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Excellent report Cyrus.

Are the results, the topics discussed, what you expected, more or less? Where you thinking of the info - like in the forefront of your mind - that Susanne provided?

I have no doubt about the realness of these readings. Just wondering if there is a possibility that some of it came from you, a la psi, versus an outside entity.

Was there any info that you were unaware of completely that you were able to verify only after the reading?

Thanks!

Wow! That is an incredible account. Whether it is genuine afterlife communication, or psi, either explanation still completely negates materialist explanations.

The only recourse left for the skeptic is the favourite option of last resort: you are lying and/or delusional.

I don't believe you are lying or delusional.

As for whether this is true evidence of the afterlife, or evidence of psi, I don't know whether we can ever prove or disprove this to anyone's satisfaction. It's one of those eternal debates.


Fascinating account, Cyrus. It's always a treat to read accounts like these, and to see the little touches that make it seem authentic (your mom saying how creepy a hug by her would be).

What really fascinates me, though, are the mention of fairies and spirits that were once deities in ancient times. Almost all NDE's confirm the existence of God and angels, but ones mentioning other types of spirit beings are quite rare and makes me wonder how those spirits fit into the larger picture, to speak.

In any case, thank you for sharing your experience. It was a delight to read.

I have to say, while very open to mediumship in general (and doing some current work and research into this arena as well) I'm a bit less impressed with what I've seen of Susanne Wilson prior to this thread - which may color my comments and thoughts a bit - but I'm also not sure what to make of the above experience as well.

I watched a video of Susanne discussing reincarnation earlier today via Victor Zammit's most recent newsletter - and her description of the afterlife is so incredibly pollyana that it feels flat and foolish (she talks about a "lack of activities" or boredom being a driver for an urge to "evolve" through reincarnation - and it feels like she embodies what Mark Twain lamented in a humous way about while critiquing conceptions of a "religious afterlife" long ago - why do we believe that "heaven" would have to sound so similar to what a bad day on earth would be? (with all the same angsts and anxieties and seeking and striving for stuff to do with our "time" - which also feels like it fails to grok what another realm or reality would feel like experientially- as a "soul")

I also don't think Cyrus's concluding thoughts above - ideas about aura's that seem to be statements of fact, egyptian archetypes and ancestral entities not having been human forms, etc - I simply don't think this level of skepticism is real skepticism when it comes to preparing to "test" a medium (as the intro seemed to suggest) - it's more confirmatory in nature. and of course - there is also, in this case (being a published author in a small circle of spiritual seekers) the book and public record - the facebook groups, and so forth, if there is any trail at all that can be traced back to Cyrus on a personal level - I think the reading is suspect on that basis alone - immediately - ESPECIALLY if the information that comes through is exceedingly impressive, which in the above account, I'm not sure I think it is at all. (there are some impressive elements for sure - but I don't think there is anything "irrefutable" (which feels like is the tone of much of latter part of the first person account of it) - I think there are some obvious areas that are encouraging and impressive - and I'd be interested in exploring more. But having watched hundreds of mediums work, and having seen Susanne speak now a few times about her theory of the afterlife (which strikes me as very intellectually light weight compared to others) - i'm not as impressed as others appear to be above - and in general, I'm not sure I could reconcile the philosophical treatment she has offered about the world that awaits us, with a legimate notion of what consciousness may be, identity wise - outside of the brain, and body. (which I do believe is most likely the case)

I don't know what Susanne's philosophical positions are. If it's that light weight, or she'd suggest reincarnation occurs because of "boredom" then I'd certainly disagree and call that nonsense. As for the reading being irrefutable -- it was irrefutable to me, but it doesn't have to be irrefutable to you.

Great post, Cyrus, thank you!

I would agree that, barring an outright fabrication, she knew things that she couldn't possibly have known, and this is another proof of psi among infinite others.

I think js has some points too. The stuff about Egyptian deities... that sounds like ad hoc myth-making to me. And I think one issue is that the Afterlife and the realm of myth are not separate--at least not in *our* experience of them. Ultimately, it is hard to know what is "real," and beyond that, there is the fear (not only my own, I think) that the Afterlife might be a big slush of real and unreal, and that could be quite scary indeed.

