I feel like I’ve been writing this column long enough for us to be close enough, dear reader, for me to start sharing deep, personal secrets with you. I imagine the FCJ readers putting up their feet in front of a roaring fire and eagerly turning to my columns with eagerness shining in their eyes, ready to welcome me into their homes as a kooky uncle, or perhaps as the ranting man on the street corner who seems just stable enough to go away if you give him a ham sandwich and enough money to make it to the next town.
Oh yes, reader. We get each other, you and me. Which is why I feel I have to get this off my chest. I always told myself I’d never become the jealous husband type, and that my love for my wife was too complete, too powerful, too strong to be threatened. But, alas, I believe I have finally met my match in a shiny little barrel known only as the Instant Pot.
For the three of you who have not yet accepted the Instant Pot into your life, this overgrown spark plug is the result of hot science, cool engineering, and lukewarm acceptance by yours truly… at least at first. Growing up, my family was very rarely a pressure-cooker family: too many stories of beef stew decorating the ceiling in a messy, but pretty splatter pattern mostly scared us into the comfortable camp of the crock-pot. So much of my childhood was nourished in Mom’s ugly, brown, 1970s style version that, when it finally gave up the ghost in the 1990s and ruined an entire batch of chili, my brother and sister sang it to the appliance afterlife with an on-the-spot memorial service
Yes, really. That actually happened.
So you can imagine my skepticism when the wife brought this Instant Pot home as a Christmas present. This squat, bedazzled fire hydrant was supposed to replace my beloved slow cooker? And it boasts that it not only slow cooks, but pressure cooks, steams, sears, and can also make both rice and yogurt? I’ve seen far too many gadgets in my day promise to do many things well and only end up doing very little and very badly, so I was prepared to sneer at this chromed-up pretender.
But then, to my tremendous surprise, it worked. It worked well.
Rice in four minutes. Dry beans to soup in 45. Meatballs, sauce and rice altogether at the push of a button. It even warns you if something’s wrong, so no more ceiling stew. It was just too good to be true, but I’m here to tell you that it walks the walk. So much so that, dare I say it, I’m starting to feel a little replaced by the thing.
I’ve started trying bizarre things to trip up this kitchen marvel: I’ve made cheeseburgers in it. Cakes. Ice cream. I threw my laundry in it once, and it came out pressed. It composed a symphony. I taught it Welsh and all 50 states along with their capitals. It tied my daughter’s shoelaces yesterday, and she was wearing velcro. The very fabric of space, time, and reality has started to bend around the Instant Pot, and I swear I hear a sinister cackle every time the readout reads “BURN.” Sometimes, there’s not even anything in the pot. Sometimes, I think it’s threatening me. That, or it’s just insulting me in Welsh again.
So that’s a big endorsement of the Instant Pot from me, and I’m not just saying that because it gained access to my bank account yesterday. I’d sing its praises even if it didn’t have every awkward conversation I had in high school somehow recorded into high-quality MP3s. For the amount of amazing things it can do, it’s definitely worth waking up in the middle of the night to read it the opinion column of the Washington Post. No buyer’s remorse here: if you only buy one kitchen appliance that can make rice porridge and crash the Japanese stock market, make sure it’s the Instant Pot.