do the microwave rice cookers work? I've only ever used the electric rice cooking appliances, or cooked rice on the stove top. That is, do they work if used correctly? What's the quality difference?

Posted by: Ennis on August 18, 2004 09:30 PM

____

Ramen, nuked by a well meaning 10 year old, in a lovely ceramic bowl fashioned by the better half's hands, when commenced without water, evinces both the smell documented above, and a strange crackling noise, which signifies the death of the 20 year old bowl.

"Please do not do that again."

Posted by: Russell L. Carter on August 18, 2004 10:06 PM

____

cooking rice in the microwave???

for someone who makes pretentious food posts this seems like rather low brow behavior.

buy a proper rice cooker and rememeber to soak the rice before cooking.

Posted by: haraldb on August 18, 2004 10:14 PM

____

One time my wife was following a Paul Proudhomme recipe for peppering some sort of fish, heated up the oil and poured into it a variety of peppers: red, green,black etc.; the smoke alarm went off and we abandoned house due to totally unbreathable air.

Posted by: Brian Boru on August 18, 2004 10:43 PM

____

The SO fried some chicken last night, one piece at a time, in our tiny 4-cup deep fryer. The chicken was delicious - actually the first time I've ever had homemade fried chicken.

The way the house smelled for the rest of the night, however, was not so delicious - oil, when heated, has a remarkable ability to permeate the very walls, especially when there hasn't been a breeze in weeks. We've decided to order out from now on when we want fried chicken.

Posted by: cyclopatra on August 18, 2004 11:00 PM

____

I cannot believe that you people are so culturally deprived, cooking rice in a microwave! Get a rice cooker, preferably made in Japan, I recommend TIGER brand. And yes, you DO have to add water.

Posted by: mauisurfer on August 18, 2004 11:26 PM

____

mauisurfer is right. We Hawai'i folk know you buy an electric rice cooker, use Calrose rice, rinse three times, add one scoop water per scoop rice, turn on, wait till it turns off, and hey presto! Fine sticky rice. Serve under stir fried shrimp or beef and veggies. Or immediately refrigerate and make fried rice the next day.

Posted by: Linkmeister on August 18, 2004 11:34 PM

____

Rice cooker good.

Posted by: Linkmeister on August 18, 2004 11:36 PM

____

I used a microwave rice cooker for a short while. It was wholly unsatisfying compared to properly cooked rice. The result was technically edible, but in my opinion the whole enterprise was a waste of microwave time and power, plastic, rice, and water.

A real rice cooker is much, much better, and less hassle than a microwave too -- set it ahead of time and it will cook and then keep warm. (disclaimer: I speak about Chinese-style rice here.)

Posted by: ArC on August 19, 2004 02:18 AM

____

At least you wont be asked to do those demeaning(for a prof that is) kitchen tasks again.

Posted by: big al on August 19, 2004 03:11 AM

____

When tempering chocolate: while a microwave and plastic bowl are an excellent replacement for a double-boiler, not all plastic bowls are microwave safe, even those with embossing on the bottom that says so.

Posted by: notyou on August 19, 2004 05:47 AM

____

Skipping the issue of rice cooking (some of us still use pots and pans), I'll touch on the odor and a solution.

Most of the lingering odor is in the fabrics that were contaminated - most commonly kitchen window curtains and kitchen chair cushions, but possibly any towels or washcloths in the area (even if in drawers, sadly.) Treating those (wash, spray deoderizer, etc) will go a long way toward removing that lingering reminder.

Posted by: Kirk Spencer on August 19, 2004 05:50 AM

____

Does Fifi still go POP on Setting 5?

Thought about the math problem, but I keep thinking we need the volume of the microwave itself to solve it.

Posted by: Ken Houghton on August 19, 2004 06:33 AM

____

An indication of how much you guys in the academic world really want to contribute to real world problems - such as a family's demand for cooked meals?

Posted by: Mats Lind on August 19, 2004 06:48 AM

____

WHY OH WHY MUST Brad's son have to experience such a fiasco?

Posted by: P O'Neill on August 19, 2004 07:26 AM

____

Wouldn't a steady state of electromagnetic radiation result in no cooking at all?
I am not sure I understand how microwaves work any more?

