The Evolution of the Rice Cooker

The Evolution of the Rice Cooker

Rice is almost a universal food for people from different parts of the world. It can be cooked using different cooking devices. Nowadays, electric rice cookers are the most common devices for cooking rice which is either brown or white. An electric rice cooker can also be used to cook several varieties of foods. Its multi-tasking nature heightens its importance as a cooking appliance. When and how did the invention of the rice cooker occur? A rice cooker has undergone many development milestones starting from very humble beginnings to the present day rice cooker as will be demonstrated below.

Historical Overview​

The birth of rice cookers took place in Japan. Before the discovery of the electric rice cooker, rice was initially prepared using a stove placed at one corner of a kitchen. This was notable in Japan. The stove was referred to as kamado. Cooking rice using a kamado was a hectic task and its quality was not up to standard. Temperature regulation was difficult to achieve and the rice cooked was lacked a sense of taste.

The interest in invention of rice cookers dates back to the period1912-1926 which was better known as Taisho era. During this period, there were on significant milestones achieved in inventing a rice cooker. The major breakthrough in the field of rice cookers was actualized in 1955.

Before 1955, the pioneer electric rice cooker invented was technologically incapacitated. It was invented by interconnecting aluminum electrodes. Many are the times this first electric rice cooker produced raw and burnt rice. The shortcomings of this rice cooker motivated companies in Japan like Toshiba to invent better rice cookers. The first quality rice cooker was invented in Japan in 1955 by Toshiba Company. This was after the company spent half a decade in developing suitable techniques to enhance the functioning of the rice cooker. This brought to an end the reign of kamado.

In 1960, rice cookers witnessed more positive changes. Rice cookers that enabled rice to retain warmness long after it had been cooked ruled the market. At the same time, a few rice cookers that had time settings were introduced in the market. This was followed by rice cookers endowed with computer technology in the late 1970s.

Today, the rice cooker market boasts of many models which have digital settings that provide a worthy rice cooking experience. The rice cookers are also designed to cook multiple varieties of foods making them suitable multi-cooking devices.

Rice Cooking Process Using a Rice Cooker​

Converting raw rice to cooked rice is basically done by using water and a steady supply of heat. This divides the rice cooking process into four stages:​

  • Contact between the rice and water
  • Boiling
  • Steaming-water absorption
  • Fully cooked rice

Electric rice cookers automatically oversee the successful implementation of each stage until the rice is cooked. The cooking pan, the heating plate and the thermal sensing device (a thermometer) in rice cookers are the features that enable them to cook rice. The cooking pan is where the rice is placed. The heating plate facilitates boiling of the water since it enables distribution of heat to the cooking pan. The thermometer sets the necessary temperature depending on the type of rice being cooked. When the water in the cooking pan has been fully absorbed by the rice, the rice cooker will automatically switch off and an alert signal is conveyed to an individual signaling the end of the cooking process.

Types and Features of Rice Cookers​

Based on the history of rice cookers, there is a notable pattern that gives rice to the categories of rice cookers. Rice cookers types include:​

  • Standard electric rice cookers
  • Improved rice cookers
  • Best rice cookers

To shed more light on these categories of rice cookers, it is important to focus on the most basic and important features of rice cookers.

The Most Basic Features​

  • A removable plastic or glass rid that speeds up cleaning process
  • A non-stick pan
  • A fuse protector
  • A retractable cord

Other Important Features

  • Induction Heating (IH) technology – This technology enhances uniform distribution of heat leading to fully cooked rice.
  • Fuzzy logic technology – This a computer technology that enables rice cookers to automatically regulate the time and temperature settings when cooking rice. This feature is majorly evident in rice models that are among the best rice cookers.
  • Different sizes – Rice cookers are of different sizes which determine the amount of rice they can cook. Most rice cookers cook about 3 to 10 cups of rice. A very small rice cooker can cook one cup of rice. A large rice cooker can cook 10 cups of rice. It is practical to cook 20 cups of rice when using a commercial rice cooker.
  • Versatile settings – Modern electric rice cookers have various settings to cook both white and brown rice. Settings for cooking other dishes are also available.
  • Multipurpose attributes – The basic function of rice cookers is to cook rice. Nonetheless, rice cookers are versatile cooking equipment. Some are furnished with steaming trays for steaming purposes. Aside from rice, they can be used to steam vegetables, cook stews and meat. This makes a rice cooker very appropriate when one wants to cook a variety of dishes.

Future Expectations

What do we expect to see in future in terms of rice cookers? Technology keeps changing. As a result of change new things emerge. Although it is not easy to predict what the future has in store for rice cookers, change is inevitable. There is a degree of certainty rice cookers will not remain the same as they are currently. As technological advancements become enshrined more each day in the society, the possibility of invention of more advanced rice cookers is very high. Most probably, every cycle of invention will lead to development of more sophisticated rice cookers that greatly redefine and shorten our rice cooking experiences.​

In conclusion, the invention of rice cookers has improved how rice cooked. Rice cookers fulfill multiple cooking needs. Advanced rice cookers are the best option especially if one can afford them. Due to their advanced attributes, rice can be cooked fast, it can stay warm for many hours and reheated conveniently.

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