A Pressure Cookers Pressure

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
My experiences with a pressure cooker

Submitted: October 15, 2007

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Submitted: October 15, 2007





Have you ever used a pressure cooker? They can be the scariest pots on the planet. I should know, I have succeeded in blowing the lid off or more that one.

Some folks should just stay away from pressure. For me the world famous “pressure cooker” is by far the most frustrating pot I have ever used. Not that I never get it right, because I have been known to, but not often. As a matter of fact there are a lot of pressures I don’t do will with. But the pressure in a cooker isn’t one of them.

When I was a little girl I remember my Gramma, Aunts and my Mama using a pressure cooker. Oh, they made the most wonderful foods in them. I can still taste the crispy fried chicken my Gramma made., and the beef stew, ham and beans and soups. Then there was always my favorites like rice pudding, bread pudding and fruit cakes. I always knew when I came home from school and there was a pressure cooker on the stove hissing away, that dinner was going to be fantastic. Lots of our meals were cooked in a 4 or 5 quart pressure cooker, but then Gramma would get out her great big humongous pressure cooker to can her fruits, vegetables, meats and just about anything she could think of. I grew up helping my Gramma and Mamma in the kitchen but was never allowed near their pressure cookers. At that time I always thought that someday I would have my very own cooker and would prepare wonderful meals for my family.

As I said I helped in my Mama and Gramma’s kitchen. They taught me their wonderful recipes, methods and techniques, lots which they learned from their very own Mammas and Grammas. Why I can remember having to stand on a stool to reach the counter or stove top so I could mix cakes and frosting, mash potatoes, fry bacon or what ever happened to be going on in those wonderful kitchens. But let me tell you again, they never let me near a pressure cooker. By the time I was ten years old I could cook an entire dinner by my self, unless it had anything to do with a pressure cooker. I always helped when Mamma and Gramma were getting fruits and vegetables ready to can. From the picking to the shelving, but NEVER NEVER that big old pressure cooker. Oh, before I married at the ripe old age of 16 I had all their recipes (even for the pressure cooker), but to that day I still had never used a pressure cooker.

Of course when I got married and had a kitchen of my own and Mamma and Gramma made sure I had everything a I could possible need to be able to fix any meal I wanted, and everything to serve it in or on to look fantastic. Everything except a pressure cooker that is! So I took myself to Sears and Robuck and bought myself a brand spanking new shinny pressure cooker.

It was about the 3rd week of my marriage when one morning I went to the pantry and brought out my new pot and started my ham and beans and started supper. I washed the beans, chopped a little celery and a carrot. I placed my ham, beans, celery, carrot into my new cooker along with some salt, pepper, a little paprika and several cups of water. I didn’t need to read any instruction because I had SEEN this process done a hundred times. I put the lid on my pressure cooker and turned on the burner. After steam started to escape from the pot I placed the regulator on the top of the pot and reduced the heat. Now I got busy fixing the rest of supper. I peeled potatoes and chopped onions for fried potatoes , washed lettuce and then fried a little bacon for wilted lettuce, and mixed up the stuff for cornbread. Everything was going along just fine when all of a sudden there was a loud popping noise, a hiss and then the whole lid just blew off that pressure cooker, sending beans, ham, celery and carrots all over the kitchen from ceiling to floor. I never saw such a mess. Then there was this awful dent in the wall where that lid hit with the force of a rocket. My goodness, what was I going to do?

Well, I got busy cleaning up the kitchen and finished 3 hours later. Needless to say we ate dinner out that evening. But I never complain about going out, I love it.

It was a good long while before I tried my pressure cooker again but the time did come. It started at the meat market one morning when I stood in front of the butchers case peering in at all the wonderful cuts of meat. But I was in the mood to do something a little different. Well, there they were! Hank the butcher was just opening the case to put in some of his wonderful lean spareribs. He had just cut and trimmed them, they were so pretty. I remembered the ones Gramma used to make with sauerkraut in her old pressure cooker (you know, the one I was never allowed near). I decided right then that spareribs and sauerkraut it would be for dinner tonight. So I bought three pounds and took them on home.

I went to my pantry and searched for 10 minutes for my pressure cooker before I remembered that I had moved it to a shelf in the basement to make room on the shelf for my new electric skillet. So to the basement I went, returning with that wonderful pressure cooker. So I washed it up and loaded it with my beautiful spareribs, sauerkraut brown sugar and water. Then I decided I would add some potatoes to it instead of fixing them separately. So, as I had always seen it done by Gramma and Mama I put the top on the pressure cooker and waited for the steam to begin to escape before I placed the 15 pound pressure regulator on the vent pipe and turned down the fire. I watched my pressure gauge and when it reached 15 pounds. My ingredients needed to cook for 15 minutes with the regulator rocking.

It was Thursday and although I have never been a rigid as Mama and Gramma were I did prefer to do my ironing on Thursdays, so I set up my ironing board and got down to business. All the while I was ironing the pieces from my basket I was listening to the delightful music of the rocking of the regulator on the top of my beautiful cooker. I also keep glancing at the clock so I would be sure not to over cook our dinner.

Ok, it has been 15 minutes so I turned off the iron and headed for the kitchen. About the time I got to the door of the kitchen I heard an oddly familiar pop, hiss and oh my goodness “bang”. Guess what, there is another dint in the wall. Oh, what a mess, spareribs, sauerkraut, and potatoes all over my kitchen. Do you have any idea of all the hiding places little pieces of sauerkraut can find to hide? Well let me tell you, there is NO place on earth that kraut can’t find. Or maybe it was the mushy potatoes that found their way into every cranny because I never did find anything that even resembled a potato. Which ever, you will be cleaning for days and then weeks down the line you will run into some unidentifiable crud somewhere.

This is another night that we eat dinner out.

