Don’t be too shocked, but I have never owned a rice cooker! So I picked up this little Black and Decker model that can cook all of three cups of rice. It went for only $16 on a department store sale. Put the rice and water in (a cheat sheet tells you how much of each), and switch the machine on. And 25 mins later you have perfectly cooked rice. How easy is that?! And how does the cooker know when to switch from ‘cook’ to ‘warm’? Well, water boils at an even temperature (and the steam escapes through a hole in the cooker’s lid). As soon as the water is gone, the temperature of the rice rises, the signal to the cooker’s thermostat to turn off the heat and switch to ‘warm’ mode. And there it is, waiting for you – warm fluffy cooked rice.
P.S. And here is the most famous South African brand of rice that I remember from my childhood. ‘It’s so easy, a child can do it’, said the commercials on TV back then. It is parboiled (partially boiled) in the husk before packaging, and takes less time to cook. About 50% of the world’s paddy production gets this treatment.