A friend recently mentioned that she was thinking about getting an instant pot. Or is it Instant Pot? She asked if I had one. I do not. However, I do have a rice cooker, a blender (on permanent loan from the former boyfriend of a friend – and at the moment, this free blender is the only positive thing about him that comes to mind), a Magic Bullet blender, a stick blender, handheld mixer, KitchenAid mixer, bread maker, a juicer, three crock pots (count them – THREE), three coffee makers – four, if you count the espresso/cappuccino maker, a French coffee press (so coffee implements are now up to five), THREE coffee bean grinders (are you getting the importance of coffee around here?), a vintage glass Pyrex stovetop percolating coffee pot, a stainless steel percolating coffee pot (in case you’ve lost count, there are TEN appliances at my beckon call for the production of one glorious cup of java per day – yes, one), a toaster oven, a food processor, a mini food processor, two panini presses – one of which is a 4-in-1 fancy-schmancy sort, a waffle maker (because… why not?), a juicer, a dehydrator (okay, seriously, is there anyone else who owns a dehydrator??), a popcorn maker, and a nut chopper/grinder. And, no, I didn’t buy that last one for when bad dates go incredibly south.
So. Will I be adding an Instant Pot to my kitchen repertoire? Until my friend asked, I hadn’t considered it. I actually, for whatever reason, never had given it thought. I have nearly every small appliance known to humankind. Yet, I really don’t. There are oh so many small appliances. And they all seem to fill a specific need. A void, if you will. A void in the kitchen. (I may, or may not, discuss the void filled by small bedroom appliances at another time. But not right now.)
I began thinking about the Instant Pot and its intended use. I admit that I had to actually look up the Instant Pot because I wasn’t even sure if it was a brand or just a type of appliance – kind of like how everyone calls their crock pot a crock pot. There’s the Crock Pot brand, but although I have a Hamilton Beach “slow cooker,” I still call it a crock pot. Six of one.
At any rate, my thought about the Instant Pot is this. Its very name makes me not want one. The thought of having one induces stress. As you can deduce by reviewing the nauseating list of appliances I already own, I have absolutely nothing against small kitchen appliances. In fact, I marvel at them. I covet them. Apparently. But an instant pot? No. I cannot.
Do you know that there are blogs devoted entirely to the instant pot? (Lemme ask again. Should I be saying Instant Pot or instant pot? I have a thing about being grammatically correct. Except for when I’m slurring my words.) There are instant pot recipe blogs gaaaaloooooore! Literally thousands upon thousands of recipes – that you can only use in an instant pot. There are actually Instant Pot Master Chefs. Okay, maybe I just made that up. But I would have to learn a whole new way to cook. I’d actually have to read instructions and follow directions! I’m sorry, but that shit just ain’t happenin’.
The instant pot comes, of course, in many different varieties. There’s the “basic” 6-in-1 pot, a 7-in-1 pot, and so on, all the way up to a 10-in-1 pot. TEN appliances in one. Sounds like exactly what I need right? I could get rid of 10 of my appliances and replace them with this WonderPot!! Here are the key features of the 10-in-1 model (courtesy of Instant Pot website):
- 10-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker – Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Cake Maker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steamer, Warmer, Sterilizer, and the new and exclusive feature to Instant Pot®, the Ultra program.
- 16 Built in Smart Programs – Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Cake, Egg, Slow Cook, Sauté/Searing, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Sterilize, Yogurt, Warm, Pressure Cook, and Ultra
- New! Ultra program – Developed to provide unlimited control in pressure and non-pressure cooking conditions. You can adjust different parameters based on your favourite recipes and preferences. Can be used for sous vide cooking with a temperature accuracy of +/- 5°F or 3°C
- New! Sterilize program – Ideal to pasteurize dairy products, sterilize baby bottles, jars, and utensils; as well as, perform certain types of canning much more conveniently than ever before! (Note: Refer to the ‘USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning’ for details)
- New! Cake program – Designed to prepare soft and moist cakes
- New! Egg program – Developed to prepare perfect eggs in just a few minutes
- New! Altitude Adjustment – Eliminates the guesswork from a recipe conversion for a more precise cooking time
- New! Large, blue LCD display with a Progress Indicator – Provides a visual on the cooking progress, from preheating, through to cooking, and Keep warm; includes, a new time display
- New! Central Dial – A simple turn and press, for easier and more precise cooking program selection and adjustments
- New! Steam Release Reset Button – For safer handling of steam release after cooking is completed. The button resets itself when one opens or closes the lid if the button is in the venting position
- Dual pressure settings – For fast and flexible cooking – Cooking with high pressure reduces cooking time by up to 70% and the low pressure avoids overcooking delicate food
- New! Quick & Easy Program Adjustments – Need to make an adjustment after cooking has started? The Ultra allows one to easily adjust settings even when cooking is in progress
- New! Smart features – remembers your last customization on all cooking programs
- Delay Start time – Up to 24 hours
- New! Sound ON/Off – Select if the sound is ON/OFF, the status is displayed on the LCD panel with the Sound ON/Off – ‘Sound’ indicates it is ON/OFF when selecting a program, cooking starts or is completed
- New! Pressure Cook Time – Allows pressure cook for up to 6 hours
- Slow Cooker – In addition to the (3) temperature settings, one has the flexibility to customize the cooking time between 0.5 – 20 hours for each temperature level
- Sauté – In addition to the (3) temperature settings; now, one can easily adjust the time to a maximum of 30 minutes intervals as a safety precaution
- New! Automatic Keep Warm – one can easily turn ON/OFF. The Keep Warm time is displayed on the LCD panel along with the Keep Warm ON/OFF. The Warm has 3 temperatures settings to maintain food at different serving temperatures
Okay – you got me. I don’t have a cake maker. CAKE. The damn thing makes cake!!
