That Roger Ebert has been in town for the Hawaii International Film Festival is no surprise. The iconic film critic has been a supporter of the festival since its earliest days.
"The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker"
But how many of us knew that Ebert is also a foodie who loves to cook? In fact, he’s so much of a foodie that he’s written a cookbook especially fitting for Hawaii: "The Pot and How to Use It," a guide for making whole dishes in a rice cooker. Ironically, this book comes four years after Ebert stopped eating due to cancer, something he discusses in the book.
"The Pot" is culled from one of Ebert’s entries to his popular blog, "Roger Ebert’s Journal," on the Chicago Sun Times website. While he mostly discusses films and filmmaking, one entry in November 2008 centered on his love affair with the rice cooker. As a result, "The Pot" isn’t a traditional cookbook. Much of what’s inside comes in narrative form, with short-bite chapters discussing soups, sauces, herbs and spices and even nutrition. Ebert offers lots of advice to folks unfamiliar with purchasing or using a rice cooker.
Those who’ve hardly considered the appliance for duties other than cooking rice will appreciate Ebert’s tips: "Cut (meat) into bite-sized pieces. Fish, you have to be careful not to overcook. … Stage your ingredients on your rough estimate of cooking time. Long-cooking grains first."
Recipes come from readers of his blog, and many are just lists of ingredients and directions for what to do. All "suggestions" in the book, writes Ebert, come with the injunction: "This is just an idea. Change anything or everything in the recipe, and cook it your way."
Here are samples of what you’ll find in "The Pot."
MACARONI AND CHEESE WITH BACON
Sue Grant, Vancouver Island
Add a little diced bacon to the pot. Add macaroni and water as directed on the package. Turn on the pot. When the macaroni is done, drain the water and stir in the cheese and frozen green peas.
MISS INA’S RICE PUDDING
For this recipe (or any recipe in "The Pot and How to Use It" that includes rice), use the measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker. This cup is essentially 3/4 U.S. measuring cup dry rice.
2 cups rice
3 cups water
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup brown or white sugar
Combine all ingredients in the rice cooker. The cooker will turn off when done.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour cooked rice into a greased baking dish; bake 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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