What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

pressure cooker sealing ring

on April 24, 2014

During the second of three periods I spent as a poor graduate student (which was the poorest), as a gift-giving holiday approached, my parents asked me what I wanted. “A pressure cooker,” I answered. For ethical reasons, I’d begun trying to eat lower on the food chain. For simple economy, I based my diet on beans and rice. A pressure cooker can cut the cooking time of legumes from two hours to 20 minutes, which meant less time spent as a poor, hungry grad student.

I still have and use the 4-quart pressure cooker Mom and Dad gave me that Christmas thirty years ago. It’s been joined by a huge model we use for home canning, and a mid-sized cooker I saved from a neighbor’s trash bin. (Their shed, my gain.) The smaller two double as stock pots, pasta boilers, and (blush) popcorn poppers. But they still see weekly use as originally intended, to quickly cook dense foods under higher than atmospheric pressure.

This magic depends, however, on good seals, which age attacks and heat destroys. Lately the little pot has been leaking steam when I cook the weekly batch of pintos. I know from past experiments that I could get another two or three months out of the seal by coating it with vegetable oil before use. But simplifying my life is teaching me when to act—which is usually some species of now! The Great Department Store in the Cloud will get a chance to fulfill an order for a “Presto Pressure Cooker Sealing Ring/Automatic Air Vent Pack (3 – 4 Quart).” I last ordered one in 2009. Its length of service isn’t bad bad economy, I judge.

Though it may look otherwise, the circle isn't unbroken.

Though it may look otherwise, the circle isn’t unbroken.

shedding style: replace, throw away
destination: landfill

Comments welcome … do any of your tools of daily living need replacement parts?


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