I have used this product on a daily basis for the past 8 months, for cooking white rice. Usually, I cook Basmati rice, because it has the fragrance of nuts (or whatever), but I have also used it for other types of white rice, as well as for 100% wild rice. It is always the case that I use hot tap water for putting in the rice cooker. (I never start with cold tap water.) Sometimes, I drop a half dozen almonds into the rice cooker when I am beginning to cook the rice. Often, after the rice is cooked, I press a chunk of cheddar cheese into the cooked rice, and let it sit for a few minutes to melt. Sometimes, after the rice is cooked, I add a little Vietnamese hot sauce, or some balsamic vinegar, or both. Once, I cooked the rice together with an eighth pound of fresh mushrooms. Another time, I cooked the rice together with an entire bell pepper, previously sliced. Often, I add an entire fresh carrot (diced) to the rice when I initiate cooking. Although I never bothered to time the cooking, it seems to me that the rice was always fully cooked in under 15 minutes.
The glass lid of the cooker contains a small porthole. Steam comes out of the porthole, and sometimes a tiny bit of bubbling liquid comes out too. The goal of the porthole is to prevent the steam from tossing the lid off the the cooker. Therefore, I am glad for the existance of the porthole. But once I was careless, and I put my hand near the porthole where the steam was rushing out, and my hand got an owee.
After about 6 months, I noticed that the cardboard box containing the rice cooker also had a plastic spoon. The plastic spoon is suitable for stirring the rice, or for mixing the rice with spices. The plastic spoon is also suitable for eating the cooked rice. Unfortunately, I had been using a metal spoon for these 6 months, and a small percentage of the Teflon has been worn away -- perhaps about 2%. Anyway, I now use the plastic spoon all the time.
The rice cooker has a control with two settings, one for warming and the other for cooking. When using this cooker, you have to remember to make sure that the setting is on the COOK setting, and not on the WARMER setting. The cooking bowl is made of metal, and it is easily removable from the heating unit. The cooking bowl just sits into the the heating compartment (it is not firmly attached). It is always the case that, as soon as the rice is cooked, I lift out the cooking bowl, and place the cooking bowl into a little tub of cool water. Then, about five minutes later, it has cooled down enought to have for supper. It should also be noted that this rice cooker automatically switches from COOK to WARMER when the water is running out. In other words, this is a "smart" cooker that prevents burning of the rice, should the level of moisture get below a certain level. Apparently, this automatic feature is the result of a thermostat that is built into the cooker.
FIRST SUPPLEMENT TO MY REVIEW. After twelve months of almost daily use, my rice cooker conked out. And so, I discarded it, and bought a new one (the same model). Please note that every time I use the rice cooker to make supper, I save at least three or four dollars, since a meal consisting mainly of foods other than rice, or a meal from a take-out restaurant, would cost much more than a half-cup of rice! I also use this rice cooker for instant mashed potatoes. For instant mashed potatoes, I keep the hot water in the cooker until the water boils, and then I pour in the potato flakes, and stir it. Then I unplug the cooker right away, and stir a little bit more. After one minute of stirring, the mashed potatoes are ready to eat! For flavoring, I add a few tablespoons of ketchup. Sometimes, I add some cheese to the instant mashed potatoes. I always dine alone, and so I never have to worry about comments like, "Why do you always eat like a pauper?"
SECOND SUPPLEMENT TO MY REVIEW. It is now January 2014, and I have been using my second Black and Decker 3-cup rice cooker for 18 months. It is still going strong! I still use it every day for cooking supper or for bringing rice to lunch at work. The Teflon surface on the inside of the cooker is a little worn, perhaps two or three percent is scraped off. I have not been using any metal spoon or any harsh metal scrubbing pad. But still, a bit of the Teflon has scraped off. But this does NOT impair the device's ability to cook, and I do NOT clumps of rice caked to the bottom. I am still using Basmati rice. Sometimes, I mix a can of black beans with the cooked rice. Sometimes I add Cholula hot sauce. Sometimes I add a small block of sharp cheddar cheese. Often, I dice up an entire small onion, and add it at a time point when the rice is half-way cooked. I still give this product FIVE STARS.