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When I was a new mom and aspiring to nourish my family in the most wholesome and loving ways known to humankind, I wrote an essay entitled I’m in Love With My Pressure Cooker. 

It was informative and full of fun metaphors. It celebrated pressure cooking and included a favorite, kid-friendly recipe for Porcupine Meatballs. It was published 20+ years ago in a now-defunct parenting magazine and I didn’t save a copy.

I’m not sad about losing the essay. I’m sad to recall that I really WAS in love with my pressure cooker. I loved it because it offered a wee bit of control over my out-of-control life. I could prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals as quickly as picking up lasagna at A. G. Ferrari and I could do it with an old-school tool that linked me to my mother, grandmothers and aunts – all of whom cooked under pressure.

It allowed me – a full-time working mother – to kinda keep up with the stay-at-home moms in my community. It allowed me to spend less time in the kitchen so I could decorate the mantelpiece, try to knit, join a CSA, purchase wool undershirts for my kids, use Bach Flower remedies, make bone broth, volunteer at school and avoid meaningful interaction with my bewildered husband.

See what I mean about sad?

Eventually I abandoned the pursuit of Domestic Goddess-ry, forged a new, deeper friendship with my husband and obtained a happy divorce. We loved and supported our children off to college. And I lucked into sustainable relationships with both a new partner and my beloved pressure cooker.

Even now, not a week goes by that I don’t pull my pressure cooker out of its cabinet. It’s a kitchen tool I happily reach for, always mindful of the four R’s that make me love it.

Retro: It’s an aesthetically-pleasing microwave alternative. No shoving a cold dinner plate into a box, slamming a flimsy door, jabbing at vague buttons and waiting for a rude beep. With a pressure cooker, you lovingly nestle ingredients in a weighty cauldron, lock on a rubber-gasket lid, and await the ear-pleasing hiss of fragrant steam. Your vintage 1940s ruffled bib apron goes nicely with your pressure cooker, as does your Blue Willow china. Add a coffee percolator and a tin of Maxwell House and you’ve got it goin’ on.

Remembrance: Tuesday night potato soup before Mom left for choir practice 1967. Weekend morning soup beans 1970 at Great Aunt Reba’s house. Sunday afternoon football chili 1974 at Grandmother Cummins’s. The jigger-top scitter-scatter-sizzle heralded the flavorful meal to come. Comfort, nutrition and aromatherapy all in one neat dish. 

Risotto: Perfect every time in six minutes flat. Need I say more?

Reliability: Like the faithful housecleaner who trudges to your dirty doorstep every other week come rain or shine or even if MUNI isn’t on time. Like the carpool parent who always pulls into your driveway five minutes early. Like the work colleague who goes out of her way to notice your efforts. Like the sun coming up and the sun going down. Like love.

Speaking of which, I’m still in love with my pressure cooker.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Gras

Author and RealEstateTherapy curator Cynthia Cummins has been devoted to homeowners and homebuyers for three decades and counting. Visit for more information on San Francisco real estate.