To answer js's post in a general way, being good at mediumship (that is, the skills specific to that role) doesn't make one a good thinker or advisor. I have heard of mediums getting big hits and thinking they are thereby omniscient and qualified to tell the sitter exactly what to do with his or her life. Mediums and psychics get flooded with data, and it is difficult to process it all with discernment, even if one is smart. And most people aren't.

Boy, people do like to leave their brains behind when they go to heaven.

That is not Auntie Eva smiling at you in a green field, making pleasantries. It is a database simulacrum, placed there by the Larger Consciousness System to ease your transition. This is fluffy bunny time because you're afraid of the unknown.

Try to ignore the haze of love surrounding you, and you will recall that your Auntie Eva never really liked you much, and you didn't like her.

No, Auntie Eva does not need to be recalled from the Sixth Sphere or her next reincarnation in the Myanmar Jungle to see her snotty nosed, petrolhead nephew, who has just run out of gas. She does not need to stand there in a flowery bower, holding hands with Uncle Adolf who she couldn't wait to get away from because he mistreated her terribly in life (remember?).

What we see on transition and what mediums interpret are mental records held in the Akashic. The fake figures we see and hear from have no freewill, they're mere puppets with limited responses. If you take them too far out of their comfort zone, they look puzzled, because things don't compute.

All this was investigated by OBE specialist and researcher Tom Campbell. So be skeptical.

I have never heard of Susanne Wilson, but I am a past member of the SPR and ASPR and am not exactly uninformed about the topic of mediumship. One look at Susanne's website sent up red flags of the sort that would have me running in the opposite direction before parting with my $400 for a 50-minute session. Cyrus is clearly a True Believer to the nth degree. Put together a "celebrity medium" with a True Believer, and the result is somewhat predictable. If anything whatsoever of a paranormal nature occurs in a sitting with a published True Believer like Cyrus, certainly telepathy seems a far more likely explanation. I find reports of sittings with mediums (I've had two, both uneventful) to be somewhat like NDE accounts - the more elaborate and content-laden they are (teams of faeries - really?), the less likely they are to be of any real value.

Barbara,

You've expressed here before a negative, fear-based view of the Afterlife, which I cannot hand-wave away. But I would ask this question: If negative forces are in control, why do they make things negative only to the degree they are?

Lance Payette wrote,

||Cyrus is clearly a True Believer to the nth degree.||

Not in my experience on this blog, and that wasn't a takeaway for me from his post, either.

Hi Matt - I think the end of your comment above captured really, really nicely my own intuitions about most of the folks who do this work - most (sadly) are really not that smart - and I guess, I find that somewhat surprising, as I tend to idealize spiritual "truth" with intelligence - and it just isn't so. (although, one could certainly argue that there are many WISE people in the spiritual teaching space who may not be all that "smart" in a more conventional way, which is another interesting thing to explore from my perspective.)

With this in mind, I listened to Sussane Gieselman (sp) being interviewed by Alex Tskaris a few weeks ago on Skeptiko - and found she was really really resistant (and pushed back to the point of quasi confrontation) on applying any science-y theories or extrapolations on the nature of her work. (sticking to the "I don't go there - I just do what I do without theorizing)

It struck me as notable - simply because I heard her do a very different type of interview about a year ago or so (with Rick Archer of Buddha at the Gas Pump) where he asked very consciousness oriented questions - big picture things from the perspective of a "true" seeker in the wisdom traditions model - and there were very cringe worthy moments that many noted later.

I work with many authors in the psychic and spiritual teaching space -some fairly well known - and I've had so many funny, comedic and outright eye rolling moments in conversation with some of these folks, that I'm no longer surprised at some of what is "claimed" as 100% fact - often (and annoyingly so) to the head nodding of many hundreds of thousands of credulous fans.

(I had a pretty well known "channeler" send us a super angry email a few weeks ago - because we published a digital book for one of her competitors - who she angrily derided as "fake" and "new age" - when her own work is "channeling" beings from some unknown galaxy and downloading very pedestrian wisdom from the very in vogue "ascended masters", etc.

There are some mediums who I've seen (either in person, in groups, or online) who I DO think are doing something extraordinary - but they are the exception, rather than the rule. (Gordon Smith is one - there is a young woman in Los Angeles named "Fleur" who is quite remarkable and very hard to reduce to the typical skeptical tropes, etc - but unfortunately, far too many fall into the worst stereotypes of bad science and often bad behavior, behind the scenes.

