Friday, September 26, 2008
Grandma's Pressure Cooker
The stainless steel pressure cooker gleamed as Grandma took it out of the box, but not as brightly as her smile. Grinning like a schoolgirl, she thanked Grampa for the birthday gift."How did you know? I've always wanted one of these! It will make cooking and canning so much easier!"
She pecked him on the cheek as the family clapped and hooted their approval.
"Grammy, we all helped to buy it," little Jimmy blurted out. "I gave Grampa a quarter." Everyone laughed and nodded in agreement.
"Well, thank you all! This is the best birthday present I ever got!"
Like a child with a new toy, she had to try it out. For the next week, she cooked everything in that pot. On Monday she made pot roast and called Tanya and the boys over for dinner. Tuesday it was beef stew with the leftovers for Shirley and her husband Dean.
Spaghetti sauce bubbled in the pot on Wednesday which she ladled into jars to give to each of the grandchildren and on Thursday she made pea soup according to her prize-winning recipe.
She soaked the dried peas overnight, then drained off the water early the next morning before adding carrots and ham with just the right seasonings. She fastened the lid, careful to be sure it was secure and turned up the heat. With supper on the stove, she headed outside to collect the dry laundry flapping on the line.
The breeze cooled her flushed face after the heat of the kitchen. As she hung each towel and sheet on the line, she lifted her face heavenward and breathed a prayer for each of her children.
"Thank you Lord for such a wonderful family." She lifted her eyes toward heaven and beamed. "They are so good to me."
A loud crash in the kitchen interrupted her reverie. She dropped the sheet she was hanging up and threw down the clothespins as she raced back inside to see what happened.
Pea soup dotted her curtains. Carrots stained the ceiling and the cat lapped bits of ham off the floor. Grandma looked around in dismay. "What happened here? My soup...my new pressure cooker!"
She picked up the lid lying on the floor and wiped away some of the gooey green mess. The once shiny lid, sported a nice dent. She blinked away the hot tears threatening to spill out as she surveyed the mess.The glass door of her corner cupboard would need to be replaced and her favorite souvenir salt and pepper shakers from Niagara Falls lay shattered on the floor among the soupy remains.
"This will take all afternoon to clean up! And what will I make for supper now? Everyone was waiting for my pea soup." Exhaling forcefully,Grandma gulped back her frustrations and set to work on the mess. She shooed the kitten out of the kitchen before mopping up. Three hours later, her curtains hung on the clothesline and floor sparkled from the vigorous scrubbing.
Grandma got out the fixings for macaroni and cheese and soon had the mixture bubbling in the oven. She plopped down in her recliner and fanned herself with her apron, breathing hard and holding her aching head. She examined the lid from the cooker to see what had caused it to explode. A clogged vent had prevented the steam from escaping, causing pressure to build up dangerously high. After a brief rest, Grandma went to the basement and found the box for her pressure canner. She packed it away and toted to to the attic.
We all wondered why Grandma never used her pressure cooker again, our mouths watering at the memories of her culinary treats. When we asked her, she just smiled and said, "It's just too much work!"
Can you tell I have been canning and preserving a lot these days - even my Fiction Friday story is geared that way!
Fiction Friday is being hosted today by Joanne over at her site An Open Book. To participate, post your story on your blog, then visit Joanne and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box.
Be sure to check out the other great stories this week! And don't forget to leave a comment for the authors.