This morning, after getting my two girls to their places (bus stop and daycare), I browned and seasoned three pounds of taco meat and delivered it to the school, just in time for the 17th Teacher Appreciation Lunch of the year. I asked myself, the entire time I was not cooking and then, finally, cooking that meat, why I didn’t just sign up for something I could buy at the store. Like I usually do.
I remembered, then, the day I opened the email asking for volunteers. I’m not sure how much iced tea I’d had to drink at that moment, but I do vaguely recall thinking to myself that I could do more this time. I believe my rationale was along the lines of, “Since you refuse to participate in the PTO and you accidentally-on-purpose did not sign up to be a room mom, you should cook something. Then it will look like you are a good, concerned parent. Besides, it’s not that hard to make taco meat.”
And I was right. It’s not. But it is a pain and an inconvenience in the middle of my workday. But since I do actually appreciate my daughter’s teachers very much, I did it anyway.
Once I stopped grumbling I thought about the decision process that had gotten me to that place (cooking food I would not be giving my family at 10:00 in the morning). All that reminded me of the Instant Pot I bought on Black Friday.
As I decompressed after our third holiday dinner that fateful night, I did what every person ever does to relax these days: I scrolled through Facebook. I don’t mind looking at pictures of food covered in gravy, but I was mostly keeping an eye out for funny family photos and deals so good I couldn’t walk away.
See, I don’t do the Black Friday shopping thing. Mainly because I never seem to stick to my budget that has me financially prepared to drop major dough so early in the holiday season. But also because crowds and early mornings are two of my least favorite things, so it doesn’t seem wise to combine them. Online shopping, though, is a combination of the best parts of life (sitting on the couch, wearing stretchy pants, brushing my teeth — or not — when I feel like it, taking my time to compare all the prices in every store).
So I was on Facebook, in case my friends had found deals I’d missed. And there it was, EVERYWHERE: major fangirling over this appliance called, “an Instant Pot.”
It was on sale! It was the best! It has saved her life! It cooks an entire chicken in 30 seconds! She’s never seen the price this low! If you don’t buy this, you probably don’t even love your family!
Guys, I am barely even exaggerating. If you are Facebook friends with middle-class suburban moms, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. People go INSANE over the Instant Pot.
But whatever. I am a proud late adopter of pretty much all the cool things in the world, so clearly I don’t have one of these contraptions. But since it’s on sale…and I’m really sure that 2017 is going to be my year to get my homemaking crap together…mayyyyyybeeee this is something I should consider…?
I clicked. And as it turns out, that ah-maze-ing price had gone back up. But because my interest was piqued, I clicked again and found it on sale somewhere else. As I sat there staring at the shiny cylinder of dinner-making magic, I wondered if I would really use it. I decided I needed some more input.
So I texted a friend who had one (but also is less than a fan of making dinner for her people every night of her life, forever and ever, amen). I asked her if it was worth it, and she said yes. She said yes, and she would not lie to me. (She also is my friend who wears her babies and makes kombucha, though, but I forgot those considerations in the flurry of Friday night sales fever.)
I didn’t want to rely solely on one person’s testimony, but let’s be honest: I didn’t have to. Obviously I could think of half a dozen other friends off the top of my head who have professed their devotion to their Instant Pot. So just to make sure, I turned to Pinterest. Was this thing only for fancy cooks? People who eat quinoa? Or seafood?
Nope, Pinterest promised that the Instant Pot was for EVERYBODY, and then it provided proof with 783+ recipes. And since we know the internet, especially the Pinterest corner, doesn’t lie…
I bought an Instant Pot.
It felt good, clicking and nodding and making that choice. Yeah! I thought to myself. This is the beginning of a beautiful thing. Dinners cooked every night! AT MY HOUSE! By me! We’re gonna make it after all!
That crazy train stayed parked for about 24 hours. For nearly an entire day I was confident in my decision. I was hopeful for a new season of healthy meals, prepared with little to no effort for my beloved family.
And then? THEN I WOKE UP. Then I remembered that, HELLO, this pressure cooker might boil a dozen eggs in 12 seconds, but it was not going to turn me into a different person.
Having a new appliance in my kitchen was not going to transform me into someone who follows through on her declarations to meal plan and chop veggies once a week and try new recipes because it’s Tuesday. It wasn’t going to make me (or my picky family) love healthy food anymore than my blender made me like my own smoothies better than the expensive-for-a-reason ones from Smoothie King.
It didn’t matter how many blog posts I’d read in my Instant Pot research binge where the author confessed to buying an Instant Pot on a whim (read: last year’s Black Friday sale and coinciding Facebook peer pressure), left it in the box for nine months, and then finally opened it ONLY TO FIND OUT THE DARNED THING WAS TRULY MAGICAL, WORTH EVERY PENNY, AND LIVED UP TO THE CLAIMS HER FRIENDS HAD MADE ALL YEAR.
I thought that could be me. For a minute. But then I remembered that’s not me. I don’t need to boil many eggs at once. I don’t want to pull chicken meat off tiny chicken bones. I wouldn’t know what to do with jars of bone broth. And I’m not making my own yogurt, ever.
