The Instant Pot is the stuff (sub)urban legends are made of.
Everybody you know is raving about theirs, and you can’t help being curious. You read all these positive reviews and the more you see, the higher your flames of Instant Pot desire rise until you realize you must have one. It’s going to revolutionize your life. You’re going to save so much time. You can make a roast in 30 minutes?! Yes please!
You’re going to reclaim your time á la Maxine Waters! No more spending ridiculous amounts of cash on takeout because you forgot to thaw something. No more hemming and hawing about what to have and then realizing you’ve waited too long to make anything besides PB&J. The Instant Pot is going to revolutionize your family dinner experience. You’ll just toss everything in and be done. Maybe you’ll have time for a few extra rounds of Candy Crush – er, extra loads of laundry.
But. No matter how ready you feel, you need to prepare yourself for the six inevitable stages of Instant Pot ownership:
Stage One: Procurement. Whether it’s a gift (not that you dropped major hints that you wanted one or anything) or a purchase you made for yourself, you finally have in your hands the coveted box of life-changing goodness. It says “INSTANT POT,” but it may as well say “GO FORTH AND SIMPLIFY DINNER” because that’s exactly what you’re gonna do. You’re practically giddy with excitement.
Stage Two: Surprise. You rip open the box like a bodybuilder tearing a phone book in half, and hold your new Instant Pot up to the light. It’s beautiful. Once you brush the single emotional tear from your eye, you pick up the User’s Manual and thumb through it until you get to the part where it talks about setup. And … what?? Your brow knits itself into a frown, and you realize that maybe you might’ve glazed over some of the specifics when you read those reviews. You’ve apparently been looking at them through rose-colored goggles and all you recall is how super easy it seemed. But this manual is throwing out some things that make it sound more difficult than “place food, push button.” What’s an anti-block shield? And a sealing ring? And a float valve? And a condensation collector? How can you tell when you need to use slow release vs. quick release? You start to feel overwhelmed.
Stage Three: Intimidation. Feeling a little daunted, you consult the Internet, because some helpful blogger must have put some things into Instant-Pot-virgin’s terms, right? Perhaps a simple beginner recipe will bolster your confidence in this complex contraption. But you soon discover that HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL there are a ton of Instant Pot recipes. Pages and pages and paaaaaages, each describing it a little bit differently. The “easy” recipe you pick out actually uses a method called pot-in-pot, and you don’t know what that is, so you keep thumbing. There are recipes for dinners and then recipes for extra stuff, like yogurt and jam and vanilla and … moonshine?? You bookmark the moonshine recipe, because you’re gonna need it, then keep searching.
Stage Four: Apprehension. You finally find something you think you can manage. You get the food prepared and tuck it gingerly into the Instant Pot, like the mere act of placing it might trigger an explosion. You put on the lid, praying it’s sealed properly, and hesitantly push the buttons. You hope you have the steam valve set to the right position, otherwise it’s pizza delivery and/or imminent disaster. Will you blow up your kitchen? Blast your face off? Only time will tell. When the beep sounds, signaling that your dinner is done, you cringe while you release the steam for the first time, and brace yourself when opening the lid.
Stage Five: Triumph. There it is: your dinner. Piping hot, and beautiful, in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken in the oven. That frozen solid roast is brown and beautiful in under an hour! You do a happy dance. Your kids refuse to eat it of course, because kids, but you don’t care because YOU ARE NOW THE MASTER OF THE INSTANT POT.
Stage Six: Obsession … again. So you’re officially obsessed, but this time it’s with finding and pinning recipes and joining entire Facebook groups devoted to Instant Pot uses. Yep, you’re a Pothead now. You’re going to make everything in it from now on. Everything. Hell, you’ll find a way to make pancakes in this damn thing.
But first … where did you put that moonshine recipe?