“It’s called a rice cooker,” Larry said. Despite his reminder, Dee nodded and dropped a hunk of raw chicken into the pot. It was the last in a short list of ingredients; none of which were rice.
“That’s what it’s called,” Dee said. “But that’s not what it is.” Larry narrowed his eyes at the appliance on the table between them. It seemed to be a standard 6-cup rice cooker. It was white with an electronic control panel on the front, and a glass lid. He watched Dee push the lever down; then, a red indicator light came on.
“Looks like one,” he shrugged.
“Really?” Dee asked with a large grin. It took Larry a second to realize she was holding the unplugged power cord in her hand. He focused on the rice cooker again and noticed that the red light was still on. He grew curious and peeked in through the glass lid but he only saw thick white steam.
“…What’s going on?” Larry asked. He briefly wondered if it was a prank. Although, in their short friendship of three years, Dee never showed any signs of being a practical joker. It wasn’t that she did not have a sense of humor, but as a rule she tended to be reserved. Dee shrugged.
“I don’t know exactly,” she said. She sat down at the small dining table across from Larry. “When I first got it, I was organizing my pantry and I accidentally dropped some ingredients into it. Nothing major. Some pasta, a head of garlic and a can of tomato sauce. Since I was focusing on something else, I put the lid on and planned to clean it up when I was done.”
“And then?” Larry asked.
“And then, after a few minutes, I heard a click,” she said.
“Click?” Larry asked.
*CLICK* the lever on the rice cooker popped up; the red light turned green.
“That click,” Dee said. She reached over and lifted the lid; it released billows of steam. The smell instantly hit Larry’s nose. It was the most delicious chicken soup he’d ever smelled. He looked in and noticed a rich golden broth simmering with chunks of chicken and vegetables. “Except, when I opened it the first time it was full of fresh cooked spaghetti.” Dee grabbed the ladle and began serving a bowl for Larry.
“I experimented with it after that; it’s like a magic crockpot,” Dee giggled. “I can throw in pretty much anything and it’ll cook the ingredients into a meal. And, it’s been saving me money; I only need a small amount of an ingredient,” Dee stirred the pot and nodded at it to get Larry’s attention. “There’s way more chicken in here than I added.”
“Oh my god! Where did you get it!?” Larry asked. He hopped out of his chair and bent forward to study the rice cooker. His eyes roamed over the front, then he ran around the other side to check the fine print.
“I ordered it online from Woolie’s; it’s not like they’re making magic items. I’m sure it’s a fluke that I got this,” Dee said. Larry was nodding in agreement while trying to read the fine print.
“I need to see the bottom,” he said.
“You know something?” Dee asked. She stood from her own seat, then grabbed a different pot. She pulled the inner chamber out of the rice cooker and emptied it into the pot. While she did that, Larry flipped the base over.
“YES!” he shouted loud enough to startle Dee slightly. “You are SO lucky.”
“Well, I kind of already knew that,” Dee giggled. “This is obviously magical.” Larry shook his head.
“It’s NOT magical…,” he grinned. He walked around to her side of the table and pointed at something on the bottom of the cooker. It was a 36 in small, golden numbers. “…it’s Unique.”