After I cleaned my hateful pressure cooker back on a shelf in the basement. I swore to myself that I would never try and cook dinner in the damn thing again I just didn’t understand what that cooker had against me, I never had a problem (and still don’t) with my huge pressure cooker that is used for canning.

I was true to my word for 10 years and never touched that cooker for 10 years. Then one day I was looking thru the food section of the newspaper when I ran across the best sounding recipe for chili. It was a “white chili”. Oh my gracious it was cooked in a pressure cooker! Of course I cut the recipe out and put in my file. Every good cook has one, you know the file of recipes you intend to try and never get to. I remember saying out loud to myself “I am not going to make this in a cooker, I will try it on top of the stove, where chili is supposed to be make”.

A few weeds later I woke up to 3 inches of snow and another 3 was expected. I thought to

Myself “ this would be a great day to make soup or chili”. I was in a real mood to cook so I took out my recipe file and started thru it. I looked a recipes for several stews and soups, then I pulled out that chili recipe and read thru the ingredients. I sat there thinking about my last 2 attempts to cook dinner in my pressure cooker and decided I would try it 1 more time. After all it had been years so maybe to won’t be so contrary. Besides they always say “the third time’s a charm”.

So, I went down and brought that dusty cooker up from the basement. I washed it and started dinner. I put all the ingredients in and turned her on, listened for the infamous hiss, and placed the regulator on the vent pipe. This time I stood right there at the stove and watched while the gauge began to move. Patiently I waited for it to reach the 15 pound pressure point, and glanced at the clock. It was 1:15 pm on a Tuesday. I was silently saying a prayer that this would go right this time. It was cold out & I really didn’t want to have to go out in this weather.

Just like most women I am a multitasked. I can do laundry, clean house and cook all in the same day with no problem at all. This particular day I happened to be in the middle of cleaning the 1st of our 3 & ½ baths and listening to the giggle of the pressure cooker regulator when the phone rang. I picked it up on my way back to the kitchen and said “hello”. It was a secretary at the school where my kids go to school and there had been an accident. My daughter had fallen on the play ground and they thought here arm was broken. I grabbed my purse and car keys and rushed out the door.

As soon as I walked into the school office and saw my little girls arm I thought “what do you mean lady? You think it’s might be broken. The bone is about to come thru the skin” I rushed my daughter to the car and headed for the hospital.

I think we must have been in the emergency room for about 30 minutes when they took Deanna to have an x-ray done on her arm. All of a sudden I remembered my dinner was still cooking. Oh my God! I called my neighbor and had her rush over to turn off the fire under the pressure cooker. I then waited a few minutes and called her back She of course knew when her phone rang that it would be me. The first words out of her mouth “Oh my goodness do you have a mess”. Do I at this point need to tell you what had happened? I THINK NOT! And we did eat out that night because they had to take our daughter to surgery to set her arm. Then she stayed over-night.

When I got home the next morning I just about cried when I saw my kitchen and I cursed that damn pressure cooker. The mess was much worse than my first two disasters involving that blasted cooker. White chili was everywhere and since it had been setting for over 20 hours, it was stuck and dried to everything. My husband was not going to be happy about having to paint, and this time there was a whole in the ceiling to be patched.

That night I fixed my husband an extra special dinner. He was a good man, a patient man, but he was sick of painting. Just 2 weeks before this we had just redecorated a couple of bedrooms and he was not really thrilled at the idea of painting the kitchen, much less patching the hole in the ceiling or replacing the fan blades wrecked by the cookers lid. The good man I married ate his dinner, asked “Honey, what color would you like for me to paint the kitchen this time”? He then kissed me on the cheek and went out the door headed for the paint store. That evening while we had a late dessert that wonderful man asked me if I knew when I would have everything cleaned up and ready in the kitchen so he could start painting. I told him it would probably be by the week-end. After a few minutes had passed he asked if I had ever considered learning to wall paper. When I asked him why he said “so you can just pull it all off and replace if you make anymore messes with that pot you are determined to use”.

Over the weekend my wonderful husband repaired and painted the kitchen for me, and as he was finishing up he very calmly said to me, “Honey I think the kitchen of your dreams looks great but I also think you better take some lessons on wall-papering”? He didn’t come right out and say it but I knew he was letting me know that he wasn’t painting again because of one of my disasters.

As you might have gathered I come from a family of great cooks. My sister and sister-in-laws are always trying and trading new recipes. My Daddy even cooks and is actually a better cook than Mamma. And of course there are always the ladies from church with their tried and true recipes. I always passed my new recipes along to others but I never even talked them about any recipe of mine that required a pressure cooker. And you can bet your boots I never told anyone about my feeble attempts to cook a dinner in one. No, that is for sure, I have kept that secret within the walls of my home for nearly 40 years. Not even Mamma knows and she has a way of finding out everything. But I do find it strange that none of them to this very day have ever asked me if I have any good pressure cooker recipes. Only my husband, kids and my closest neighbor (who I had no choice but to call on that 1 occasion) knows about those experiences. They have all been threatened with bodily harm if they ever breathe a word to anyone.

After that last mess I decided for good that I would never use that pot again. For one thing I decided I simply couldn’t master a pressure cooker, and for another I had no intentions of delving into the business of wall-papering. So to make sure I didn’t give in to temptation ever again I took the demon out to the back yard, filled it full of dirt and planted a flower in it. Then I pitched the lit and regulators in the trash.

Now you might wonder if any of my family ever noticed my pot was in the yard with a flower in it. Well of course not because it is planted, in a very large flower pot where I grow the most beautiful bignonias you have ever laid your eyes on. Maybe it’s the aluminum (or what ever metal) but those begonias out shine any flower in the yard. At. least that pot is good for something or maybe it got tired of tormenting me.












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