Based on the glowing reviews and recommendations of, like, every friend I have, I asked for—and received—an Instant Pot for Christmas last year. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) After just over four months of owning it, I’d like to invite everyone over for tea, or wine, or water, or hard liquor—whatever, I’m not picky, and ask youall something. Have I done something to offend you? Did I neglect to notice and effusively compliment a new haircut? Did I accidentally offer unsolicited parenting advice? Did I inadvertently one-up you when you were sharing one of your child’s accomplishments? Did I miss my turn to bring snacks? Because if one of these things didn’t happen, then kindly explain to me your motivation for recommending this kitchen gadget from hell.
Oh, Instant Pot, how do I hate you? Let me count the ways.
First, YOU ARE NOT F*CKING INSTANT. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT. Nothing cooks quickly in this thing. Now, I don’t know that anything actually cooks more slowly than it would using any other method, but still. “Instant” is a complete and total LIE. Someone should sue. Not me because all my time is sucked up by non-instant cooking, but someone.
Second, you are not intuitive. I detest things that require manuals and instructions to use. I had to look up directions for some funky button in my new car the other day and was about ready to take that sucker back to the dealer and return it. If I can’t figure it out on my own, it’s too complicated. What makes the Instant Pot in particular even worse, though, is that it has nicely labeled buttons for things, but you can’t actually use them for the things. The rice button? Nope. Only good for one kind of rice, and it’s the kind no one eats; as a matter of fact, the included recipe book has three separate recipes to cook three different varieties of plain rice, none of which use the rice button. And if you can get over the fact that you need a manual to operate your non-Instant Pot, the included manual is completely unhelpful. It is so unhelpful that there is a thriving market of books about how to use your Instant Pot. Instant Pot cookbooks all include, to greater or lesser degrees, instruction sections on how to use the machine in the first place. Perhaps that is because the manual that comes with the Instant Pot is a basic Microsoft Word document created using the program’s default settings. It does not inspire confidence.
Third, ACCESSORIES ARE NOT INCLUDED. If you opened this on Christmas, you would be as disappointed as a kid opening a toy without batteries. Here are some examples. Unless you’re slow cooking in your Instant Pot (in which case, save yourself the money, the slow cooker you have is fine), you’re going to need more than one inner pot—and there are different kinds, too. You know, just like the set of regular pots you have to cook food on your regular non-instant stove, but whatever. Anyway. It’s also suggested that you have special silicone mitts to remove the hot inner pot. Don’t forget the lids: there’s a glass lid for when you’re sautéing and a silicone lid for storing leftovers. And I’m sure you’ve heard of all the amazing things you can make in the Instant Pot, right? Cake and cheesecake? Need a springform pan. Bread? Need a loaf pan. Harboiled eggs? Need an egg rack to keep them from being lopsided. Steamed vegetables? Yeah, they threw in a rack when you bought the pot, but you’re really gonna need a basket. Finally, lesson learned the hard way: you’ll absolutely need extra sealing rings, unless your six-year-old enjoys cumin-flavored apple-cinnamon oatmeal. Mine didn’t, but you do you. So basically, you get this relatively inexpensive gadget and then you have to rebuy your entire kitchen to fit inside its little 6-quart prison. Nice.
Fourth, to quote our friend Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” (I’m dating myself, aren’t I? That’s okay! It’s a 25th anniversary!) Anyway, Instant Pot, there are so many crazy things you can make, it’s like people haven’t stopped to think about whether you should make them. Cough syrup, dog food, hard lotion bars, salves, limoncello, and wine. Yes, WINE. And while you’d think that last one would be cause for celebration everywhere, think about the fact that there are people who dedicate their lives—people whose families have dedicated generations—to the art of winemaking, and decide if you want your wine to come from anything that has the word “Instant” (no matter how much of a lie it is) anywhere near it.
So, yeah. I hate this pot. Coco’s Mamá Imelda has her devil box and I have mine. And if I could smash the Instant Pot with a shoe I would. Unfortunately, the damn thing is wicked good at jasmine rice.