My favorite kitchen tool


Originally uploaded by susancoyotesfan

This is one of my favorite kitchen items. It is my Presto pressure cooker, circa sometime mid twentieth century. It belonged to my husband’s grandmother, and we inherited it when Oscar, my husband’s grandfather died at the ripe age of 97. Yes, it’s dirty on the top because it’s cooking our dinner.

This is a life saver for days like today, when we both were busy studying and taking tests for our on line classes. Neither of us came up for air or remembered about dinner until 6 pm; so, there’s a ham hock with veggies and rice in there cooking. In less than an hour we’ll have dinner (plus prep time, about 45 min).

Wow, you say. Nearly two hours to make dinner??? Well, it beats the hell out of a frozen meal, made with God only knows what for ingredient sources, and preservatives to boot. Everything came from our freezer or our storage. And it surely beats the hell out of spending money on a take out meal.

Believe it or not, a pressure cooker can use less power than a crockpot or regular cooking. That’s because the pressure makes the food cook faster. I could make it even more efficient by cooking on my rocket stove, or by bringing it to pressure and then putting it into my haybox cooker to finish coming back down to atmospheric pressure. In the summer this may well be cooking on my firepit outside, or on my campstove.

My haybox cooker is a wine case with styrofoam glued to the outside, and nested in a cardboard box.  I use an old felted wool blanket folded in it as the ‘hay’ because it’s neater and holds heat really well.

All in all, this has been a lifesaver for two college students trying to maintain honors gpa’s while still working. If only I could find a lifesaver that would help us out that much with laundry and housekeeping.

2 responses

  1. We frequently take something off the burner, set it on the counter, and wrap it in blankets — save about half the watts. Or in winter, put it in a small crock in the first place and just set the crock in the dishwater (which is a stock pot full of water on the wood stove, doubling as a humidifier). I have a p. cooker but its gasket isn’t quite right. I wonder if I could use it to bake, on top of the woodstove … ?

  2. Now that’s an interesting question…I would bet it would function like a dutch oven if you just removed the gasket in case it melted.

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