Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Egg Fried Rice + the dreaded "E18" lens error

No one ever thinks it's going to happen to them.The sound is a combination of grinding and ringing, then a series of beeps. "Wha?" You say as you look down at the camera. And there, spelled out on the screen, are the words, "lens error, restart camera".

This error message, sometimes known around the Internet as "the fatal lens error" or simply "E18" is, apparently, common in Canon digital cameras. Some speculate that the error is due to a design flaw, and Canon's refusal to acknowledge the flaw stems from fact that they'd then be required to refund millions of dollars or fix millions of cameras or both. (Here's a great reason to do your homework, people. 5 seconds of Internet searching could have saved me a whole lot of grief.)

I did find several blogs with ideas on how to fix the problem, everything from restarting the camera (yeah, first thing I tried--several times), to blowing canned, pressurized air into the spaces between the lens parts, to actually banging the camera on a counter top (the idea being that your camera is already not working, so if you hurt it by whacking it on the counter you're not really in any worse shape). All of these were aimed at dislodging the lint or grit or whatever that is causing the lens to not be able to retract.

As you can probably guess, none of the ideas worked for me, and I suddenly found myself without a camera a few weeks ago. Now, at the time, my main concern was our Yellowstone trip. I had to have a camera to take on vacation. I went to Costco and bought a small camera for about $140, and while it worked fine for taking pictures of bison walking past our car and Old Faithful erupting right on schedule, it was horrid at taking closeup pictures of things like, say, food. Now, of course, I wasn't terribly surprised, the thing was barely over $100. I took it back to Costco (love their return policy) and again find myself without a camera.

So! Since a food blog is nothing without pictures, I'm digging back into my picture files for things I never got around to posting. Hopefully we'll get the camera thing figured out soon and I'll be up and running with my whisk in one hand and my camera in the other.

Egg Fried Rice

When you eat this you're going to think you're in a restaurant. I know, I know, there are many recipes floating around the web that make this same promise, but this one delivers. The trick, of course, is using real Asian ingredients for the flavors. I know. Shocking.

A quick note about the rice. There seems to be quite the controversy on the net about whether the rice must be day-old, cold rice, or if you can use freshly made rice. There are some people who adamantly insist fresh rice is best, but I just don't see how it could possibly work. Fresh rice sticks together, if even just a little, and in order for fried rice to cook how you want the grains need to be separate. Oh, and you can slice your own carrots if you want, but I just use the frozen pea & carrot combo. It's supposed to be a super-easy recipe, anyway.

Printable Recipe

4 teaspoons soy sauce (please use real brewed)
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups cold, cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cups frozen peas & carrots, thawed
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and onion powder in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Spray a 12-inch non-stick skillet with non-stick spray and heat it over medium heat until it's very hot (but don't burn the spray).

3. Add the eggs and let them cook, without stirring, until they are mostly cooked through, 30-45 seconds. stir briefly with a rubber spatula. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the eggs are broken up and cooked all the way through, about 30-45 seconds.

4. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir well to coat the rice evenly. Cook, stirring constantly, until the excess moisture has evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the green onion, and stir and cook until the onion is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Makes about 3 cups rice.


  1. I love fried rice and it's one of my favorite things to make, and eat! :)

  2. P.S. Uh oh, I have a Canon and I have never heard of this! I guess I better look into it, NOW!

  3. Yeah...I decided I'm going to go ahead and take my camera apart and see if I can fix it. I figure it's ruined anyway, right? Wish me luck! :)

  4. I just had the dreaded lens error, but with a Nikon DSLR. Even worse, it was borrowed! I had just got used to a nice camera instead of my point and shoot, and all of a sudden the lens won't retract! After only a week!
    Think I'll console myself by looking at some of your lovely pictures instead--the fried rice looks great!


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