Home / Gadgets / The latest kitchen gadget inspires dreams, until it gathers dust – The Guardian

The latest kitchen gadget inspires dreams, until it gathers dust – The Guardian

I once heard someone refer to Elizabeth Gilbert, around the time Eat Pray Love became successful, as “the kind of woman who writes about her yeast infections”, and so I hesitate to write this; the kind of woman who writes about her Instant Pot almost certainly falls into a similarly risible category. I am aware, too, that the Instant Pot is to this decade what yogurt makers were to the 70s, SodaStream to the 80s and bread-makers to the 90s; that is, kitchen devices invested with magical, life-altering qualities.

On the other hand: did you hear about my Instant Pot? It makes risotto in five minutes. You can boil an egg it in and it comes out the same – perfect – every time. It is going to make me a better cook and a better person, and I am fully confident that once I have mastered every recipe in the book, I will no longer be me but someone else entirely. It’s a pressure cooker, yes, but it is also a device for circumventing the sloppiness in one’s nature. It’s going make me hang up my clothes every night, get up half an hour earlier every morning, and comb my kids’ hair every day so they don’t look like they have slept in a hedge.

I should say I have been here before. I never bought a Vitamix, but I have form with other blenders. When smoothies were a thing, I bought vast quantities of chopped fruit from Costco and watched it develop a permafrost in my freezer before eventually throwing it out. For a short while, I thought a rice cooker would save me. Even the wok, that humble carrier of dreams, lies gathering dust in my cupboard under the microwave egg-poaching thing and the thing for sterilising bottles.

By the way, did I mention the Instant Pot is also a bottle steriliser? I don’t need this function any more, but just knowing it’s there makes me feel good. And while it is not, apparently, good for making bread or things with cheese, it is good for making cakes. My god I made one on Monday night – baking! On a Monday! – and the fact that neither of my children would eat it is neither here nor there.

I realise, suddenly, that my mother went through this. I haven’t thought about it for 30 years, but she had an ice-cream maker in the 80s. It looked like an upside down astronaut’s helmet and made granular, flavour-neutral ice cream that would be celebrated as artisanal today, but which, in 1985, I judged “funny tasting”, and after one spoonful refused to eat any more.

I feel bad about that now but never mind. We have all been sick this week, and I have been flipping between hallucinatory images of a future in which I Instant Pot my life and one in which my hopes crumble to dust. This morning, I made strawberry oatmeal (so fluffy, so fast) and after it was rejected by both of my children, I sat nursing my aching sinuses and thinking of Olive Schreiner’s phrase: “a striving, a striving, and an ending in nothing.”

It’s the striving that counts, right? That and the lamb biryani I’m making tonight.

Emma Brockes is a Guardian columnist


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