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On the face of it a potato ricer ("masher") has nothing at all to do with rice!

  • Never heard the term. – WS2 Oct 16 '15 at 11:13
  • North American 'English'. Amazon – Richard Flack Oct 16 '15 at 11:17
  • Not just North American, I've been hearing the term (and eating the food) for around 2-3 years in the UK. – Marv Mills Oct 16 '15 at 12:29
  • I have never heard of "potato ricer". Don't blame every strangefangled term on north americans or the british. It might been due to misguided usage in a tiny nook in wisconsin. – Blessed Geek Oct 16 '15 at 13:17
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    A "ricer" is simply a form of masher which forces the material through a fine screen to produce rice-sized pieces. Nothing mysterious about it. (My recollection is that the term first moved out of fancy kitchens and into common usage maybe 30 years ago. Ngram shows it being popular from 1900 to 1945 or so, then regaining popularity beginning about 1970.) – Hot Licks Oct 16 '15 at 15:12
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Wiktionary explains well on this:

A utensil used to extrude soft foods (such as, and especially, cooked potato) through holes about the diameter of a grain of rice.

  • Well, yes, except that rice is granular and the result of using a ricer is not. I would say that the granularity of rice is a far more important attribute than the dimensions of the grains. The result is more like spaghetti (if the strands havent totally collapsed) than rice IMHO. This came up at a dinner the other night among people fairly knowledgeable about food and no one had a real answer. – Richard Flack Oct 16 '15 at 11:24
  • If you see other slang terms in the link, you will change your mind. When a *word" is invented/coined, sometimes the main meaning of the word is changed or completely gone as in the case of No. 3,4, and 5 in the link. Granularity has nothing to do with "automobile". – user140086 Oct 16 '15 at 11:28
  • @RichardFlack A ricer does not turn the food into the equivalent of grains of rice, as you have observed, it is merely the implement that, as it says in the definition, extrudes food through holes the diameter of a grain of rice. You can also find 'Cauliflower ricer'... – Marv Mills Oct 16 '15 at 14:27

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