Posted by: Sam Jackson on August 19, 2004 07:33 AM

____

Woudn't a steady state electro magnetic field result in no cooking at all? I alway thought that it was not the strength of the field, but the fluctuation that created the current that did the cooking.
I don't think I understand how microwaves work anymore...I've been out of school too long

Posted by: Sam Jackson on August 19, 2004 07:35 AM

____

I'd recommend the proper rice cooker too (get one with a timer so you can have the rice ready for breakfast). It may not save your Dad from harm though. I had to stop one friend pouring the rice and water straight in sansbowl directly onto the element.

Posted by: Anthony on August 19, 2004 07:38 AM

____

I definitely encourage Professor DeLong to invest in a rice-steamer. Anyone who does that will rediscover the taste of rice. It's pretty easy to use (although you still need to pour in the water, obviously) and soon you find yourself debating whether Basmati rice is better or not than Jasmine rice, which can also make for fun conversations at cocktail parties and / or great posts on one's blog. Really, alltogther a great investment.

In fact, if you do decide to use a rice-steamer let me offer you two cooking tips:
-1. put a little extra water for added rice fluffiness (that's a matter of taste, of course.)
-2. add a tiny bit of olive oil to prevent the rice from sticking at the bottom in case you don't have it right when it's ready
-3. consider unplugging the device when the rice is ready, the existing heat will be more than enough for at least an hour. what you want to avoid is having your rice's water evaporate (again I am big on rice fluffiness.)

Enjoy :-)

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on August 19, 2004 07:45 AM

____

Re P O'Neill: to borrow a phrase from Ibsen, but not the exact dramatic setting, the sins of the father are visited upon the son.

Posted by: cal on August 19, 2004 08:57 AM

____

Re P O'Neill: to borrow a phrase from Ibsen, but not the exact dramatic setting, the sins of the father are visited upon the son.

Posted by: cal on August 19, 2004 08:58 AM

____

I use an electric rice cooker at home myself, which makes rice perfectly. These electric rice cookers are what I grew up with. However, the last time my parents visited me from Asia, they told me that the new thing is some kind of a container that you put the rice in and then zap it in the microwave. Apparently it works very well, and it is much faster than using the traditional rice cookers, of course.

Posted by: rev on August 19, 2004 01:07 PM

____

The more daring among you should put a CD in a microwave for about 10 seconds. It actually creates really interesting patterns on the CD.

Posted by: Andrew Edwards on August 19, 2004 02:01 PM

____

Much better with a CD-R, actually.

Posted by: bza on August 19, 2004 02:08 PM

____

I used to rinse and soak rice, but I found it really didn't make enough difference to be worth it. Now I just toss it in the cooker with the water and get perfect rice anyway. Only exception is for when I'm making sushi, I still rinse the rice for that.

Posted by: tavella on August 19, 2004 02:32 PM

____


My informal empirical study indicates that less than 2% of the population has a clue how various foods behave in microwave ovens.

I would say (guessing now), that 100% of that less than 2% would shake their heads sadly at the very thought of a microwave rice cooker.

Now, for my exciting microwave story--I reheated a leftover cooked chicken heart once.

Heard the bang from another room. Wondered what the noise was. Opened the microwave to see a crater in the middle of the plate of leftovers. The heart was shredded and deposited on all interior surfaces. I've often wondered just how big the heart got before it exploded.

Posted by: vote no on (almost) all CA propositions on August 19, 2004 02:39 PM

____

I used to rinse and soak rice, but I found it really didn't make enough difference to be worth it. Now I just toss it in the cooker with the water and get perfect rice anyway. Only exception is for when I'm making sushi, I still rinse the rice for that.

Posted by: tavella on August 19, 2004 02:42 PM

____

I think that with a non-stick rice cooker, you can skip step #2, Jean-Philippe.

Posted by: ArC on August 19, 2004 08:22 PM

____

Raised by a Japanese mother, to me, adding water to rice before cooking is about as reflexive as breathing.

Posted by: Dragonchild on August 19, 2004 09:58 PM

____

I have a cheapie non-nonstick rice cooker. Time to buy some olive oil.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson on August 19, 2004 11:07 PM

____

Post a comment
















__