Friday, December 22, 2017

Cheating with Your Cookstove: Using the Warming Oven to Make Rice

I have always liked rice.  I can remember it being one of my favorite foods when I was very little, perhaps because Mom started feeding it to me shortly after I was weaned from rice baby cereal.  On Mom's side of the family, both my grandma and Aunt Meme made it.  It was always served as a starch in place of the usual potato, and it was sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.  At school it was served the same way, only they put raisins in it too.  I wonder if this is a regional thing because I remember talking to a lady from Southern California when I was in college, and she thought I was crazy when I told her about putting sugar and cinnamon on rice.  She said that she grew up eating it with salt on it.  Maybe you readers can clear that mystery up for me.

Anyway, with my new schedule permitting me to be home more often for noon dinner, I have sometimes resorted to using instant rice as my staple.  The way I always used to make instant rice was by bringing the designated amount of water to a boil in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid.  Then, I would add an equal amount of instant rice, cover the saucepan tightly, remove it from the fire (or slide it as far away from the firebox as possible), and let it stand five minutes.

However, I'm really pleased with my new method.  It takes advantage of both the warming oven and the ever-present teakettle.  The first thing to do is put the teakettle directly over the fire so that the water is boiling.  Then, half fill a clean pint jar with instant rice.

The teakettle boiling directly over the fire with
the instant rice ready in the pint jar in the
warming oven.  A hamburger steak is frying to
the right of the teakettle.
Pour a cup of boiling water over the rice in the pint jar.  Make sure to stir the mixture a little so that all of the rice has been exposed to the water.  Then lay a canning lid over the mouth of the jar, put it into the warming oven and close the door.  (I keep a stash of clean, used canning lids on hand.)

The instant rice and water mixture just after being put in the
warming oven.
Of course, all that is to be done now is to let the rice stand in the warming oven for five minutes.

The finished rice ready to be served.
This method of preparing instant rice has a some advantages:

a) A little time is saved by not having to bring water to a boil in a saucepan (although, if your teakettle is hot, you could save time by pouring boiling water into the saucepan).

b) If your cooktop is small and cluttered with other cooking vessels, your rice at least won't be taking up any precious cooking space.

c) If you don't eat all of the rice, the leftovers are already in a container that can conveniently go in the refrigerator.

d) I think the canning jar is easier to wash than a saucepan.

If you have a warming oven and have occasion to prepare instant rice, give this method a try and let me know how it works for you.  I've classified this as a "cheating with your cookstove" post because instant rice is definitely "cheating" in my book.  Sometime I'll have to share Nancy's and my favorite way to prepare rice.  It is definitely not instant, and the result is much tastier than this, but this does in a pinch.  We all get into cooking pinches due to time constraints sometimes, and I just want to show that a wood cookstove can be the cook's best friend even in one of those pinches.

The pictures you see are from the preparation of my noon dinner today.  Marjorie was very busy since the day was largely spent making different things for Christmas.  My niece Josie came over and we made our traditional recipe for fudge and then tried a vintage recipe for orange fudge, which didn't turn out too well.  I was also boiling cider to make a pork loin for Nancy's family's Christmas. 

In an idle moment, Josie snapped a picture through the kitchen window of my brother's cattle, and she was dead set on me sharing it with you in this post.  Hope you enjoy it.


  1. *waves at Josie* How DID the ladies make that awesome rice'n'raisins at school? I'm sure it was horribly artificial but it was GOOD. They only made it a couple of times per year, and they always served it w a main dish I didn't like, so I loaded up on it. I've tried a few times to replicate it, but it's never quite the same. Seriously, if you could figure that one out you'd be my best friend forever. Wait.....

  2. Do you know where a person can find a good used wood cook stove in Wa, Ut, Id or Montana?

    1. Gwen,
      Welcome to my blog and thank you for your question!

      Not being familiar with used stove dealers in your area of the country, my advice would be to look at Craigslist. I took a quick gander at some of the areas of Montana and Washington and saw several used cookstoves on Craigslist that looked like they had quite a few meals left to cook and were reasonably priced to boot.

      A word of advice, though: In my experience, people who are selling wood cookstoves on Craigslist rarely know much about them. Therefore, you need to be the expert. Ask lots of questions but make an appointment to see the stove in person so that you can poke around on it and look for any weak spots, holes, missing pieces, etc.

      Best of luck! If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask, and when you get your stove purchased and installed, be sure to let me know. I would love to write a "Readers' Cookstoves" post about it.