Pressure Cooker

(I do feel the need to tell you up front that this post is waaaaaay over my normal , self imposed 500 word limit. Read at your leisure. Or not. It is intended to be a humorous peak into the mundane workings of my life; I hope you enjoy and get a laugh or two out of it.)

My dear brother, Lucas, is studying to be a chef. I talked with him about my struggles with cooking in the altitude. He told me to get a pressure cooker. Those things that explode?!? They are a bit more sophisticated than in the olden days, I have come to find out. Last week my friend lent me one of hers to give it a try. She gave me a short orientation and a superb demonstration on the use of this wonderment with her smaller one. I was leery but wanted to see this miracle pot in action under the power of my own hand.

This is a non-electric, heavy-duty pot with a special top. The lid has a rubber ring under the toothed lip allowing it to hook and screw on to the actual pot. So while at her house I managed to get the top sealed on for easy transport to my house. But when I got home, all excited to show my husband my new toy, the top would not come off! We pried, and pulled, and pushed, and tugged at that thing all day; when the hammer was suggested I drew the line. I said, we will let it sit overnight and hope that in the morning with the change in the temperature of the air it would be easier to get off.

I woke up with the Rocky theme running through my head. Clapping my hands together and rubbing them I stared at the pot and told it to get ready (out loud!). I grabbed the contraption and with controlled steady force popped that bugger right off! Never underestimate the power of a woman who has birthed four children and has a good nights sleep under her belt.

To cook! Yes, I was ready. The pot and I had come to terms and we both knew who was boss. I decided to go with mashed potatoes for my first try. Washed, peeled, chopped, tossed in and doused with water I sealed the potatoes in and lit my stovetop with a match. Of course I had terrible visions of having to return the pot to my friend with a lump of mushy smelly potatoes inside because I dreaded having top troubles again. So I stood there watching the pot. All of a sudden the spiggit on the top started to steam and rattle. That is what it is supposed to do – now we are cookin’ with gas (literally)! So I am supposed to time it from the time it starts spitting. But how long?!? I let five grueling minutes go by and decided to make a panicked call my friend who happened to be at the beauty shop. Between hysterically laughing at my giddy anxiety over my potatoes I got her to tell me five minutes – but 7 had passed by this time! Ah!!! She told me to fill me sink with cold water and submerge the pot then check them. Submerging initiated and commenced I stared at the handle again ready to gear up for another WWF match. Turns out there was no need to worry – it slid right off! Whew!

Those were the absolute best mashed potatoes that I have ever made in my entire life! You can ask my kids. Since the potatoe success I have tried some vegetables and chicken. My oh my! The chicken was so tender and juicy and slid right off the bone! And my cooking time is cut by 75%!!! It is absolutely fabulous. I know I am sounding like an info-mercial; but really, I am going to get me one (or three) of these pots. I am, for the first time in my life, sincerely excited about cooking a meal.

I used to think that to make good food you needed four things: time, heat, good ingredients and talent. Now I can add a fifth to the list: pressure! You need pressure to cook good food. The reason pressure cookers help when cooking in the altitude is that the air is so thin up here that there is not the pressure needed and things take twice as long as they do at sea level. So the pressure cooker provides a controlled environment that increases the pressure thus allowing the cooking process to be more efficient.

I think God knows that pressure is required to help get us cooked. Cooked being a maturity and growth that allows our lives to have the taste of the tender love of Christ. Next time you are feeling some pressure in your life tell God thanks, because you are the good ingredient and he is adding the heat, pressure and talent. Give him the time he needs to get you thoroughly cooked. The results will be delicious!

Do you have any pressure cooker recipes that you would like to send my way?


20 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker

  1. @Alece – I would have been shakin’ in my boots… if I wore boots that is. :-) Slippers are usually my cooking footwear of choice. So I guess I could say I was shakin’ in my slippers. :-)

  2. @Carin – If you don’t bring one (because they are stinkin’ heavy!) you should put it in your budget to purchase one here. I have a friend who will be taking me in the next couple weeks to buy one in the Cancha. Thanks for the link. :-)

  3. Hey Ang, I loved the post. I don’t think it was too long at all because I love the little details that help me visualize you more clearly. I guess I knew nothing about pressure cookers or what they even look like, glad it’s working for you. I hope Luke gets a chance to read this.

