Gift of an Instant Pot Becomes a Tale of Woe


A year and something ago, the dots (aka the daughters) gifted me with the hottest new North American kitchen trend: an electric pressure cooker — in my case, the Canadian-invented Instant Pot.

Right from the moment I pried open the box, I was both ambivalent and apprehensive. There were so many manuals and warnings, it felt like I needed a licence to operate said pot, or at the very least, numerous YouTube tutorials. But so many people were raving about the Instant Pot, it was like the second coming. One of the food gurus at The New York Times “instantly” produced a cookbook, and people were even baking cakes and making yogurt in their Instant Pots.

So, I committed to using the machine and even purchased a glass lid for the slow cooker function. I investigated recipes online and went out and bought ingredients like baby back ribs and flank steak. I bought some really expensive cheese.

I produced one spectacular and expensive disaster after another. It took two full days to chip the no-fail macaroni and cheese out of the liner pot.

At that point, I guess you could have described me as both frustrated and discouraged when I experienced one of those rare “eureka” life moments. Maybe it wasn’t me; perhaps it was the Instant Pot.

Despite the disasters, I wasn’t quite ready to run up the white flag on my present. I tend to have a “come hell or high water personality” and even got an award for it once. I contacted Instant Pot in Ottawa by email and wrote in the subject line, “I really want to love my IP.” In response, tech support really could not have been more accommodating. Lovely Sally P wrote right back with empathy and a mega list of instructions that would exhaust anyone just by reading them.

A couple of weeks after I recovered from Sally’s email, I printed everything out and set to work. Sally wanted photos. Sally wanted a steam test. Sally wanted a video of the steam test. Eventually all of Sally’s demands were met and she got more than she asked for on the video which included a little dual-spousal temper.

I submitted everything online and Sally was pleased and prompt. Based on the steam test it was evident that my Instant Pot was defective and that they would be pleased to replace it after I provided a physical address.

I did so and waited. I waited a whole month before contacting Sally, who was most apologetic that Instant Pot had dropped the ball (pot?). 

Two days later, upon arriving home from somewhere, there was a huge box lurking on the front porch. The following morning Frank whipped out the Exacto, hit the box, and couldn’t believe his eyes. The brand-new carton contained one base and nothing else. Where was the rest of the pot? It was a genuine head scratching moment. Now what?

Once again, I contacted Sally and she explained that their policy was to only replace the defective part. It would have been useful to know that.

The end to this long tale was finally in sight. I connected the new base to the other old parts. The new combo passed the steam test with flying colours, which apparently meant that the sensors were now working the way they should. Sally was happy. I was happy.

Needless to say, my IP Mongolian Beef was a thing of wonder. I can hardly wait to make Thai Chicken Rice Bowl again and Melissa Clark’s Sticky Tamarind Baby Back Ribs (367 five-star ratings).

I have finally seen the light and yes, you can call me a Pothead along with all my fellow acolytes. You might even want your very own Instant Pot.