Being a lover of movies, I never missed an episode of Siskel and Ebert. I loved their banter and opinions, and even won a few Oscar party games because of their picks for the winners. Along with many others, I felt sad when Siskel died and when Ebert became ill, but the last thing Roger Ebert wants us to do is feel sorry for him. Since 2006, Roger has been unable to speak, eat, or smell – but that didn’t stop him from writing a cookbook. Food, cooking, and being around the table with family and friends are still very much with him. He loved to cook before he became ill, and he still loves to cook now. And he wants all of us to master “the pot.”
Roger was given a rice cooker many years ago as a gift. He became curious about the pot, how it worked and what he could cook in it. Turns out you can cook most things in a rice cooker. Roger even took a rice cooker with him to the Sundance Film Festival to cook in his room. Roger went well beyond rice in the pot. He cooks everything from oatmeal to dessert. I have to admit to being a bit skeptical that almost anything can be cooked in a rice cooker, but Roger is right. It can be done, as he has proven in this cookbook.
The recipes sound delicious, but beyond that, I enjoyed the commentaries by Roger even more, just as I loved him on the television show. I have to tell you that I have been struggling to write this blog for almost a week. I kept coming back to it, rewriting, deleting, reading again, and repeating this over and over. I realized I had to stop feeling such sadness for Roger and his medical condition, and see that he loved doing this in spite of being ill. He loves life so much and I had to get past my own sadness for him to see what he accomplished with this wonderful cookbook. In spite of all his challenges, Roger still loves life and cooking, even though he can no longer eat his creations. He wants us to prepare nutritious meals that are easy to prepare after a hard day’s work. Food is good medicine, especially when it is made with love, as Roger does for his family and friends. He just wants us to share the joy of food and have fun. I’m with you, Roger, and now I must go out and buy a rice cooker. My admiration for you is endless.