pressure cookers

When I was growing up my dad bought my mom this weird heavy yellow pot. He was so excited about it because it could cook food fast long before the microwave. My mother was afraid of it. But like a gracious receiver she tried it.

Once you twisted the top a certain way and clicked it tight, pushed the on button it came to life. It churned and hissed and began to gather a momentum of energy that you could tangibly feel. A meter of numbers showed the rising temperature. It seemed to grow bigger and meaner every moment. When she used it (maybe three times), my mother would scoot us far out of the house and she would go out to “water”… or “garden” on purpose and guard the back door just in case we would enter. I think we even had to go to the neighbors to use the potty.

Just in case what? We treated it like it was our very own ugly fire breathing dragon and the worse part came after it had grown big and fierce with power. My brave mother would have to go in and face that thing to let out the fury. I was not allowed to be inside the house when this happened but me and my siblings could watch through a sliding glass window into the kitchen. A simple padded square of material was the only thing between my mother and peril. We watched with angst. Would she get singed to a crisp?

A strange knob at the top of the lid was pushed down and once released boiling hot steam would scream out with ferocious power, a hundred times stronger than a tea kettle; the hole simply was not big enough or fast enough to release the angry power trapped within. It was a beast and my mother was trying to tame it. It clouded the kitchen. The windows got fogged.  She could only guard herself from the pent up energy and wait until the power building inside; so big and so angry could finally empty out. Then it was safe again and we could come in to eat. What mother’s had to do to feed their children!

The old pressure cooker exploded one time and started our kitchen on fire. We were outside like usual, thank goodness. My mother asked my father to never buy her a pressure cooker ever again. I guess we were not the pressure cooker type…


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