(I don't also believe that psychics get "flooeded" with information any more than the rest of us do - but I do take your point - and do agree that discernment - and a comitment to curiosity rather than dogma - staying with the open question and being truly interested in where it take you - is a critical piece of the puzzle for all of us - regardless of where we begin.

The thing about, say, the Egyptian mythos, is that I didn't tell Susanne that my astral experience involved encountering twin sisters who claimed they were Egyptian. I said "a female guide" -- then she suddenly said "I see a pair of twins . . . " So, I find it very hard to discount that. But really, pinpointing my dad's experience cannot be refuted by normal means. If that makes me a "true believer" so be it. True believer could just mean I'm not going to remain so insecure as to continually deny something is supernatural because living in constant denial is the "rational" way to approach these experiences.

JS
You certainly jangled my chain with your comments. Not that I think they are inappropriate or anything but that your comments might have been my own many years ago.

Today I think that a medium or whatever by any other name is just a channel or mechanism for conveying information from one reality to another, often under very difficult circumstances. Some are better than others. Contrary to what you seem to be suggesting I think that perhaps the best mediums are not people who are extra intelligent but may seem to be people who have a very common intelligence even to the extent that some of them have limited or no formal education. They seem to be more able to get their own thoughts out of the way so to speak and let information flow to and through them into this reality without adding or subtracting anything from it. It may be though that as a medium gains credibility that the ego takes over and the medium is tempted to expound on topics about which he or she knows very little.

It seems that many times channeled information is in the form of visual symbols or audible sounds that have to be interpreted by the medium. And more times than not, with certain mediums they misinterpret those symbols. I have to remind myself that the information is not coming from the medium but through them. The medium does not have to know all of the answers. For me it is perfectly all right to hear the medium say some ‘eye rolling’ things because I know that what the medium says is how they interpret the information given to them in whatever form they are able to receive it. I respect a medium who says, “I don't go there - I just do what I do without theorizing.” Good mediums should not theorize; they should just pass the information along. Extraordinary mediums are not necessarily extraordinary humans. They are subject to the same weaknesses of personality and intellect as the rest of us; maybe more so.

If we look to a medium to explain reality for us or define God or to explain the origin and extent of the universe,or to provide us with the latest divine memorandum then I think that is expecting more from the medium than he or she is able to provide. - AOD

Also, mentioning what Susanne charges is a pretty bad ad hominem fallacy. I don't care if she charges $4,000 a reading, lives on a golden throne, and has servants that she throws her chalice at when she needs refills - if she correctly identifies an experience my dad had, that not another soul knew about, then that makes her a genuine medium.

Look, I've had psychic experiences, astral projection trips, premonitions, and so forth. It's not some alien thing to me that people can communicate with 'the other side' and I'm not going to commit myself to being the person who constantly has to make excuses for these experiences. As far as I'm concerned, this whole realm exists. The place to direct skepticism is: New Age cults, false interpretations of experiences, philosophies, giving money to gurus, supplanting medical treatment for crystal healing, and on and on. Whether or not someone can use a psychic ability to obtain unknown information is no longer something I need to constantly debate and go back-and-forth about.

But then again, I'm a "true believer" so my opinion is clearly irrelevant.

js,

Nice response, thank you. Yeah, you know, very few of us are thinkers and philosophers, and many of us who are go off on rather wrong tangents (*cough*, Ken Wilber, *cough*). I am intelligent, I think, and I try to be "smart," but I am sure I fail in ways of which I am unaware. So goes the game.

You objected to my saying that psychics get flooded with data... But, ponder for a moment. OK, I may have not quite been accurate. I am a psychic and feel I am flooded with data, but when I'm trying to be "a psychic," I am *open* to the data. I think being OCD helps in being "flooded"; that would seem to be the definition to me (I would say that we OCDers are flooded with both good and bad things and only complain about the bad...).

In any event, the data come in... And they can be anything. We certainly do not, as a society (it is to laugh!) have a template for processing such things. Unless our template is old school religion, in which we simply ignore them. Or renounce them.

