All things considered, I recently decided that Uncle Ben's rice is the worst product available in grocery stores that does not directly damage your health. In my opinion, if you are older than 20 and you are regularly consuming Uncle Ben's products, you must have seriously made a wrong turn somewhere in your life. Here are four points that let me come to this conclusion.

1. Cost/Value Ratio: Awful

The thing is, because I'm price conscious I had not tried Uncle Ben's products for years. Which brings me to the first point: As an example, buying one portion of Uncle Ben's pre-cooked 2-minute rice "ready meals" costs about eight to ten times as much as buying normal rice, plus your choice of additional ingredients of the same nutritional value.

2. Taste: Awful

Last time I tried one of Uncle Ben's pre-cooked rice dishes was several years ago. It was on special offer (hence somewhat moderating my first point) and I had told myself: Maybe it's not as bad as you remember, and maybe you'll want something really quick sometime. Back then I was completely used to eating pre-prepared food that you just have to heat up one way or another. Yet still, the taste of Uncle Ben's actually managed to surprise me in its utter blandness.

3. Indicated Preparation Times: Inaccurate

The one advantage Uncle Ben's products seem to have is that the prep time is very low. Yet from my experience you will have to add at least 30% to the minutes indicated on the packaging to get something remotely consumable.

4. Company Claims: Pretty Much the Opposite of What They Actually Offer

Recently, a roommate moved out and left some rice. Plain rice. Uncle Ben's rice. I told myself: "Well, it's free, and what can you do wrong with plain rice?" I prepared the rice as indicated in the instructions as a side for my dish. I was not prepared for what followed. It is, quite simply, an inconceivable miracle how Uncle Ben's can fuck up plain rice, but they do. This rice here had the consistency of rubber and the flavor of cardboard paper.

It costs at least four times as much as normal rice and it tastes decidedly worse than regular parboiled rice prepared with no salt. But hey, it only takes 10 minutes (well, rather 12) instead of 15! I checked the packaging. Maybe there was an explanation here. Somewhere on the backside I found a quote:

"We think life is too short to settle for the second best."

I was floored.

In conclusion, if you don't have the 15-20 minutes it takes to prepare normal rice on certain days (congratulations, you must be an important person!), just cook a big batch when you have time. Cover it, and put it in the fridge. You will just have to heat it. Leftover rice is actually preferred to freshly cooked rice in many recipes, such as curries.

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