Instant gratification

We may be late to the party, but we have finally joined the Instant Pot club.

I know that plenty of folks are waaaay ahead of us on this front. But we were … busy … or something.

For those of you non familiar with Instant Pot, it’s a brand of pressure cooker. There may be others, but that’s the only one I can tell you off the top of my head. Also, I used to think it was called Insta Pot, but I guess I was shortening it because that’s what we cool kids do.

My wife was very excited about the Instant Pot, as she is one of these people who loves to prep meals in advance and also loves a good soup. The Instant Pot, she told me, would be a game changer on both fronts.

Now I do my fair share of cooking, and I feel like I know my way around a kitchen pretty well. So you can imagine my bewilderment when I unboxed the Instant Pot and had the realization that, hey, I have no idea how to use this thing.

Now, lest you think I’m that old cliche of men not reading directions, I’m not. I’m very good at following directions, in particular when installing things or assembling stuff. But when it comes to directions on operating things, I will admit to getting enough information to get rolling, and maybe not following all the way through. Fortunately, my wife is.

She took the time to read the directions, and then patiently explained to me how things worked. (Her time as a pre-K teacher really paid off.) Soon, we had the ingredients for our first meal – a chicken pot pie soup ( – in the cooker.

“So we push the button and it’s ready in an instant?”

My wife sighed. OK, so maybe listening isn’t always my strongest trait. Turns out, the Instant in Instant Pot does not refer to a magical space age zap button that Instantly makes dinner. “I mean, it says Instant right there in the name.”

She ignored me, pushed a few buttons, and I saw a timer start. I noted that 30 minutes is NOT instant.

When the soup was ready, I have to say, even if it was instant, it was one of the best soups I have ever had. I even had second, which I very rarely do at dinner.

We have now used the Instant Pot about a half dozen times, and each time it was a home run. (Just last night we had a chicken soup ( that was delish.) Last night’s soup was a prime example of hour you can do the prep work ahead of time and just dump it all in together when you’re ready. We added the chicken straight up frozen, and it came out perfect. So I guess maybe the Instant refers to that. If you do enough legwork, “You can get dinner started in an Instant.” (Instant Pot, please message me for PayPal information for this amazing slogan. You’re welcome, and I don’t even need to Google this to know that no one else could have possibly come up with the same thing.)

My wife and I have enjoyed finding various recipes and bookmarking them to try later. And I am finding that it’s one of the rare times I don’t hate having a giant essay before the recipe, as it helps me learn the Instant Pot process. (Pro tip – Google Chrome’s recipe filter sniffs out those essays and brings the recipe to the top. Good changer.)

Most likely, we will look at finding some Sundays to prep a few meals and store them so they can wait until they are called into duty. We will get dinner started in an Instant. Or an Insta, as the cool kids say.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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