So we can't completely fault psychics and mediums for saying, "I saw XYZ represented as XYZ... and therefore... XYZ!" Sure, it's a bit naive, yet also natural, no? Strike that, make that "completely naive." Yet also natural.

Since, when it comes to perceptions, in our daily life we are used to playing "what you see is what you get." In psi, such a method leads to what I called above "ad hoc myth-making."

We don't have it solved or sorted. What would be nice at the present juncture would be *all of us* to agree that psi is proven, materialism is refuted, and start, collectively, to figure it all. Systematically. Perhaps in another 20, 50, 100 years... Until then, we limited beings in the vanguard must proceed as best we can.

People here may be entertained by this extensive critical review of what happens when a staunch atheist a) fetishises a very specific and narrow view of religion while hating all others without having researched either and b) decides to write a childrens' book about it: http://das-sporking.livejournal.com/1295340.html
Nihilism is not a good match for fairy tales.

Cyrus, hats off to you for your quality "journalistic" description of your experiences.

From reading your book, and your guest post on this blog, it's quite clear to me that you know what you're talking about.

I really like your comment, "I'm not going to commit myself to being the person who constantly has to make excuses for these experiences. As far as I'm concerned, this whole realm exists."

Bravo!

Of course, some people understandably are not yet able to get what you're saying. Some are still quite skeptical, even rudely so. I like the way you draw the line at having to engage aggressive skepticism. At some point, a reasonable attempt at engaging the skepticism has to give way to setting boundaries.

Their problem is not your problem.

******

An aside: Somewhat off topic, one author whom I have found to be a sober-minded, matter-of-fact "journalist," as it were, of the other side is Jurgen Ziewe. Like you, he is a clear-headed observer.

Hey James, thanks for the kind words. Jurgen's a friend of mine and posts often on my afterlife Facebook group (Afterlife Topics).

Thanks for telling me about your Facebook group, Cyrus. Going to check it out right now. :)

The Witch of Napoli, a fictionalized account of the life of Eusapia Palladino, is FREE in a Kindle version for a limited time on Amazon, here:
https://www.amazon.com/The-Witch-Napoli-Michael-Schmicker-ebook/dp/B00RQPETM2?_bbid=2652763&_bbtype=email

Hey Roger, I was thinking of you this morning. Just got an Instant Pot from Amazon yesterday and will try cooking my first meal with it today. Your recent posts were hard to resist. :)

Still enjoying yours?

Bruce, First, here are my suggested corrections to the Instant Pot manual that I sent to the company. They should help you understand the manual better:

P. 3, item 7, last sentence reads: “Please see ‘Food Preparation Instructions.’” But there is no such section. Possibly “Cooking Preparation” was meant.

P. 3, item 8, states “These foods [e.g., oatmeal] should not be cooked in a pressure cooker.” But the Recipe Manual recommends doing so. Probably item 8 should be reworded to give the more moderate warning, “Do not open the steam release valve when these foods are cooking until the float valve has dropped down.”

P. 7, re installing the condensation collector. It should be stated where this item is to be installed (on the back of the Pot—the illustration doesn’t make this plain) and how it works. (It collects water that collects in the gutter around the top of the Pot that runs down into a little hole in that gutter.) It should also be said that It helps the runoff to be complete if the front edge if the Pot is a bit higher than the rear.)

P. 7. A paragraph describes how to remove and install the anti-block shield (anti-blockage is meant). But it is not removable on the unit I and others recently received, so an update to the manual is needed.

[I later wrote the company: “I was unable to remove the shield with a wet paper towel, as your online tip suggested. However, when I used channel-lock pliers (aka “water pump pliers”) [which can be adjusted to have wide-apart jaws] and tilted them a bit, the shield came off easily.”]

P. 10 illustrates the steam release handle, correctly labeling its “Sealing” position as being to the rear of its Venting position. This fact should be reinforced throughout the manual thusly: wherever “Sealing” is now used, it should be replaced by “Sealing (rearward)”. And “Venting” should be replaced by “Venting (forward)”.

P. 10. In the illustration, the float valve should be labeled as such.

P. 10. Control Panel illustration. There should be a line running from “Operation Keys” to the “Pressure” button. (See p. 11.)

