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Telling Tales: It’s a new name but the same old game

Becky Andrews and Angel Kane • Updated Jan 21, 2018 at 12:00 PM

I remember my mother had a pressure cooker. She didn’t use it often, but when she did, we had stew. 

I think it may have belonged to my grandmother. It was big and heavy with a large, black clamp that went across the top. Dad would usually do the honors of securing and locking it down. 

And then it would sit on the stovetop for hours and hours and hours. The whole time it shook, whistled and sprayed like a ticking time bomb ready to explode. Over and over, we were told to not go near it. No worries, I would say to my 8-year-old self. Pretty darn sure if that top came off, it was going to leave a mark.

Even back then, I remember thinking it sure seemed like quite a lot of effort for stew, especially since no one in the family really liked stew. 

I’m not sure what happened to it, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s now resting in peace between dad’s George Foreman grill and mom’s panini maker.  

Cut to the last six weeks, and all I keep hearing about is Instant Pot. Seems like everyone got one for the holidays, except me. Since then, the whole world is slicing, dicing and cooking homemade meals for their families in a matter of minutes. Facebook groups have popped up, along with photos of all that deliciousness repeatedly appearing in my feed. I couldn’t understand why no one thought to get me one.

“Because you don’t cook,” noted my oldest. 

“But I would if I had this,” I assured them. 

After a few days of Pinterest perusing, I decided to invest in one myself. From the sound of it, I’d be making my mama’s stew in about 15 minutes flat.

As I pulled the contraption out of the box, my youngest decided now was the perfect time to show me photos of injuries related to my newly purchased miracle meal maker. Burns, scars and disfigurement were all over the internet. A class-action lawsuit was in the works. Turns out, the Instant-Pot was nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

I had just purchased a dreaded pressure cooker.

Considering, however, that we now have self-driving cars, I forged ahead. Assured that that Instant Pot was nothing like my mother’s death trap from decades past. 

First, I must confess, the directions were overwhelming. 

Not because they were difficult, but because all I could picture were the photos shown to me one hour before. I read and re-read the directions. The last thing I needed was for this top to blow off, and my head to be cut off.

I don’t even like stew.

Throwing caution to the wind, I proceeded ahead. Since we don’t like stew and have I mentioned that enough, I settled on chicken noodle soup as my two youngest children were sick. 

Call me Betty Crocker or super mom – whichever you prefer. 

Seriously, though, should I not be getting a mother of the year award any day now? I was making homemade soup with a pressure cooker. I hope they remembered this the next time I brought home Taco Bell for five days straight. 

All the ingredients were in, lid was securely clamped down, I hit the “on” button and waited. 

There was no rocking, spitting or hissing. Instead, it was silent, eerily silent, deathly silent. 

Was it cooking? Should I try to take the lid off? What was going on in there? 

I waited some more. The silence was maddening. 

Finally, about 10 minutes later, the time came for me to hit the release valve to let out the steam and unlock the top. 

I took a deep breath. This must be what the bomb squad feels like. But it was worse, because I had no training. 

Off came the top, and there below was my first batch of homemade soup. Fifteen minutes from start to finish. And no one was injured in the process. 

Now to figure out where I’m going to store this thing.  

Oh yes, next to my George Foreman grill and last year’s juicer.   

Comments? You can email Angel Kane at [email protected] Becky Andrews and Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.

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