Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kitchen FOMO

Fear Of Missing Out. The first time I heard my knitter friend Missy use "FOMO" in a conversation, I thought it was something her family had made up. And then within days of hearing it for the first time, FOMO popped up everywhere. TV ads. Websites. Other conversations. FOMO was everywhere. How had I never heard of it?

Well, I fell victim to FOMO this week. Kitchen FOMO. If you keep up even the tiniest bit with cooking and kitchen trends, you've heard about the Instant Pot. It is one of the hottest new kitchen appliances to hit the market since microwave ovens. And like microwave ovens back when they first came out, there is a fair amount of confusion about using them.

I was working as a home economist when microwave ovens first came onto the market for household use. People were curious. The information was limited. So I dug in and did my homework. Daddy-O gave me a microwave (they cost a bundle back then) and it was huge. They were all huge at that point. I tried all sorts of recipes. I baked cakes, cooked whole turkey breasts, made meatloaf in a ring pan. I microwaved naked looking cornbread, steamed vegetables, scrambled eggs in a mug, and on and on. I developed a recipe booklet with the recipes that worked.

Then I offered a class called "Microwave Cooking." Of all the years I worked, this was hands-down the most popular thing I did. There was standing room only the first few times I taught it. Everyone wanted to know what a microwave did and how to use it.

That's about where the Instant Pot is right now. What is it? Do I need one? How do I use it? Those were my own questions. So for the last month, I have done my homework. I have read so much, both pro and con. There are rave "it changed my life" reviews and those that think it's a passing fad. Time will tell. (The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that also can be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, etc.—7 functions according to the ads.)

So this week, in "fear of missing out" on the newest kitchen appliance, I ordered one. It arrived yesterday. I had found a fabulous video that explained the basics of operation. So I followed her lead and last night did the water test. That's just to make sure the pot works and you know how to use the controls. Her video really was a big help.

And this morning, I made hard cooked eggs. The big deal with doing hard cooked eggs in the Instant Pot is that supposedly they are easier to peel that stovetop hard cooked eggs. After my one time doing them, I agree. Easiest eggs to peel ever. (1 cup water. High pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release. Plunge into cool water for a few minutes.) Were they faster? No, but they didn't take longer either. The cooking time was about the same. But once I pushed the button, I didn't have to stand around and watch for the water to boil and then set the timer. I was free to go make the toast.

You don't need a microwave oven OR an Instant Pot in your kitchen to cook. On the other hand, if I only had a microwave or an Instant Pot and a sink, I could keep people fed. But they are primarily conveniences you enjoy and appreciate. It's too early to tell how I'll use the Instant Pot in my own kitchen. And it's too early yet for me to know how often I'll use it. (Note—it is NOT called "Insta" Pot.)

I think it will be like my microwave learning. In the beginning, we found that the microwave oven could do nearly anything but it didn't do everything particularly well. Over the years, people gave up trying to cook everything and the useage has settled down to heating leftovers, melting butter and chocolate, baking potatoes, plus maybe a couple of things that suit your own kitchen. But even with fewer kitchen duties, we don't want to give up our microwaves. (I have made wonderful microwave pickles, btw!)

I think the Instant Pot will settle out over time as folks find out what it is best suited for. I think expectations will adjust as we figure out what the IP does best. Much of the disappointment I read about was with doing things that might be cooked better with some other method. I don't plan to reinvent the wheel here and tell you too much basic stuff. There is so much information out there already. Google will be your friend here. But as I find something that works well, I'll share here.

If you are a total kitchen nerd like me, you'll enjoy reading this article that tells about how the Instant Pot came into being and how they have used social media as a marketing tool instead of regular advertising.


  1. Well, I learned TWO things from you today. I had not heard of FOMO and I have not heard of the Instant Pot. It was interesting to read your evaluation of the new appliance. Thanks for the link and the details you shared about your evaluation. Interesting that is's a pressure cooker and a slow cooker. I'll be curious to read more from you as you use your IP.

    1. I did make a one pot pasta yesterday that was good. It will be a couple of months, I think, before I have a good feel for it. I'll keep you posted.

  2. I am usually at the end of the curve on new kitchen appliances and gadgets. I like my microwave, but haven't tried to really cook with it in decades. My theory on most kitchen things is "Can I live without it?" and generally the answer is yes. My crockpot is sitting idle, as is the juicer. I do use my coffee grinder and blender often. I've even resisted the spiralizer and lived.

    1. You are totally right. Most things beyond a couple of good knives, a skillet and a cookie sheet are just extras. All you really need are basic tools and good skills. In the summer I cook in a postage stamp size kitchen with the minimum equipment. And that works, too. But I am always curious about kitchen gadgets. I even took a graduate level class in "household equipment" way back in the day. I use a slow cooker often. The verdict is still out on the new Instant Pot.


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