Did you read all of those features? I didn’t. But I like the third one: “[D]eveloped to provide unlimited control in pressure and non-pressure cooking conditions.” What exactly does that even mean? “pressure and non-pressure cooking conditions.” So, in other words, all cooking conditions?? Or does this mean if you’re under pressure or not under pressure to cook the meal? I’m thinking that if I had an Instant Pot I’d be under pressure because it would take me longer to figure out how to work the damn appliance than it would be to just make the dish the old-fashioned way – on top of the stove or in the oven. Now there’s a novel concept.
Seriously. Look at the list of things this single appliance does. Do we even need people? I’m thinking not. Soon enough, we’ll all be replaced by robots. Robots and instant pots. If you’re at least my age (55), think about how many things you used to do yourself that can now be replicated or performed by a machine, gadget, software, app, or piece of technology. Everything you could ever possibly want to do, see, or have, is practically – quite literally – within a finger’s reach. You can swipe open your phone, or even speak a magic command to a glowing cylinder that sits on your living room console (blending in with the décor, of course), and it opens the glorious worldwide web and/or performs a menial task for you. We now take this for granted and become frustrated and annoyed when the gadget fails to perform instantaneously. The next generation doesn’t know any different. Before my generation turns to dust, we will have watched another whole new wave of technology and small appliance explosion.
Let’s do more. Create more. Buy more. Have more. Faster. Bigger. Better. More powerful. More efficient. Less for me to do. Allow more time for me to do. Do. Do. Do. And for what? I’ll tell you what. Stress. Stress is what we’ll get when we do more, buy more, have more. And you know what stress does? Fucks you up, that’s what.
Appliances and technology that are designed to help us and make our lives become more manageable and simplified actually, in a number of ways, often complicate our lives and at the same time make us less “human.” They make us more reliant on “things” rather than on our own damn selves. When was the last time you sat through an entire meal and had a conversation with someone and didn’t once look at your phone? Billy sent a text and you have to read it right now. Because surely it won’t be in your phone still in 15 minutes after you’ve finished eating that instant pot meal that took 13 minutes to make, from start to finish. Appliances like the instant pot have replaced leisure.
Why does one want an instant pot? To free up more time to do what? Read the newspaper? Or a real book, printed on paper and everything? Read a book to his or her child? Knit? Play board games with the family? Go on a nature hike? Maybe I’m just a crass crank (kind of like a class clown, only for older people), but I look around and see so much busy-ness that I just don’t think that’s what everyone is doing with the surplus of time they now have as a direct result of the almighty WonderPot.
Don’t get me wrong – I really do think the instant pot is a genius idea. You can even buy one now for as little as $45 (and as much as more than $1,000!!! Holy crap! Who spends a THOUSAND DOLLARS on a fucking pressure cooker?!!) But that doesn’t make me want one. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy the art of cooking and baking. I like learning new techniques in the kitchen and experimenting with flavors and ingredients while I’m cooking. Cooking is meditative to me, much like gardening or working in the yard both are.
Am I judging you if you have or buy an instant pot? Oh, hell no! Judge not lest you be judged. (Remember, I am the crank with 31 small appliances in my 6′ x 8′ kitchen.) There is no doubt in my mind that there is real value in an instant pot. For those who need or want more time in their lives, or for those who just love gadgets and appliances, go for it! As for me, I’ll just stick with my three crock pots.
I had no idea I felt this strongly about the instant pot. But honestly, I don’t need anything in an instant.
Happy Monday, friends!!