I’m Breaking Up with You

The hype was loud. Everyone was talking about the wonders of using an InstaPot. I had to get on the grandstand to see what the discussion was.

This was three years ago, and I can count on one hand, the amount of times I’ve used my InstaPot. Don’t get me wrong. I applaud every person I know who is creating nutrient-dense and and delicious meals for family and friends, but InstaPot, you are not for me.

The first time I used my shiny, new InstaPot, I made water, as the booklet suggested. And, in all honesty, I felt like I was landing a helicopter after the pilot passed out. My palms were sweaty. My heart didn’t race, but something didn’t feel “natural” to me.

Several months passed, and I was feeling guilty about the dust collector in my kitchen’s storage area. Friends were raving about everything they were making, and I was like, “Meh?” I like crunchy, over-baked sweet potatoes. And, I appreciate the color and texture of oven-baked foods.

The reason? I’ve come to understand that I love to regulate a flame, stir ingredients as they simmer, sample, taste, and actually see how foods progress and change during the cooking process. Each time I would open the InstaPot, I felt as though I was opening a NASA capsule–that scientific “click and swoosh” didn’t sound natural to me. It wasn’t a bubble or a boil, and it just sounded too scientific to me.

But, Wait!

I teach plant-based cooking classes in different pockets of my community, and with time (as another component to my lesson plan), I thought, “Why not use the InstaPot in my classes?” It is perfect when I am working with time constraints, but I still miss the stirring of fresh ingredients and the wafting of their aromas. Plus, an element of teaching is diminished, especially when you want to create the tactile experience to cooking.

Yes, I know it is made from stainless steel, and it is super easy to clean, but, it is just one more thing that adds clutter to my very small kitchen. I live in an 80-year old house, and our kitchen is maybe, 100 square feet.

After living in both Brazil and Honduras, believe me, I have been taught by the best, and I can make a mean pot of beans. And, while everyone has told me about roasting potatoes, and making stews and soups, ah, NO, just no.

How We Live

We are fortunate. We can turn on a switch, and electricity runs to propel our lives. We can blow dry our hair, brush our teeth, watch TV, and yes, even make beans.

Not too long ago, I took an electric rice cooker to a mission house in the interior of Honduras. And, while the cook was thrilled with the gift, she joked and said, “This is a great gift, but when the electricity dies, the rice stops cooking.”

I am in the throes of trying to simplify my life, and the InstaPot just seems to add a complex curve to my mission of streamlining. Yes, I know many of you travel with your InstaPot and use it in hotel rooms. But, I am from an era where I can use the hotel’s coffee maker for putting a meal together.

For those of you who post gorgeous photos of the meals you’ve created using an electric pressure-cooker, I am in awe of your creativity. But, for now, I am back to the flame, with a wooden spoon in hand, and a pot holder at my side.

InstaPot, I tried to make it work, but we weren’t meant for one another.

Five Things I Can’t Live Without

  1. A good chef knife and sharpening tool (essential)
  2. Cutting Board
  3. Glass measuring cups
  4. Sturdy, stainless steel stock pot
  5. A good saute pan

I might add two more things, both electric: my ten year old Vitamix and my air-fryer.

That’s It!

Kudos to all that have mastered and appreciate the InstaPot. You all do a great job, but, I am still breaking up and going back to regulating a low-gas flame and hoping I don’t set off the fire alarms.

14 thoughts on “I’m Breaking Up with You

    1. Gee, Caroline, that is quite the compliment, especially coming from you! Thanks for stopping by. I try and post weekly, always something plant-based, about vegetables, plant-based restaurants, etc. Hope to bump into you soon. Best, Char

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  1. Char, this post was fun to read and informative. My instant pot sat in the cupboard until I had a health glitch over the holidays. I was determined to cook an eat healthfully, and the only way to do that was to pull out the Instant Pot, and our friend Jill Nussinow’s cookbook, Vegan Under Pressure for its excellent charts. I used the pot for steel cut oats, veg stock, several kinds of beans, and grains. I did not have to ability to stand and stir, not even with my favorite wooden spoons. Now I am fully recovered and cooking on the stove.

    I can’t wait to read what’s next from you.
    Fran

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Fran. I was able to raise my family without an InstaPot, and we all did well with dinner every night. And, you know that I have deep respect for those who have mastered this marvelous small appliance.

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  3. I can appreciate what you have written here Char but as you know, I love my Instant Pot and as heretical as it might be, I love my stove top pressure cookers even more. It seems that I am one of few people that I know who can pay attention for more than the minute that it takes to set the Instant Pot.
    Pressure cooking for me is a meditation, easy and I can breathe deeply but I have been doing it for 20+ years.

    I get the stirring and all…

    Keep on cooking, teaching and turning out “real” meals.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love my Instant Pot. I had to clean out the fridge the other day to defrost our “frost free fridge” and I used it 3x that day, to cook chickpeas, make fluffy brown basmati rice, and aloo gobi. With my schedule, sometimes it saves me a great deal of time and fuss. Don’t get me wrong. I love to fuss when I have time, but for now my Instant Pot is on the counter.

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  5. MANY of my friends swear by their IP’s. I have never gotten one, because…well, my kitchen is even smaller than yours! My list of necessities in the kitchen are the same as yours, but I would include my cast iron dutch oven…a million years old, i have had it for I don’t even know how long. (and it’s how I first started caramelizing beets…beets, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lots of garlic….cook forever until oh my goodness that’s good)

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    1. Brava to your Dutch oven. I have a 37 year old Le Creuset, but it’s only a four-quart—but, I love how it cooks.

      As for beets, you have been my beet idol for more than 25 years!

      Keep on singing!

      X,
      Char

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    1. Mine is still collecting dust. Sounds like you did a good thing.

      I think I just like the flavors of food that are slowly cooked. I think texture of food is another element.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Char

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  6. Hmmm, now I have a quandary. I was trying to decide if I wanted to buy an instapot or air fryer. I was leaning toward the instapot to make soup.

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    1. Replacing the texture and flavors of fried foods without added oils is hard to do, and the air-fryer does it perfectly. I have had two air-fryers, and now use the small DASH, perfect for smaller kitchens. The insta-pot is good, but I just never really “got into it.” Everything tasted the same to me. I really did miss stirring and tasting, and such. Will I see you at the opening of the new grocery store at 23/Bainbridge on 1/25?

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Char

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