I had resisted it. I wasn’t going to do it. It seemed like just another fad that would fade away. But I kept hearing about it, and admittedly it did sound like it could make my life a little easier. So I finally went for it. I got an Instant Pot. And let me just say, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
First, a little backstory.
For those of you who may not have heard of this small kitchen appliance, an Instant Pot is a pressure cooker about the size of a crockpot. I was initially reluctant to get one because my small appliance graveyard (aka the cabinet above my fridge) was getting a bit crowded. The never or rarely used blender, food processor, ice cream maker and fondue pot were taking up most of the space up there.
And why would I need a pressure cooker anyway? I can do just about everything it does either in my Dutch oven or slow cooker. Why add yet another appliance to the mix? Certainly it would suffer the same fates as the trendy bread maker and sandwich maker my mom had purchased in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. That fate? Sitting unused on a shelf for over a decade until they were finally tossed.
I expressed all of these concerns to my friends who were Instant Pot fans, but they swore to me I would actually use this one. Everything is done in one pot so it makes cleanup easy, they said. But the most appealing thing about this contraption, they said, is unlike a slow cooker you could put frozen meat in it and it would be ready in an hour (or much less), unlike the 6-8 hours a slow cooker takes.
Though I love my slow cooker, during the week I rarely have (or make) the time to put something together in the mornings to cook in it. And I will often even forget to grab something out of the freezer to thaw, to just bake in the oven. So on many nights I would find myself scrambling, defrosting, ordering takeout or heading to the grocery store to get dinner even though I had a freezer full of meat.
Sigh. Maybe I did need one.
So I took the plunge. I got one and Googled a few recipes and had great success. It was fast, tasty and easy to clean. It was truly love at first pressure cook!
I was singing its praises to another Instant Pot friend and asking her where was the best place to find more recipes and she directed me to Pinterest and said there were several “really good Facebook groups.”
I happened to be on Facebook later that night so I found the groups. I was a bit surprised to find many were closed groups and I had to answer questions before I was allowed into the “community.” But now, I know why.
Apparently, I have unwittingly joined an appliance cult. These Instant Pot people are absolutely insane.
First of all, they call themselves “potheads.” Seriously.
They talk about these pots like they are people and some even take them on trips. One woman had just given birth — like literally, that very day — and took the time to post a photo of her newborn (to a page full of strangers), and also tell about how she had just thrown something in the Instant Pot before her water broke and she was luckily able to bring the pot to the hospital and feed everyone. “Hey honey, make sure to grab the car seat and the Instant Pot.” This is what a woman who had just brought another person into this world was thinking about, her freaking InstaPot.
Oh! I’m sorry, don’t dare call it InstaPot, it’s two words, Instant Pot. People, especially the self-proclaimed “newbie potheads” (eyeroll), post on the page and erroneously call it an InstaPot. This is a common occurrence for some reason, and this is apparently like fingernails on a chalkboard to the diehard Instant Potters. They get very angry about this and jump all over the newbies. It gets so heated the moderator has to turn off the comments on the post.
So yeah, there are so many things wrong with this. Who gives a flying frozen frankfurter what people call the thing? (The pothead mob does!) Secondly, someone apparently sits around and moderates a page of recipes because it gets so hostile. Yes, I said a Facebook page of RECIPES requires moderation. RECIPES!
I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised at the level of passion. These nuts fight over how long they should cook chicken breasts, and making yogurt and cheesecakes is always a hot topic. Some even decorate their pots with decals (Jack’s head from “This is Us” seems to be the most popular right now) or knit covers for them, usually some sort of animal — owls and penguins and such. Yes, you read that correctly. They make little sweaters for their kitchen appliances. (Or you can buy them on Amazon. Because, of course, you can.)
The current potheads are bad enough but there seems to be a whole subset of folks who are just fantasizing about Instant Pot ownership. There are often posts like this: “I just can’t wait to get one. Should I get the 3, 6 or 8 quart?”
And once they finally do get one, some of them talk about it like they are going to have sex with it.
“Tonight’s my first night to do it. I’m so nervous!”
Um, OK. I want to write, “Well I sure hope you shaved your legs and have on your good panties.”
But that would probably get me kicked out of the cult by the moderator.
You are probably thinking, “Why don’t you just leave the group if you find these sad small appliance aficionados so annoying?” I tried to turn off the notifications at first, but somehow it still monopolizes my feed. And now, I’m hooked. I don’t really care about the recipes on these pages — I just use Google for those. Much like Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey and their primates, I am fascinated by these “potheads” and love observing them in the wild (Facebook).
Hopefully, I won’t end up like Fossey, brutally murdered by one of these freaks who would probably put my severed head in the Instant Pot and then argue with the rest of the cult about how long it needed to be cooked and if it would come out more tender on the “porridge” or “stew” setting.
Oh potheads, with a big head like mine, I would go manual high pressure for 18-20 minutes, with a 10-minute natural release then a quick release (I’m speaking to them in their native tongue now). My cheeks should be fork tender and falling off the bone. But for God’s sake please make sure to remove and wash the silicone ring afterwards so everything else you cook won’t taste like my bitter noggin.
Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared in the March 7, 2018 of Lagniappe.
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