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?