Small Bites: Pressure cookers rehabilitated and a fruitful life in food

by Terry B on March 21, 2012

Modern, non-exploding (and even programmable) pressure cookers and celebrating Women’s History Month with the woman who launched Julia Child’s career are the subjects of recent USA Character Approved Blog posts.

My mom had a pressure cooker. She loved it. But for the rest of us, it was kind of like having Mt. Vesuvius in your kitchen. You didn’t know when it was going to blow, but you knew it would be bad. More than once, I remember my mom cleaning stew or pot roast or something off the kitchen ceiling. She took it in stride. Mom took lots of stuff in stride, as I recall.

Still, I have to think she’d love the new generation of pressure cookers. They’re just as efficient at cooking foods up to 70 percent faster and don’t involve as much potential drama. Find out more about these classic timesavers made safe in my latest post on the USA Character Approved Blog.

Women’s History Month: Judith Jones gave us Julia—and herself a life in food

In some ways, celebrating a woman’s accomplishments in the kitchen for this month seems regressive, especially given our current political climate. But Judith Jones’s accomplishments were singular. For most of us, she’s the editor who spotted Julia Child’s genius in a cookbook other publishers had turned down and fought to have it recognized. Her editorial résumé extends far beyond Julia, though, both with other food writers and with one of the giants of 20th century American literature.

In her Manhattan kitchen, both with her husband and later on her own, Jones has cooked up quite a life. She’s written a couple of stellar food-related books as well, her most recent being the warm and sensibly practical (much like Jones herself) The Pleasures of Cooking for One. You can read more about this amazing woman in my recent post celebrating Women’s History Month on the USA Character Approved Blog.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

kitchenriffs March 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I’ve never cooked with a pressure cooker (I remember those food on the ceiling disasters from my youth) but have been thinking about trying it. The equipment certainly has improved!

Good point re celebrating women’s accomplishments in the kitchen seems a tad regressive. That said, it was watching Julia Child in the early 60′s that got me interested in food as something other than mere substance. In my childhood the only interesting food was at holidays; the rest of the time it was pretty boring stuff. Julia Child showed me that not only did it not have to be that way, it was weird that it was.

Terry B March 23, 2012 at 3:05 am

Kitchenriffs, this new generation of pressure cookers has me intrigued too, especially because I love slow-cooked dishes. And if you can cook them faster, that’s very interesting. Also, thanks for sharing your experience with Julia Child. She touched many, many people, as much with her warmth and charm as with her amazing cooking. We’re all very lucky that Judith Jones championed her first book.

kitty March 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm

ha, we have a pressure cooker taking precious space in our closet, because I can’t get over the anxiety of using it. But a couple European friends of mine swear by the device.
Thanks for reminding me to give it a 2nd chance!

Terry B March 26, 2012 at 3:11 am

Good luck, Kitty! Be sure to post photos of your triumph or aftermath.

Anna March 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm

I own 4 pressure cookers. One I’ve had about 40 years. I learned to love them with it and thankfully never had any problems – maybe because I wouldn’t leave it alone in the kitchen when in use. Now I use the 5 quart digital pressure cooker/slow cooker, or my big low-pressure pressure cooker (just made a chicken in it which is providing meals for at least 4 nights; two weeks ago it was pulled pork). I’ve also got a deep 10-quart stock pot type pressure cooker that I love for soup stock. I wouldn’t want to be without one. I use them more than the slow cooker since, if necessary, I CAN start from frozen meat and still have dinner on time.

Maria Davidson May 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm

I love to cook with Pressure Cookers. Homemade soup is delicious and perfect in the winter months, but nothing is worse than waiting hours upon hours for your masterpiece to be complete and ready to eat. Even worse, soups are generally better the next day, giving you even longer to wait.

alexis recettes avec caviar October 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

I remember my mom using pressure cooker and I definitely love the beef melting in my mouth. Although I love the end product, I would say I’m not that patient especially with cooking! Thank goodness for the pressure cooker of today. :)

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