P. 11: There should be a fourth bulleted item that reads, “Keep Warm: The time is preceded by an ‘L’ and it counts up.” The last sentence of the third bulleted item should be deleted.

Pages 11-12: I think three of the keys listed as Function Keys are really Operation Keys and should be moved under that heading, namely Keep Warm/Cancel, Manual, and Timer. 
There should be a recommendation somewhere (e.g., on p. 10) that, when opening the steam release handle (or closing it if it’s emitting steam because it wasn’t closed at the start), the user should keep his forearm horizontal and to the left of it, rather than above it, to avoid scalding.

Wouldn’t It would be clearer if every use of “standby state” were supplemented thusly: “standby state (off)”, because that’s what appears on the display. It would lessen possible confusion.
Don’t use “cup” or “cups” within referring to your 160 ml. cup. It’s too easy to confuse it with the ordinary cup size. Instead, use a special term like cupp (or IPcup, or xcup, or 160-cup). Also, to minimize incompatibility with existing recipe books, perhaps italicize it and/or place it inside quotation marks.
===============

Second, here are some observations about the Pot’s basic inadequacies. Currently it has sensors for temperature and pressure. In order for it to be truly intelligent, it could do with two more: 

1. Position of the steam release handle—Open or Closed. (If Open is detected when the user attempts to start cooking, an alert will sound and/or flash.)

2. Position of the floating valve—Open or Closed. If closed, the lid will not open. Alerts will sound nn/or flash when it transitions from one state to another.

3. ? Weight of the Pot’s contents. (I haven’t thought this through, but it might be helpful if a more advanced user interface were provided.

An advanced user interface would be a touchscreen + stylus with a smart program behind it. This would make the current model look like a Model T. (It could even contain recipes, advanced Help features, even short how-to videos.
====================

Third, here are my tips-for-beginners.

1. When you start the cooker, be sure the steam release valve is pushed back, in its closed position. If it isn’t, the water will escape and the Pot’s bottom will scorch. (And the food will be scorched too.)

2. When the pressurized phase of the cooking is done, don’t try to open the lid until the silver top of the free-floating valve drops down into its well.

3. The Pot isn’t really “Instant.” The pressurized phase is much shorter than the cooking time on a stovetop, but the warm-up time (the time until the free-floating valve closes by popping up) lessens the advantage, and the cool-down time until the lid is safe to open (when the free-floating valve drops into its well) pretty much evens things out. 

4. To shorten the cool-down time, place a wet facecloth or equivalent on the front half of the lid. Within a minute it will absorb much heat. Repeat until the FF valve drops.

5. The other method of shortening the cool-down time is to flick the pressure-release handle forward. (Hold your forearm to the side of the handle while doing so, instead of above it, to avoid scalding.) I don’t use this quick method because 1) the steam that escapes is wasted energy that should be used for cooking. IOW, pressurized cooking times should be shortened to allow for cooking in the cool-down phase. 2) I worry that tiny particles in the steam might clog the release-handle’s valve. (It’s removable for cleaning though.) 3) I’m rarely in a hurry.

6. After the lid has been opened, the sides of the inner (removable) Pot will be (eventually) cool enough to grasp bare-handed. However, if you’re planning to tilt the inner Pot and pour out its contents, the bottom will be much hotter. (Unless you’ve turned the Keep Warm feature off hours earlier, by pressing Off.) So you should wear an oven mitt or equivalent when tipping if you’re touching the bottom.

7. I don’t use the pre-programmed setting (e.g., for Rice, Beans, etc.) I use the Manual setting for most items, to avoid getting confused and lost. 

8. When making yogurt, I do use the Yogurt button. First, I heat the half-and-half (for thicker yogurt) to 180 degrees by choosing the High setting. Once that’s done and the contents have cooled to 110 degrees (measured with an infra-red temperature-tester), I inoculate it with starter, blend it in with my immersion blende, click the yogurt button again, and adjust it to Normal.

9. Water condenses on the underside of the lid. After it is lifted up, that water can be drained back into the Pot by tilting the lid sideways. Or (in the case of yogurt, where I wish to avoid excess water), the lid can be kept in its horizontal position, carried to a sink, and tilted there. (I use the glass-lid accessory when making yogurt, which is easier to do this with.) 