This morning I wished I was the mom who planned a whole day of freezer cooking around her volunteer duties for her daughter’s school (I’ve done one batch, so what’s 10 more pounds of meat? Let’s brown it all up!). But I’m not. As a matter of fact, I’d already used up my cooking motivation for that taco meat and started tonight’s dinner so late that we ended up eating at Arby’s instead. I want to be a meal planning, freezer cooking, Instant Pot kind of lady, but friends, I am not.
And I’m okay with that.
So when my Instant Pot was delivered to my porch a few days later, I picked up that box and took it directly to my car. Of course, because I am still the same person I just described mere seconds ago, it sat in my car for a couple weeks. But I did eventually take it right back to the store. And when the cashier asked if there was anything wrong with it, I said, “Yes. It didn’t turn me into someone who uses an Instant Pot.”
I don’t actually need an Instant Pot, although I would not turn down a Rosie Robot. How about you? Has any appliance changed your life lately? Or…maybe not? Tell me…
What “life-saving” or “miraculous” product do you [happily] live without?
Taco photo by jeffreyw. Instant Pot photo by Nourished Homestead. Eggs and oatmeal photos by rpavich.
Love this!! I especially love that you know who you are!
It takes me a while sometimes, but I’m getting a little quicker to remember who I am – and who I’m not!
Thank you so much Mary! Your transparency encourages me that I’m not the only one!
You are definitely not alone and not the only one, Melissa!
You could’ve browned that meat in it though and done something else while it was browning! Just sayin’!
I’m not saying you’re lying. I just don’t believe you. ;) (But seriously, I am just too lazy for this contraption. I mean…all those buttons?!?)
This made me laugh out loud and agree 100%
AMEN! I didn’t even know quite what an Instapot was til I read this, but I sure knew I didn’t need another miraculous invention collecting dust in a high kitchen cupboard. Bless you!
Right? I have more than enough things collecting dust around here! ;)
I have a yogurt maker that I have used twice. And once I forgot to put yogurt starter in it and just made sour milk. So I guess that’s mine. Also any cleaning products that are supposed to make me want to clean.
Oh, don’t even get me started on cleaning products!!
:) I’m late to the party too, because I’d never even heard of an instant pot until last week. Turns out, I’m the last to know. :) I’ve been wanting a pressure cooker though, so perhaps if I get one, it’ll get to live with us. We shall see. I’ll probably need to find one of those Ah-maze-ing deals first, though. :) Fun post, Mary. Thanks for sharing. :)
Well, definitely wait for the deal. I think the one I bought and returned was less than $60 – and they’re regularly at least $100. You’ll have to let me know if you get one – and use it! ;)
Okay, this is sort of the opposite of the point of your post, but one appliance you DO need is a Roomba. It is perfect for us normal people who can’t be bothered to cook or clean. IT CLEANS FOR YOU. I am in love with mine. I haven’t touched a vacuum in three years. Get yourself one ASAP.
And my cats can ride on it, right? That’s what the internet has told me…
I loved this post so much! I do make my own yogurt, I do make large batches of hard boiled eggs, but I do NOT own an insta-pot and I have not been tempted to even check the sales and reviews.
“It didn’t turn me into someone who uses an Instant Pot.” — Hooray for you! About time someone spoke the truth out loud :)
Now, when Rosie the Robot is available? sign me up!
oh i love it, mary! i have heard all sorts of things about how amazing instant pots are and although it is tempting to see what everyone is raving about… i just didn’t know how much we would use it. i loved hearing your take on it!
I love your honesty is refreshing! Thank you for making me laugh!
Tried an instant pot ( a friend’s) not impressed but I LOVE my crockpot. I don’t like to babysit my food. Fix it and forget it all the way!
Love love love this post although I’m not sure what some folks are saying about the Instant Pot.
After 25 plus years of mainly staying home I began a full time job. My husband became semi-retired and had cooked very little. He now cooks every day and the Instant Pot is his best friend because he DOESN’T have to plan ahead. He can grab meat out of the freezer and set it up to do whatever he wants with it. I am obsessed with my dutch ovens but he doesn’t want to stand over them. I was sick this week and threw everything in to make soup. It certainly doesn’t have the answer to life’s questions.
I really do appreciate your independence. I may have been the 1st person on the block to ditch my bread maker. Does anyone still use those?
Yep – different things work for different people! I don’t have a bread maker, although I have wanted one off and on over the years. I just remember that when my mom got one decades ago, it broke the very first time she used it because it vibrated so much it ended up falling off the counter!
I actually started using my Kitchenaid for bread because none of us enjoyed the bread maker texture. Ow we don’t eat bread at all which is a whole ‘nuther blog post!
I think it’s great that you know yourself so well, and that you could accept you just aren’t an Instant Pot kind of girl. However, you asked, so I will tell you. I love my Instant Pot. And it HAS changed my life! ;)
Yay! I’m glad it’s working for you! That is the beauty of life – what works for me doesn’t have to work for you, and vice versa. I love that Instant Pot is a hit for some people!!
It always amazes me how our thought process sometimes takes actually putting action to it. Only to find what our action produced was not what we needed. But sometimes there is no way to know that till the end of the process. I had to chuckle as I read the details of your post…chuckle because my husband and I did exactly the same thing with a microwave and toaster…thought we needed a more expensive one but after setting it up, we were not impressed, so he took them both back and got the simpler ones..perfect for us.
“Perfect for you” – and that’s just it. What works for me won’t work for you and vice versa. It’s figuring out our own needs and strengths and going with it!!