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in defense of technology

> I keep reading about rice cookers and bread makers and each time I do I
> wonder "why do people bother?"


> Brown rice can be cooked in about 45 minutes (white in 20) in any stove-top
> pan.  Just bring the water to a boil, dump in the rice, stir once, tightly
> cover and turn heat down to just as low as you can get.
> Ignore it for the required time.  NEVER lift the top to "see how it's
> coming along."  It's coming along quite nicely, thank you <G>.

That's quite true, and with practice one can learn to make minute
adjustments in the texture of the rice for different recipes.  However,
when it's not gourmet night, it is more convenient (and safer for the fire
department) to push the button on the rice cooker, leave the house, come
back 2-3 hours later from whatever needed to be done "offsite" and have
the rice cooked and thoroughed steamed.

> I've tried 3 bread machines and have returned all 3 because they can't
> begin to match the speed or quality of the whole wheat bread I whip up in a
> Cuisinart food processor (others just don't do the trick...not enough power
> in the motor.)

Frankly, it is one of the pleasures of my life to cook copious amounts of
sourdough whole-wheat bread (recipe in the archives) using the Cuisinart
Classic on the counter.  I used to knead dough myself, but carpal-tunnel
operations have made that an even more rare pleasure.

Nevertheless, were I to list my schedule here, you would quickly realize
that I would have to either starve or eat what the SAD food industry
offers me if I did not have the convenience of a bread machine.
(Incidentally, I bought a Panasonic over two years ago, have likely made
about 1000 one-pound loaves of every conceivable type--not all eaten by
me, of course--and the motor is still running just fine.) 

> Once I've got my dough I dump it into an UNGREASED bowl, cover it with a
> moist towel and leave it alone to rise for 30 minutes.  I then punch it

I have found a non-stick Dutch oven to be easier, though for most of my
recipes the first rising usually takes 45-60 minutes; that may be because
of the central Florida climate.

> down, place it into the loaf pan and again, cover it with a moist towel in
> an oven that has been turned on at 300 for a minute, then leave it alone
> again for another 30 minutes.

I'm surprised that this does not kill the yeast in the bread.  On cooler
days I have put bread in the oven and heated the oven to 100 degrees F.

> I guess I'm starting to show my age by my snubbing the new-fangled
> contraptions that are supposed to save time, but wind up taking longer than
> the old tried and true methods.

It's a matter of perspective; it's also a trade-off of quality vs. 
convenience.  I write all of this because you asked us why, and not to try
to persuade you; I envy your opportunity to cook in more old-fashioned

Jim Massey               
Humanities, Polk Community College, Lakeland, FL