Instant Pot: Putting Pressure on my Cooking Skills

One of the most recommended kitchen appliances people recommended across my allergy support group on Facebook is an Instant Pot. At first glance, I thought it was a high-tech slow cooker. Upon further inspection, I was somewhat right.

An Instant Pot, in my understanding, is a high-tech pressure cooker. They usually go for about $100 and more, depending on the model. It has many modes and many uses and makes most common meals like soups and slow cooker dishes easier to cook. A multi-functional pot, minus the stove essentially. So, when some of the instant pots went on sale during Cyber Monday on Amazon, I bought one. Specifically, I purchased the model that the Facebook group was talking about that same day.

It came in as a giant box while I was at work. I opened it up as soon as I got home and looked at it in its massive glory.

Holy crap was this thing big. I was overwhelmed by the size and all the buttons on it. I suddenly realized I had no idea what to do with the whole thing. I can’t eat most grains, so the rice and porridge stuff was out of the question. I have a slow cooker, so why would I need to use this as one too? In case the other slow cooker was dirty? Maybe. Even the yogurt option was mind-boggling. How does one make yogurt and how would I make the time to create my own?

The Instant Pot is its own appliance that seems to have a learning curve. Like a stove or microwave, it’s going to take me a time to get used to it. Unlike the other two appliances, though, I read through the instruction manual thoroughly. The last thing I want is this thing combusting on me.

Thankfully, all the pieces were there in the box, even if some were harder to find. It took me a good hour to find the condensation catcher before realizing it was in the bag with the rice scooper. And the test run went well.

So far, I have made two bouts of mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot, following the recipe in the booklet that was included. One was with russet potatoes, the other was with golden potatoes. They were hit and miss, depending on the size of the potatoes themselves, but so much better than the way that I made them. Either I didn’t cook them long enough or I couldn’t figure out water portions right when I made mashed potatoes with an ordinary pot. With the Instant Pot, it was an automatic process, and they came out (mostly) softer than any time I made them myself with an ordinary pot.

But using this big piece of technology for bland potatoes is a waste to me. Why would I use this hunk of machinery for something I can make on my own without fancy buttons? That’s like getting a fancy TV for a room that already has a TV in it.

I think, if and when it gets colder here, I will use it to make a complex soup of some kind. Because, in the past, making soups with my own pots and pans were a pain to deal with. Leaving it all up to a device seems much more convenient, which is what stuff like this is supposed to do for the user–make things more convenient.

It is going to be awhile before I will get used to this thing. That much I know.

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