A Tiny Cookbook Trick That Instant Pot Lovers Swear By

updated Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Nora Kohnfelder

The Instant Pot Community group on Facebook often brims with brilliant ideas — usually creative recipes or innovative ways to use the cherished appliance. But this week, Nora Kohnfelder, a member of the group, shared a trick slightly tangential to the actual appliance — and learned that the idea is far more common than anyone knew.

The photo shows a stack of four cookbooks: three copies of Step-by-Step Instant Pot by Jeffrey Eisner and one of Instant Pot Miracle 6 Ingredients or Less by Ivy Manning, all of which are standard perfect-bound paperback books. As many cooks know, that perfect bind can make it hard to keep the book open to a specific page while following the recipe without an additional tool or stand. So, explains Kohnfelder, you can bring them into a Staples store and for less than $5, the office supply shop can convert it to a spiral binding, making it easy to flip to a page and leave it there. “It’s so simple,” Kohnfelder tells Kitchn.

The fascinating part of the story comes when the poster asked the store if people brought in that specific book — Step-by-Step Instant Pot by Jeffrey Eisner — for binding much. “All the time,” the employee said. In fact, it’s the only spiral binding request that they get. 

Responses in the community (nearly 700 within a day!) split into two categories: those who hadn’t even thought of this option, but are now planning to run out and give it a try, and those who already did this and agreed it was brilliant. From the latter category, people offered additional suggestions, like getting a plastic cover to protect from splatters, and asking them to save the original spine to reattach to the spiral so that you can still find it easily on a bookshelf.

Some people pointed out that the publisher does offer the book spiral-bound themselves, but it costs significantly more than the perfect-bound, and 50% more than even the perfect-bound plus the cost for aftermarket spiral-binding. The author himself even chimes in on the thread, saying, “I love this so much,” and joked that he wants to invest in Staples stock now.