We got an Instant Pot for Christmas, since everyone has to have an Instant Pot. What is it? Why, it’s a slow cooker.
I love the concept of the Instant Pot, the slow cooker. From now on, when my wife wants me to fix something, I’ll say, “In an instant!” and then get around to it 10 hours later.
I’m sure the Pot does some things in an Instant, like take up space — the thing’s the diameter of a WW I artillery shell — but for now I’m happy with it. The device has certain salient features:
1. It has Bluetooth. You can monitor it from your phone. I can’t tell you how much this feels like the future: In the old days, you had to get right up to the slow cooker and push buttons. With your fingers. This is the 21st century. We don’t operate things with our crude meat sticks. We use our phones. Now I can stand 6 feet away and control the temperature.
This also means you get a notification that says your phone has lost its connection to the slow cooker, a surreal combination of time and space. It’s like someone in 1943 getting a telegram telling them their radio is no longer talking to the oven.
2. It makes yogurt. Perhaps in an instant, I don’t know. It’s possible it makes yogurt so quickly the clocks in your kitchen go backward.
It’s great that it makes yogurt, because I’m tired of going to the store and seeing the line snake out the door and into the parking lot: “Oh, no, the yogurt line is horrible this month. It comes every fourth Monday, and people start to queue at daybreak. Then they run out and there are fights. We all remember the Dannon Massacre of ’15, when the dairy department stock boys waded into the crowd with clubs to disperse them.”
3. It’s a pressure cooker. This, frankly, makes me nervous, mainly because I don’t know what I’m talking about. I imagine that people who do know their way around a kitchen have conversations like this:
“I’ve never had manta ray this delicious. How was it cooked? With pressure?” Why, yes! Yes, it was. “I thought so. Can I ask how many pounds per square inch?” Well, I sautéed it with balsamic-infused goat nostrils, then 40 psi for three days. “So that’s your secret!”
All of which just makes me wonder: If you cook something at high pressure and everyone eats it too quickly, do they get the bends?
4. It purifies water. I’m just guessing about this part, but if it can make rice, it can kill anything nasty in water. Why, you ask, would you worry about that?
Because of the raw water fad, that’s why. Perhaps you’ve heard that on the West Coast, pointlessly wealthy, credulous immortality-seekers have embraced the idea of raw water. Fresh from the stream the way nature made it: brimming with pathogens.
In an Instagram post, which of course is the preferred medium for scientific discourse these days, the company that is marketing raw water said:
“Water is the universal force that connects all life. Since our planet and bodies are made up primarily of water, this is the medium through which our collective consciousness evolves.”
Not to get too technical here, but our planet is made up primarily of rock. Part of the rock is covered with dirt. Other parts are wet. It’s like saying a golf ball is made up primarily of paint.
As for water being a means by which a collective consciousness evolves, well, a word of advice: If you meet a bear in the woods, don’t shout, “Hey, bro! Come here and give me a hug, you big furry sack of water.” If we had a collective consciousness due to water, everyone would get out of the pool at once when a kid decided to empty his bladder. We’d just know.
More wisdom from the raw water folks: “As we learn once again to honor where we have come from, the Earth will teach us how to move in harmony with its natural rhythms and cycles.”
Which include earthquakes. You don’t want to be someone who watches a fault line open and swallow a town and think, “I thought we were friends.”
And more: “All other bottled, filtered, tap, and even spring waters are sterilized with ozone gas, irradiated with UV light and passed through a submicron filter. ... Blasting water with ozone changes its molecular structure.”
So it becomes H3O? Listen, I’m a big fan of sterilized water. As they say when they have to break the news to tourists in Mexico that they just drank tap water: I hope you’re sitting down for this. I’d rather drink something submicron-filtered than gargle a gallon of Ganges River runoff.
What does this have to do with my Instant Pot? Simple. I will start a business pressure-cooking raw water for the credulous. Pressure is natural, right? Geysers are all about pressure. Soon I will make a million dollars on the internet selling small-batch, fresh-squeezed water.
“Wow!” people will say. “Fresh-squeezed water is amazing. I’m picking up notes of yogurt, rice and turkey chili. What’s your secret?
Well, for starters, not washing out my Instant Pot.