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Thanks Mom, But The 3-Qt Instant Pot Ultra Is Not Big Enough

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When my We Know Products editor told me to review kitchen appliances I already own, my first thought was to tell the world about my budget coffee maker. I’m lucky they took the post, but turns out they were more interested in the fact that I own an Instant Pot. (So that is just something you are expected to divulge to potential employers? Noted.)

Anyway, it is true. I joined the masses this past Christmas by adding the Instant Pot to my kitchen. I can’t say I’ve used it as much as my coffee pot Hazel (I haven’t even gotten around to naming my Instant Pot yet. Any suggestions?). I have definitely used it, though, so I can surely write a review!

If you haven’t been living under a rock since Amazon Prime Day 2016, you already know the basics of the Instant Pot. It is a multifunctional kitchen appliances that can act as a pressure cooker, slow cooker and a bunch of other things. You might not know that the Instant Pot comes in three sizes – 3-quart, 6-quart and 8-quart. I generally only cook for myself, so my parents got me the 3-quart model.

There also are various generations of the Instant Pot — including the Max, the Lux, the Duo, the Duo Plus and the Ultra. I have the Ultra. (I want it on the record that I did not ask for the Ultra!) Apparently the Ultra comes with more functions than the early versions, including cake, egg and sterilize. The only one of those I’ve used is egg. You know what? It works great! But I’m going to be honest with you (at risk of being told never to write for We Know Products again), I prefer the hard-boiled eggs at my Saturday brunch spot. They “devil” them (is that a verb?) way better than I do.

As a more positive anecdote (that I assume my editor will move up to earlier in this article), this year I was conscripted to make chili for our not-quite-Super-Bowl-Party (my roommate, her boyfriend and me). Everything I read online beforehand said that you needed a 6 or 8-quart Instant Pot to make chili. Not so! I successfully mixed the chili ingredients my grandmother swears by with those recommended by some woman online for a 6-quart Instant Pot, scaled down as I deemed fit. If you ask me (and my roommate and her boyfriend, I promise), it had a quite delectable result. (The secret? Liberal use of cumin.)

The upshot here is twofold. On one hand, I don’t think the 3-quart Instant Pot Ultra is meant for people like me (sorry Mom!): I don’t cook a lot, and in cases like the chili example, a pressure cooker or Crock-Pot (RIP Jack Pearson) would have done the job. On the other, in cases when I would cook (a real Super Bowl Party, other gatherings), I don’t think I have the adequate size Instant Pot. Unless you cook for yourself (and just yourself) every day, get a 6-quart or 8-quart model.

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What Comes To Mind? Is My Latest Quarantine Pastime

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Earlier this quarantine, I promised to feature suggestions of games to play with the family while stuck in isolation. Last time, I reviewed Trivillennial. Though I promise that will not prove to be the last trivia game in the series, this week I’ll profile a game of a different type. It is called What Comes To Mind?

The well-known game “What Comes To Mind?” most closely resembles is Scattergories. Like Scattergories, the object of the game is to come up with a word or phrase when given a prompt. Unlike Scattergories, instead of aiming to conjure a unique answer, you are rewarded based off how many other players you match. Instead of testing your creativity, “What Comes To Mind?” examines how well you know your competitors. That twist makes things a bit more interesting. Furthermore, eliminates the tension that inevitably arises in Scattergories, when someone lobbies for the acceptability of their undoubtedly unique but hare-brained response.

The one problem I have with What Comes To Mind? is with the format of each question card. Each double-sided card features an image on the front and six questions or statements to be answered on the back. The sixth prompt is always “What comes to mind when you look at the image on the other side of this card?” It is a clever idea, but it fails in implementation. Almost always, everyone just names the contents of the picture: “Ferris wheel,” “butterfly,” “squirrel.” The only possibility for amusement is when a player completely misidentifies a commonplace thing and ends up, for example, writing down “parrot” when the photograph depicts a parakeet.

What Comes To Mind? comes with 75 cards, allowing for many nights of family fun. When our long national nightmare is over and done, it will presumably make for an entertaining party game as well.

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It’s Time To Get An Instant Pot

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At this point, everybody knows about the Instant Pot. After four or five years of it being the most popular product on Amazon Prime Day, plus the proliferation of dedicated social media fan groups and fawning media profiles, the Instant Pot has exceeded its cult status. We Know Products even featured an article about the Instant Pot a year ago. If you don’t own an Instant Pot by now, it is because you made a conscious decision.

However, it may be time to rethink that decision. With still no end in sight to mandated social distancing, we have to come up with ways to make life less mundane. That means trying out new things, especially when it comes to recipes. There’s no doubt you’ve tired by now of making your pre-quarantine staples. The Instant Pot affords you the opportunity to experiment.

The Instant Pot, famously, is seven kitchen appliances in one. It comes with the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker and warmer. To some people, this might seem daunting. With so many options, how is one to know where to start? Now that we are in quarantine, it doesn’t matter as much. You have all the time in the world. If you fail, who cares? Just try another recipe the next day. There certainly is no shortage of Instant Pot recipes available.

The other day, we attempted our first foray into the wide world of Instant Pot by making beef and broccoli. It turned out great! I am already looking forward to the next quarantine creation.

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Lew Investigates: How Much Difference Does A Toaster Make?

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Are expensive toasters worth it? This is the question raised by Lew of Unbox Therapy after coming across the most expensive toaster on Amazon, a near-$400 model made by Mitsubishi (yes, that Mitsubishi — “Wake up and Toast”).

Can anyone justify paying that much for an appliance that, at the end of the day, does nothing more than make your bread a little browner? Lew and Willy Du conduct the ultimate test, comparing the Mitsubishi toaster with the cheapest version they could find, a $15 toaster made by Proctor Silex.

To make their experiment a little more robust, they tried both toasters out on two types of bread: a generic store brand bread as well as an expensive bakery-fresh bread.

Watch the video below to find out the results. Spoiler: The expensive toaster made superior bread. But for those not looking to splurge, you can increase the quality of your breakfast even with a cheap-o toaster just by buying better bread.

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