During the coldest winter nights of freshman year, I often thought of home in Malaysia, my roaring appetite, and how the dining halls deprived me of truly wonderful food. I retreated into my dorm in Maple Hall, sobbing away the days and awakening my insecurities.

But then my dad visited me during winter break, and asked if I needed to get a rice cooker. A rice cooker? Did he think I was an unable man? I could make rice in a pot like a baller. Why would I need some robot to do my art? I was, however, wrong.

The rice cooker is the most versatile and best purchase I made in all of 2016. Perhaps even the best long-term purchase I have ever made. Here's why:

1. First and foremost, it can cook rice to perfection with little effort.

cereal, salt, coffee, rice, flour
Angelo Ong

No stirring, no turning, no constant eye on the pot to ensure you’re not burning the bottom. You just have to measure your rice and your water, and then push the cook button.

rice, tea, risotto
Angelo Ong

 Measure to your own liking, fluff to your own happiness.

2. It can cook every meal, from breakfast to dinner.

egg, milk, dairy product, cream, egg yolk
Angelo Ong

I've made breakfast, lunch, and even dinner in my rice cooker. All these meals were made inside (yes, really) my own dorm room.

Sounds a bit introverted, huh? Why would I make full meals in my room when I could just use the floor kitchens in the dorm? I was probably the most frequent user of the kitchens on our floor actually but every meal meant kitchenware, condiments, and food.

I was sick and tired of hauling everything back and forth. Just imagine the pots, pans, oil, seasonings, soap, sponge and groceries to be carried every time. It was madness—three months of madness.

With a rice cooker, you can prepare eggs and sausages for breakfast, Takikomi Gohan for lunch and Linguine Agli Scampi for dinner, all in one place. 

Eggs and other recipes that require oil have the potential to produce smoke if not monitored correctly. Although smoke points of oils exceed far beyond the boiling point of water, it's something to keep in mind. (Please check your dorm policies to see if this appliance is allowed.)

pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, fettuccine, tagliatelle, sauce, basil, penne
Angelo Ong

A variation of a Linguine Scampi presented in an elegant Pyrex container.

3. The rice cooker is a long-term appliance.

cake, coffee
Angelo Ong

After you move out of the dorms to graduate college and/or adulthood, you will still need a rice cooker. It's an appliance that will last and has a purposeful function.

There is a huge market of different kinds of rice cookers out there. I got my rice cooker for $99.99, and although it seems like a large sum of money to spend at once, it's a meaningful long-term purchase. Just cancel your Spotify Premium for 10 months, then you too could get a rice cooker.

What should you take away from this? Well, one thing is that you should listen to your father. Or, just consider investing in a rice cooker.