The CrockPot Method

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas.

It only took me about two months to take it out of the box.

Keep in mind–this is a gift I said I wanted at some point in 2018. And my husband remembered that and bought it for me. My friends who had one said it was great for getting food on the table fast on busy days. It seemed like a way to get rid of some of the extra cookware in the kitchen–I wouldn’t need my rice cooker and CrockPot anymore, and maybe I could even ditch the red Dutch oven that I love so much.

My current favorite cooking implement.

So I pinned a ton of Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest. I read the user’s manual and the recipe book a few times. I tried some eggs first, and they were a great success. Imagine–hard-boiled eggs in about ten minutes without your house smelling like the Devil’s toilet! And not only that, but they are SO MUCH EASIER to peel!

But after that…

I started to think that maybe I was doing this Instant Pot thing wrong.

I tried a recipe for jambalaya that tasted awesome, but kept giving me a “burn” notice on the Instant Pot screen. It was kind of cumbersome to make, too–I’d rather saute on the stove top than have to stand on a stool to get the height I need to saute in the Instant Pot. (Keep in mind–I’m not short for a woman. I’m about 5’6″ or 5’7″.)

I also tried my chili recipe, and it was… okay. It didn’t taste bad, exactly. It just wasn’t as robust as when I cook it in a CrockPot. So the next time, I tried the slow cooker function with the Instant Pot, and it was… still just okay. Maybe it has something to do with cooking it in an actual ceramic crock? It just wasn’t as good as the old way.

I’ve tried a few other things–rice, stew, short ribs, and I’m sure there’s other stuff–but I’ve been… underwhelmed.

Potatoes. The Instant Pot does GREAT baked potatoes without heating up the house. So between the potatoes and the hard-boiled eggs, I guess it’s justifying its existence.

Before you start sending me tips and tricks to make all these things work better for me in the Instant Pot, let me tell you why this is all on my mind.

I finished Unquickened.

Well, not finished finished. I finished the first draft. Finally.

And it’s… not really anywhere close to being done.

I have long subscribed to the CrockPot theory of writing. I have long said that sometimes, stuff just needs to sit for a while. Simmer. The flavors need to marry. The meat needs to render a bit. The aroma needs to waft out of the crock and through every vent in my house so that my mouth waters all afternoon in anticipation of supper.

And honestly, that’s not the point of an Instant Pot.

Instant Pots are for… well, instant dinners that don’t taste instant. And don’t get me wrong–the idea of putting frozen meat in a pot and having dinner on the table in less than an hour is hugely appealing for a busy mom.

But is that really the best food?

Instant Pot apologists would tell me yes. They would say that the Instant Pot will give me the same or better results than the CrockPot or the stovetop or my beloved red enamel Dutch oven.

But honestly, that hasn’t been my experience.

So all of this came to mind when I finished the first draft of Unquickened last week.

It’s hardly what I would call an “instant” novel, considering how long it took me to write the blasted thing. But I do feel like it’s at a stage closer to Instant Pot than CrockPot. It’s something that I need to dump into a ceramic pot, set on “low,” and simmer for a while. The meat needs to render. The flavors need to marry.

There’s no writer’s Instant Pot that can do that.

So that’s the status right now–Unquickened is in the CrockPot of my brain.

There’s an image for ya…..

In the meantime, I’m re-reading Ravenmarked, and next, I’ll re-read Bloodbonded. I’m focusing on collecting all the little bits and bobs of information that I need to make sure don’t get lost as I keep moving forward with this series. I don’t want to accidentally change some significant piece of magic or history–or even just someone’s eye color! I’m also going to finish proofreading Bloodbonded when I read it so that I can finally get that dang print version done. Stay tuned for that.

(Also, stay tuned for a post about what it’s like to re-read Ravenmarked, because…. dang.)

As for dinner, I’ll keep playing around with the Instant Pot. I’m sure I’ll find a few things I love to use it for.

But I think my CrockPot, rice cooker, and Dutch oven are still safe from the donation box.

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