Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet ERC-008ST Review
Pros: For an appliance that makes up to 16 cups of cooked rice, some users say the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet ERC-008ST (starting at $22; available on Amazon) is a bargain. Like all on/off rice cookers, it requires some experimentation with proportions of rice and liquid, but, then again, all you have to do is press one button to get it started. The machine automatically switches to warming as soon as cooking is finished, and it stays on the "warm" cycle indefinitely until unplugged. This makes it easy to use the pot as a slow cooker, some fans say.
Cons: Some consumers who purchased the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet ERC-008ST from HSN lament in reviews that the instructions are sparse and do not explain how to make anything other than white rice. Even when following directions, many users have ended up with rice that's burnt or gummy, with a lot left clinging to the inside of the pot. This may be because, unlike most of the rice cookers we looked at, this model has an aluminum pot with no nonstick coating. This is a deal breaker for many; one review on Walmart.com complains that rice sticks even when the pot is oiled.
Even deferring to reviewers who assert that the Elite Gourmet ERC-008ST makes good, even flawless rice, there's a bigger issue: numerous reports that the machine stops working after a short time, sometimes just a few months. One consumer who reviewed this model on Amazon barely got to use it at all before it conked out.
Features: The Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet ERC-008ST is a pot-style, on/off rice cooker with a removable glass lid. This is an advantage over a hinged, locking lid when it comes to cleaning. But at the same time, steam and water can come sputtering out the sides, warns a reviewer on Target.com, and this design isn't as good at holding in moisture. The pot comes with a steam tray, measuring cup, and spatula.
Takeaway: For those who quickly zero in on the ratio for making fluffy and fully edible rice with the Maxi-Matic Elite Gourmet ERC-008ST, it may seem like a great deal. But even with its low price, the expectation is that it should at least last until the one-year warranty runs out -- and by many accounts, it doesn't.