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.
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
- A good chef knife and sharpening tool (essential)
- Cutting Board
- Glass measuring cups
- Sturdy, stainless steel stock pot
- A good saute pan
I might add two more things, both electric: my ten year old Vitamix and my air-fryer.
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.