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Sure, I can pull out my expensive enamel cast iron pot, throw in meat, vegetables, spices and whatever else I use to make chili, stew, tagine or carnitas, then I can spend a good part of my day hovering over it while it simmers. Or I can dump everything in a pressure cooker a bit before dinner, tap a couple of buttons, and spend my day doing something else besides fussing over the pot, stirring and constantly checking that nothing is burning. The 6-quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 pressure cooker lets me cook a good meal and not spend a good amount of time doing it.
Why it's a great gift: I love cooking, especially soups, stews, sauces -- almost anything I need to prepare and then watch over for part of my day. It can be comforting and calming. ("Long before there were antidepressants, there was stew," Regina Schrambling wrote in The New York Times.)
But especially during the week, I usually have minutes -- not hours -- to make dinner for my family. And a pressure cooker is exactly the kitchen tool I need to accomplish that task. I gather my ingredients, slice up anything that needs slicing, and then toss it in the Instant Pot, where everything cooks quickly, under pressure.
And it's not just for making meals quickly. It's perfect for someone learning how to cook, because it takes a lot of the fuss out of cooking. I gave one to my kid -- who could cook exactly one dish -- when he moved into his first apartment in college, walking him through a few recipes he could make. He not only mastered carnitas, chili, rice and other dishes, but he evangelized the pressure cooker to his roommates so much they were all making meals in it by the end of the year. I've never regretted having this in my kitchen. It's no surprise that the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 tops.
What you'll pay: You'll spend about $79 onI like. You can plunk down more cash to get extra settings or even an air fryer and pressure cooker combo product, but I've never wished mine had more options.
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