10. When you set the metal lid upright in its slot, some water will drain into the rim of the outer pot. It should run around the rim into the collection container at the rear. If not, elevate the front of the Pots slightly, as I recommended in the First part of this missive.

11. For steaming, it’s necessary to use a trivet. OZO makes an accessory that has longer legs than the free one. However, it is harder to clean, especially after cooking meat. See if you can get along without it.

12. That first “cooking” you do should be the “Initial Test Run” described on page 17 of the User Manual.

===================
Fourth, Recipes & Ingredients. 
Here is a starter recipe that I cooked yesterday for 12 minutes.

2.5 cups of water (regular cups, not IP’s crazy 160 ml cups) 
1 large potato, cut into 3/4 inch slices
1/2 pound carrots, baby sized (or cut to 1.5 inches length)
10 Brussel sprouts
1 medium rutabaga, cut into slices and chunks
2 Zucchini squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
Spices, such as parsley, bay leaf (blended into oblivion after cooking), curry, pepper, tamarin, & sea salt. (I just guessed that these would work. I know nothing about how to season food.) 

When done, I pushed the blender up and down about 3/4 of an inch, putting it above lumps. It took about a minute of patient work to turn the contents into a nice pureé. It tastes OK. It makes about 5.5 cups of thick soup. I use the free ladle to transfer it into 2-cup bowls with handles, holding them over the pot and tilting them toward the ladle, so drippings fall within the bowl, not on its outer side.

My ordinary recipe contains twice as many vegetables and nearly twice as much water (4.5 cups), filling the Pot to its 5-quart line, higher than is recommended. (There’s a lot of space between the veggie chunks, so I figure I’m not really “filling” it to the five-quart line.) 

These are the other veggies I use in it (not all at once): onions, turnips, celery, beets, pepper, yams or sweet potatoes, ginger bits, cauliflower, 1/2 cabbage (cut into quarters and then cut diagonally to remove the core). 

I’ve discovered that squash (especially butternut) is an excellent ingredient, but most of them require peeling, seed removing, peeling, preliminary heating in a microwave to ease peeling and cutting up, etc. Zucchini squash looks like a cucumber that’s been shrunk 33% in length and width. It costs about the same as other squashes, but the only prep needed is cutting off the ends (which is comparatively easy) and cutting the remainder into 1-inch chunks. It doesn’t need peeling.

After the veggies have been cooked and blended, I drop in between 0.5 to 1.5 pounds of medium-small strips of meat (about 1.5 inches by 3/4 inches) that I had previously cooked for a longer period. (E.g.,, 15 minutes for “nice” cuts of meat, 25 minutes for other cuts (tough or with a bone-in).) It’s best to blend these in last because meat chunk-lets can sometimes get semi-clogged in the blender. (This is why small chunks of meat are best, and also why cooking meat for a longer period to soften it is wise.)

Another ingredient I add before this second blending is shredded cheese, about two small handfuls. Probably I could add it prior to cooking, or I could add more. (But I’m cautious about cheese, because too much can harden my stools too much.)

A third item I add at this point (although I suppose it could be added at the start) is peeled garlic. Garlic cloves can be blended into the soup with an immersion blender, eliminating the need to crush the cloves and then clean out the crusher. This is a hidden blender-benefit.

A fourth item ii add at this point is 1 to 2 cups of the fermented natto beans I put aside earlier. (See below.) Blending them into soup disguises their taste. (Search for “natto challenge” on YouTube for some amusing videos about its undisguised taste.) Natto contains the supposed super-vitamin K2.

A fifth item I’ll probably add soon, mostly because the store brand is cheap, is a 29-ounce (large) can of tomato sauce.

This all adds up to about 12 cups of soup. Be prepared with containers to put into the fridge if you want to heat them later by simply popping them in the microwave for 2.22 minutes or so. If they have handles they will allow you to conveniently eat directly from them, or even to drink from them (if the soup is not too thick).

I store my yogurt in the fridge in wide-mouthed, two-cup, lidded bowls (ideally) or snap-top containers. I put my yogurt into a smoothie by placing about 1/2 cup of it into a 1-quart, wide-mouthed Mason jar. (More should be added if your yogurt wasn’t made from half-and-half.) I add a about half that amount of jam or jelly (cheap) and then fill the jar within an inch of the top with home-made lemonade. (Concentrated lemon juice + sweetener + water.) I make up batches that fill three empty orange juice plastic bottles and store them in the fridge.

