A Belated Admission

by Marina Chotzinoff

Dear Dad,

You were right. Pressure cookers ARE great. Fall-aparty meat is where it’s at and pressure cookers can deliver in 15 minutes flat. I’m sorry I screamed and cried and ran from the room when you tried to make me use one. “What were you, like eight?” Ryan asked as I told him the story. “No, more like fifteen. And I was scared of air pumps and bicycle tires, jumper cables and anything else that might potentially explode.” But in thinking back on this awesome display of drama on my part, I think I am realizing I was in college. And I was just that freaked out and damned if I was going to die making stew.

In fact, it was only last year that I used a pressure cooker all by my grownup self for the first time. I made caramelized carrot soup in 10 minutes and it was awesome. Since then I have made kamut which insisted it wanted an overnight soaking in about fifteen minutes and tonight we did country style pork ribs in the same time. And, dad, I think you would be proud….minus the fatiness of the ribs…even though we first browned and rendered them in a pan, pressure cooked them in the amazing smoked tea, five spice liquid from my tea egg salad (which you also would have loved), then grilled them to crispy, tender love.

I don’t think you’d give more then a shrug to the grilled sweet potatoes with truffled mayo and you might be fooled by the sesame chard as it so closely resembles spinach. Who can say what you’d think of our blooming, blossoming garden the chard came from as it sits on top of what used to be your beloved swimming pool. Though we did plant a plot of corn which is looking pretty good. I hope it taste as good as yours, but looks a little better than the 2 inch wheel of gnarled edible kernels on the otherwise barren cobs.

I know you’d be impressed with the way my daughter can put away a pile of meat, hates onions, anything too spicy, and would drink her weight in sticky sweet drinks if anyone let her. But we do have some work to do. Even with warning, when I went to de-pressurize the pressure cooker, she went screaming from the kitchen, hands over each ear and the most furrowed brow I’ve ever seen. She loves cooking with me, but I can see already we have some culinary hills to climb.  Here’s hoping exposure will do the trick and that it won’t take a few decades to recognize great tools.

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