When I didn't give my parents a wish list for Christmas a couple years back, I ended up with two presents I never knew I needed: a breadmaker and an Instant Pot.
The breadmaker was kind of a bust. I think I've used it three whole times, and each attempt has resulted in a dense, unpleasant, almost-edible loaf of something that could charitably be called "bread-ish" at best.
Bread isn't easy. I know this because I've watched every single episode of the Great British Baking Show. I've seen some of Europe's best bakers absolutely botch a loaf of bread. One time a guy mistook salt for sugar. I haven't even done that, and I once started a kitchen fire trying to make a hot dog. If pro chefs can screw up bread, I don't feel so bad when I mess it up. Maybe one day I'll again be inspired to carefully measure ingredients and put them into an angry box that vomits out a tasteless rectangle of flour. For now, though, I'm focused on the other gift.
After lockdown, I'm now convinced it's the only appliance worth owning. Well, that and a dishwasher. And a clothes washer. And a vacuum. I'm not a heathen.
But for the past year, my oven has once again returned to its natural dormant state of hibernation. Every meal I've made has been in that magical pressure cooker, and I'm nowhere near satiated yet. At first, I thought, "Cool, a faster way to make chili and pot roasts. Sign me up." Then I discovered one of the most magical channels on all of Youtube: Pressure Luck Cooking. I divorced my oven soon after.
Pressure Luck is the brainchild of Jeffrey Eisner, an amateur home chef and self-proclaimed "nice Jewish boy from New York." Eisner was an early proponent of the Instant Pot, and when a video of his pressure-cooked mac & cheese went viral, he quit his day job and launched his Youtube channel. Since then, he's released two best-selling cookbooks and is a frequent guest of the Food Network, Good Morning America, and the fateful day I happened to catch him on the Rachael Ray Show.
On a whim, that next weekend I attempted to replicate the recipe he featured that day on TV. It didn't come out good. It came out GREAT. Like, the kind of great that I'd pay good money to eat in a restaurant. Except that I made it. Well, I guess technically the Instant Pot made it. But I put all the stuff INTO the Instant Pot and hit the "start" button, so that counts, right?
Does it officially mean I'm getting old when the day I look forward to the most is Sunday, because it's become my official Instant Pot Day? Every week, I keep trying different recipes from Pressure Luck and other Youtube channels, and I've yet to find a loser in the bunch. A couple weeks ago, Eisner was doing an online Q&A and I asked a question. I didn't get a response from him, but I DID get private messaged from another Instant Pot user who runs an invite-only group for Mexican Instant Pot recipes. Someone else invited me into a forum for people to share their Instant Pot secrets.