I’ve read a few articles or blog posts about people having bad experiences with the IP, or being afraid of the device. I suppose this is natural – the device was a hot item for the holidays and many of those devices wound up in the hands of people who really didn’t want one. Also the media likes to build things up, and then knock them down.
The IP was listed as a do-it-all device, a kitchen miracle. Now people complain that they tried it and the food wasn’t as good as they are used to, or they wound up with a big mess, burning spaghetti or shooting sauce on the ceiling.
First off, it’s not a miracle. It’s a device that applies heat to food, and given enough time, the food will cook. Just like any other cooking device.
Second, read the manual. If the manual is too hard for you to understand, return the IP. I am not trying to demean anyone, but people claim the manual was confusing. OK. Then why use it if you can’t understand the instructions? I didn’t find them to be confusing, but everyone is different. No one is required to use an IP.
Third, use natural release. That means: when the cook time is done press the off button and let the pressure subside on its own. This will take 10-15 minutes. When the valve drops you’ll be able to open the lid. There won’t be any splatter or mess. There is no reason to use quick release, unless you are cooking something that has very tight cook time requirements. But don’t cook anything like that when you are first learning how to use the IP. For stews, soups, ribs, pot roast, beans, just about everything, there is no reason to use quick release. Let the IP cool down and the pressure will release safely all by itself.
Fourth, if you are going to use quick release anyway, despite the above, move the valve slightly. Just enough to let steam release slowly. Protect your hand with a towel because … steam is hot. Don’t throw the valve wide-open at maximum pressure and let it release. Ever. Why would anyone do that??
Fifth, if you’ve burned spaghetti in the IP, you really should return the IP to the store. I don’t know what else to say. Perhaps stay out of the kitchen altogether.
Sixth, the IP can cook lots of things but not everything benefits from being pressure-cooked. Something that takes 10 minutes to cook on the stove won’t be any faster using the pressure cooker. So hard boiled eggs, spaghetti, rice, etc. are going to cook about as long in the IP as they would on the stove. It’s not as if the IP CAN’T cook these things, but what is the point? If you are happy with your current cooking method, you might as well stick with it for quick-cook dishes. Use the IP for things that take a long time – like soup, stews, pulled pork, pot roast, etc.
Seventh, for the woman who was intimidated by all the buttons – Really? I don’t know what is intimidating about a button that says “Rice” or one that says “Poultry”. Just read the manual, it’s all explained. Including the fact that you don’t need to use those buttons. There are cook times listed for every type of food, so you can just use the “Manual” button and set the time to whatever is recommended. It’s easier than using an oven.
Eighth, if you are still nervous just return it. You got along just fine all these years without one. Why bring something in your home that you are afraid of?