March 9, 2005

NO, NO, NO, SHE SAID "A ROSE" (via John Resnick):

Chinese Rice Cookers: Women's Day Gift from Castro (Reuters, 3/09/05)

President Fidel Castro gave Cuban women some good news on International Women's Day: rice cookers are coming to every household.

In a five-hour 45-minute speech to cheering women on Tuesday night, the Cuban leader announced 100,000 pressure cookers and rice cookers would be available each month at subsidized prices.

"Those of you who like rice cookers, raise your hands," Castro said to applause from hundreds of women. The 78-year-old leader spent two hours talking about the merits of pressure cookers.

Castro's gesture may have carried some irony, coming on a day commemorating women's battles for equality. But many Cuban women, who do the vast majority of domestic work despite advances toward equality under Castro, were only too happy to hear the Chinese-made rice cookers were on their way.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 9, 2005 1:50 PM

And on May Day, he'll be giving out rice.

(two hours on rice cookers!?)

Posted by: Peter B at March 9, 2005 2:09 PM

Typical communist loony micromanagement.

That said, rice cookers are a fine thing, although I'd step up to one of the mid-range Japanese models like a Zojirushi. An insulated lid and nonstick pan are both handy.

The only downside is that good reasonably priced ricecookers seem to be Asian (ok, no surpise), and apparently in Asia kitchen outlets are usually switched, so there's usually no on/off switch on the cooker - you have to unplug or plug it at each use.

Posted by: Mike Earl at March 9, 2005 2:50 PM

Some factory in China must have lost a contract with Wal-Mart for Fidel to have gotten his hands on so many cookers...

Posted by: John at March 9, 2005 3:09 PM

Two hours on rice cookers while you are standing in the Tropical Sun.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 9, 2005 3:37 PM

No Walter Williams fans?

Posted by: David Cohen at March 9, 2005 3:38 PM

David: Relevance?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 9, 2005 3:42 PM

. . . many Cuban women, who do the vast majority of domestic work despite advances toward equality under Castro, . . .

WHAT? You mean Cuba hasn't achieved total equality, even after 45 years of Castro's enlightened rule? Outrageous! Do Steven Speilberg and Barbara Walters know about this?

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 9, 2005 4:07 PM

Robert: Hasn't that ship sailed?

Posted by: David Cohen at March 9, 2005 4:13 PM

A phone rings in Cuba:


Fidel? This is Fubo Gonarico. Thank you so very mucho for the rice cooker. Do you know where I can get some rice?

Click. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: AllenS at March 9, 2005 4:41 PM

David my brain isn't working. I do not get the joke. Peter B wrote:

"(two hours on rice cookers!?)"

Which is really kind of mind boggling. But I said to myself, think about the poor schmucks who had to stand there and listen to that speech in the broling sun. Oy. That would be torture.

What that had to do with Walter Williams (No Neck?) late of the NYYankees or sailing ships. I do not know. But what the hey; feel free to enlighten me.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 9, 2005 4:47 PM

If I recall correctly Ceaucescu was promising additional rations of sausages and oranges to the mob shortly before he met his untimely and deserved demise.

Posted by: MB at March 9, 2005 6:30 PM

Robert: Explanations never make a joke any funnier.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 9, 2005 10:19 PM

shrugs helplessly.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 10, 2005 12:07 AM

Forgive this self-reference . . . my in-laws came from (then) Canton, to Hong Kong (one step ahead of Mao), to America. With only the shirts on their backs. My mother-in-law's youngest sister was shot and killed by the People's Army as she tried to float down the Pearl River to freedom (the Chinese Communists had a different view of immigration than we do). My in-laws are doing great, now that they are Americans. The idea that a Cuban dictator would offer a rice cooker to his imprisoned subjects, a thing that my in-laws can buy at Target for $14.95, in exchange for his subjects' continued subjugation, is grotesque.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at March 10, 2005 2:30 AM