With all the recent articles about marijuana being legalized, when I heard “Instant Pot,” I thought it was some new drone-delivered pot of some sort. It sounded like a cutesy name for a budding industry, perhaps an attempt to weed out the more inefficient marijuana marketers.
As a non-marijuana user (I probably need to point that out given the first paragraph), I was a little confused when my wife first suggested we get an Instant Pot. Leery though I was about the idea—Pennsylvania isn’t a recreational state, in every sense of the word—I learned a long time ago that the best way to deal with awkward conversations is to just agree with the other person and never grow a backbone.
The more astute readers will have already noted that the Instant Pot is the new rival of the slow cooker, the rabbit to the tortoise, the jet engine to the train, the literally every place in the world to the DMV. I know the rabbit lost to the tortoise, but that was only because the rabbit was an idiot. A real rabbit would have won the race, done a victory lap, and stolen the tortoise’s shell before the lumbering oaf got one foot past the starting line.
I’ll admit I was sorry to see our slow cooker get so easily brushed aside like an outdated cell phone. There’s a certain honesty in this fast-paced world of a product that openly states that it’s slow. And then comes the Instant Pot, which isn’t just fast, it’s “Instant.” It was a lot like passing the Olympic torch, except it would also be like throwing the previous torch holder in the garbage.
But as with all things, I had to read the fine print. It turns out that the makers of the Instant Pot have a very broad definition of “Instant.” When I think of something as instant, it tends to be just that. For example, when I instantly hit my head on the bizarre overhang in our kitchen, I instantly feel pain and instantly want to dynamite the overhang.
With the Instant Pot, we have to wait several minutes, sometimes an hour before food is ready. But then again, if your competitor is the tortoise of food preparation, pretty much anything is instant by comparison.
Unlike slow cookers, Instant Pots are extremely nuanced devices that require expert calibration and care. This has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a pressure cooker, and if you take the lid off of a pressure cooker while it’s pressure cooking away, you’ll find yourself on the local news below the headline: “Idiot annihilates kitchen via a chicken soup bomb.”
Because of that possibility, I’ve decided that I’m never going to touch the Instant Pot, except to move it so I can do something rugged like season steak with granite shavings.
Once we had the Instant Pot, my wife would excitedly come up to me at random parts of the day to announce about yet another thing we (she) could cook in it. This ranged from cheesecake, to ribs, to macaroni and cheese. She did not include, however, filet mignon and wine.
Apparently there’s a website/discussion board/thing on the internet where Instant Pot owners share their recipes, much in the same fashion that people who like heavy metal go on forums and argue about what obscure subgenre a band is really a part of. In any event, someone honestly suggested cooking filet mignon in an Instant Pot. This would be akin to someone suggesting we let Ted Bundy cater a wedding.
Everyone knows that filet mignon is the best food ever and can only be cooked on an extremely manly grill. If it is cooked anywhere else, the world loses one year of its life, and 80 species go extinct. Basically, eating filet mignon helps save the world. The person who suggested this abomination was rightly flamed for it, and the world was able to continue without further incident.
The person who suggested making wine in the Instant Pot proved to be more a problem. When I think of wine, I think of grapes comfortably fermenting in exquisite, vintage barrels over the course of several years, with the sole goal of making my taste buds happy and my brain more susceptible to stupid suggestions. When I drink a glass of wine, I can literally taste history, and it’s wonderful. If I were to drink wine made from an Instant Pot, I would, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, renounce my citizenship and move to Bolivia.
Fortunately, my wife assured me that she has no interest in making either of those things in the Instant Pot. I’m all in favor of technology, but at some point these people may have indulged in their own “Instant Pot” before they came up with those ideas.
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