  4. OH you totally cracked me up on this one! I think I would have been the same way. I remember my mom cooking with one when we were kids. For the life of me, I have no idea what she cooked in it…I only remember the firm commands of us not being in the kitchen when she was using it. I also remember standing from afar watching the steam wobble the spiggit on the top. So I guess, Mom was too VERY cautious when pressure cooking!

    ABSOLUTELY loved how you wrapped that into an object lesson on life….so very true! Yet again, material for that next book of yours!!

    Keep us posted on all the lovely delicacies you create!!

  5. OH I love pressure cookers. You are so right about cooking. It’s basically a slow cooker … fast. It can meld all the flavors and achieve the same level of tenderness without it taking all day.

    All that said, I could use more recipes myself! Mashed potatoes … yes. What Mom called ‘buttered potatoes (cubed, cooked, and tossed in butter and herbs). Pot roast. Stew. (I can give you relative recipes here.) You can cook that same beef and just serve it over rice or with other vegetables. I’m sure you could make sloppy joes or pulled pork sandwiches this way too. I’ve never tried those. Artichokes. Oh, yum yum yum yum yum. Do you eat artichokes? Love them? Hate them? I’ll warrant if you think you hate them – you’ve only had the canned variety. Fresh cooked = YUM. And the only way (in my opinion) to do justice to an artichoke is to use a pressure cooker. I’ve tried them on the stovetop … not good.

    So yes!! All ‘yall who have never tried pressure cookers! Try it! You’ll be SO glad you did. (PS: to all the ‘I don’t cook’ people – the pressure cooker will become your best friend. Check them out!)

  6. Oh also – I don’t think you need the sink filled with cold water. Mom and I (so it seems to work just fine) brought the pressure down (that’s what you’re doing with the cold water) just by sticking it in the sink and running cold water over the lid. You’ll hear the pressure escape and the seal release. Then all is safe. Most pressure cookers today have a fairly good series of locks in place that work fairly well at keeping you from trying to open it at the wrong point and splattering food all over your kitchen. The one you were lent has a rocker on top? That’s what my Mom’s had. Mine (newer model obviously) has a steam valve, a “flavor lock”, and a weight gague. I’ll take a picture of it for you. It makes a bit of noise (the steam trying to escape) but it’s not that loud, and it doesn’t do the spitting and rocking like Mom’s old one did.

  7. PS2: I have had the lid stick once – after cooking food! I had the full pot in the sink, trying to get the lid off and it wasn’t working. That was a bit of panic. Turned out, if anything sticky (food, oil) gets in around the gasket, it will make the lid stick like that. I had to look that up on the internet “on the fly.” So I cleaned it up real good. Hasn’t happened since.

  8. ok – I’ve never known anything about pressure cookers before, so this was very informative.

    i love the anaolgy you drew for us in the past paragraph. it is so true! and so “deliciously” phrased, you got my husband to read a blog!

  9. I remember trying to open that thing. Afterwards I thought it would make a pretty good safe because no one was getting that thing open,

    Good job!!!

  10. @Anita la cocinera – I can see that you are passionate about your pressure cooker. Thanks for all the tips. I do like artichokes, I will have to try that. Oh, especially with melted butter to dip them in.Yum!

    @Amy Ellison – Wow, to know that I got your husband to read a blog made me smile. What about it attracted him to the post?

    @My Man – Ha! you are so funny! And no one would suspect it either – we might have to keep that in mind next time we need to hide something. :-)

  11. Ah!!! Yep you’re right! Mom used watermelon rines to make Watermelon pickles…YUM!!! And other pickles as well. You nailed it on the head yet again!!

  12. I agree with Annie….

    The best way to cook an artichoke is with a Pressure Cooker. OMG I have one steaming up right now and I cannot wait to dip the leaves in Melted butter and a cup of mayonnaise! Then the Center is my prize after eating all of the leaves. With a diet like this I should be HUGE! Once in a while they are worth it and to die for…..Give them a try! Make sure the leaves are falling off and it is soft. Also, after it is done steaming….take the pot outside to take the weight off of the top of the lid so the steam can escape…..Its not a great idea to let all of that high pressure steam out in the house.

    ENJOY….I know I’m about to. :)~ Yummy

    Gig Harbor WA

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