I insert my stick blender into the jar halfway down and, holding the jar with my other hand, poke the blender up and down for up to 10 seconds, stopping briefly during that time whenever the mixture froths up to the lip of the jar. In other words, I pulse the blender. However, an immersion blender can’t inject air into the liquid the way a countertop blender can, so the smoothies it makes aren’t as nice and creamy. (But using yogurt as an ingredient partially compensates for this weakness.) 

The mason jar contains enough for two smoothies. after pouring out half of its contents, it can be put in the fridge, or left on out if the next smoothie will be consumed within a day or two. (I like my smoothies warmish. I usually put tt glass containing them in the microwave for 11 to 17 seconds before drinking.)

For making natto (fermented beans), I pressure cook them, drain off the excess water

The main advantage of the Pot to me isn’t its shorter cooking times, but its lesser energy use and lesser hassle. I.e., I can start a batch going and walk away and even go to sleep, knowing that in an hour or half an hour it’ll be all done and ready to eat. (It’ll be warm even if I wait ten hours, or more, because of its automatic Keep Warm feature.) I also like its ability to utilize cheap cuts of meat (i.e., tough or bony) without making the kitchen steamy. Finally, its convenience overcomes my resistance to consuming fresh vegetables, which are better for my health.


Gadgets:
Garlic cloves can be cleverly peeled by this $1.70 “Happy Sales Silicone Garlic Peeler Peeling Press Tube Tool.“ It’s on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Sales-Silicone-Garlic-Peeling/dp/B008FLEMCI/ref=pd_sbs_79_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B008FLEMCI&pd_rd_r=XQS14N406Z34TPBZ5RPC&pd_rd_w=XkCTA&pd_rd_wg=P3pmH&psc=1&refRID=XQS14N406Z34TPBZ5RPC

The temperature of items that are being warmed in the pot, like yogurt and natto, can be measured instantly and without a mess with Amazon’s $17 “Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer.” It’s at https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Lasergrip-774-Non-contact-Thermometer/dp/B00837ZGRY/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1483341707&sr=1-1&keywords=lasergrip+774

Here’s where you can get inexpensive fridge storage containers:
http://kk.org/cooltools/deli-containers/#kk-comment-wrapper

I’ve probably left something out, but I have to run.
Roger 

PS:: I forgot to mention adding a bouillon cube or two.

PPS: I only provided the first line of the following paragraph:

For making natto (fermented beans), I pressure cook dried beans (cheap), drain off the excess water (saving it for use in the soup later), and allow the beans to cool to 100 degrees or less. When cooled, I put 1 cup of cooking water into a 2-cup (or larger) container and put in the starter. I stir it around a little and then use the blender for 5 seconds or so to break up and distribute the starter in the water. I pour the water into the Pot with the beans and stir them around with the free (provided) paddle or my own larger ice cream "spade." Then I press the Yogurt button and adjust it, if necessary, to Normal and wait 8 to 12 hours. Then I mix the beans around to ensure that all get fermented/infested. After another 8 to 16 hours, I drain off the water (saving it for the soup) and transfer the beans to a lidded fridge container.

Hey Roger, thanks for all the details! I've learned a lot about the IP in the last several days, but some of your info is still news to me.

I've been practicing cooking my grains (rice, kasha, quinoa) directly in the stainless steel bowl I like to eat them from. Perfect texture and no pot to clean!

One thing: I'm pretty sure that when I steam kale in the IP, it doesn't taste as good as when I steam it on the stove. My guess is that certain less-than-tasty compounds are being released in my looser lidded pot on the stove, and being retained in the IP. I wonder if that means the IP approach is retaining valuable nutrients I'm losing on the stove?

You're right: considering the warm-up and cool-down times, the *speed* angle is false advertising, as far as I can see. Still, I'm really delighted with the thing!

Hi Bruce. If you cook a four-day (say) supply of grains in the IP’s own inner pot, saving the excess three meals in the fridge, then cleaning that inner pot occurs only 25% as often.

But I think I’ll copy you and try using my own metal eating-from bowl on some occasions, mostly when I want a small portion of something.

