It’s springtime, which means that electric pressure cooker you got for Christmas has taken up residence in your kitchen for a few months now.
Perhaps you’re like me, and let it sit in its box for several weeks before you decided that you for sure wanted to keep it. Maybe you’re more confident with small appliances and ripped the box open, boldly prying it from it’s styrofoam entrapment and immediately started perusing Pinterest for some mouth watering recipes.
Regardless of which you identify with more, you most likely experienced at least a few moments of pressure cooker reluctance.
Perhaps you even had the thought, “Why do I need this? My crockpot is just fine. It may have killed Jack Pearson on “This Is Us,” but that’s probably an unlikely scenario.
Sure, it takes 8 hours to make me dinner and there are permanent food stains adorning the inside of it. But it’s reliable, familiar, and comfortable. With a crockpot, you can continually peak under that lid all day long if you wanted to, receiving constant reassurance that your food is safe, it still smells appetizing, and things look like they’re going to be ok.
That Pressure Cooker, on the Other Hand…
In contrast, the pressure cooker requires complete commitment.
After prepping your food, you must retrieve the giant lid that looks like it was designed by NASA, cover your food and click the lid in place. Things are beeping, lights are flashing, and you realize that you’re completely letting go of the fate of that chuck roast. It’s out of your hands now. You are NOT in control. You hear a sudden burst of steam. Then a thud. What’s happening in there? You can’t find out, it’s too late now. Opening it would mean releasing steam and then having to start all over again.
At this point, it’s better to distract oneself with a back up side dish, so if your roast comes out looking like something that should be shrink-wrapped and sold in the jerky aisle, you can at least put out a nice salad.
Also, now that you have a pressure cooker, everything you thought you knew about cooking is obsolete. An hour to cook a whole chicken? Try 22 minutes. Twelve minutes for a bag of pasta? Try 5. How am I supposed to plan a meal under such bizarre circumstances?
The Big Moment
You hear a beep and you see some flashing red lights. It’s the moment of truth.
You put on your bulkiest oven mitt. Armed for a possible alien encounter, you turn the knob to release the pressure. Steam gushes from the top and you cover your head to protect yourself from any possible debris. You then you hear a friendly chiming sound. You twist open the lid, and to your amazement, you have the most beautiful looking pot roast you have ever seen. Julia Child would scratch her head in amazement at the sight of it.
You spear your roast with a large fork to lift it out but it nearly splits in two, with tender pieces falling onto a steaming bed of caramelized onions and buttery carrots. Just 90 minutes before, you said goodbye to this large, red piece of meat and those chunks of raw vegetables. It all tastes as if its been simmering in a cast iron pot over a wood fire for hours, while you gave it your constant attendance, poking it and altering its seasoning.
You have new respect for this strange and unusual appliance. Before long, it becomes your dear friend to whom you whisper words of gratitude when it’s 5pm and you haven’t defrosted anything for dinner. Pressure cooker to the rescue! You want to paint racing stripes on it and build it its very own display cabinet. It makes you look like you know what you’re doing.
Thank you, dear pressure cooker. I’m sorry I ever doubted you.