Re your kale’s lesser tastiness: I suspect you’re right about fewer nutrients being retained on the stovetop. In fact, better nutrient retention is one of the benefits the IP company claims. I forgot to include it in my list of reasons why I like using it. It’s a biggie.

I’m pleased you’re pleased with the IP, and I hope a few others will be tempted to hop aboard our little bandwagon.

PS: Bruce, it’s possible that your metal eating-from bowl is shedding something metallic, or some coating, into your steamed kale when you use it in place of the IP’s inner bowl. To test if this is so, steam your kale without its bowl in the IP’s inner pot. If it tastes better, abandon cooking in your bowl.

(I’ve been searching Amazon for stainless steel bowls to cook in myself, and I’ve noticed that some of them advertise themselves as being of a higher quality of steel than is the norm, suggesting that lower-quality bowls might not be IP-safe.)

When I clean my inner pot, I usually just rinse it and scrub it. Sometimes I soak it up to any food-ring for a few hours. I rarely need to use vinegar or detergent to clean it. I imagine that only a rinse would be needed after just cooking kale.

Good thought, Roger, but when I steam the kale, I don't use a bowl, but rather the same steaming basket I use for stovetop steaming.

I just finished eating another batch steamed on the stove, and it was delicious! I do suspect that the IP is retaining certain less-than-tasty compounds that are being released on the stove. (I *hate* the taste of kale when it's raw.) I'm also sadly wondering if those compounds are especially nutritious.

Hopefully not, and this is just another example of my "no pain, no gain" mentality at work. :)

A microwave-able 2-cup bowl with a locking lid and handle is available for only $6.15 from Amazon at:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005D6Y1OM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you bought six of them (I’ve just ordered that many), you could store almost a week’s worth of soup in your fridge and pop it into your microwave for 2.22 minutes before a meal. Convenient!

Roger, I don't have a microwave and don't like plastic, so I prefer storage solutions like this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N02HUXC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1TNN73XPUZGSP

Thanks, Bruce. I've added it to my wishlist.

PS: I just discovered that beef should not be undercooked; it should be cooked from 20 to 30 minutes. If it's undercooked the immersion blender can't cope with it.

Bruce: A story yesterday on CBS-NY City says kale contains too much copper. Here's the link:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/01/10/copper-toxicity/

OTOH, the third commenter on another thread said:

"Copper II is toxic, makes you crazy. Kale has Copper I though: it's bioavailable and it can lower your Copper II levels."

http://www.ellefitactive.com/blogs/ellesblog/15399005-find-out-why-i-stopped-using-kale-in-my-green-smoothies

Just finished your book Cyrus and loved it. Loved that you mentioned about the placebo effect, the most underrated phenomena out there. Just finished the book 'The afterlife of Billy Fingers (seemed familiar so I may have read it somewhere). It had some random sychronicitys. Chapter 19 is on his advice about oysters and pearls -denoting wisdom.

As quoted "The world is your oyster, the world is your oyster. And in the oyster shell you will find many pearls. Pearls of wisdom you will cast before all creatures. I will place in front of your chariot. Seventeen horses of white. Beautiful horses. With golden raiment"

His sister who wrote the book had many synchronicitys with pearls and oysters.

So I am in NZ at the moment and walk 5 kms to my gym near a mall. Going to a book shop I am curious as to what the writing is on a dish.And lean down to read it.

It says " The world is your oyster and you are the pearl".

Okay so it's not original so I laugh it off. So I set off walking home and I'm half way when I see on the path a piece of cardboard off a box with a price stamp on it and in big capitals the word "Billy". Ha ha why on earth that name on a box, it wasn't the person's name, but seemed to be a company name, weird. Lyn .

Bruce: PPS: I’ve just learned that herbs and spices, especially hot spices, should be added and stirred in at the end (and left to sit and soak for a while too, probably), after cooking has been done. And that the official Instant Pot group on Facebook has 300,000 members, indicating that this appliance is coming on strong.

My source is a January 11 article in WaPo, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-instant-pot-is-a-hit-but-what-if-you-have-a-recipe-that-wasnt-designed-for-it/2017/01/09/8a64390e-d377-11e6-9cb0-54ab630851e8_story.html?utm_term=.2614a20e47b8

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