The alternate title I considered for this silly piece was Google to the Rescue, but it sounds too much like an old episode of Lassie.
Hope you enjoy this true story.
Ha ha! Suck it up, lady! See what it’s like, for a change!
I was gloating with glee. How many times did my neighbour’s exotic cooking odours torture me, as they wafted down the hall and crept into my apartment. How many times did I try to conjure excuses to knock on her door, say, to borrow an onion – planning to innocently notice and rave about the delicious aroma coming from her kitchen – all in the hope of her offering me a taste.
But now, finally, it was my turn to torture her!
First, you have to know that I hardly ever cook. Call me lazy, but cooking for one, I just don’t get it. You spend way more time preparing and cleaning up than you do actually eating. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
So it was quite unusual that recently I had a craving for my famous stew. Well, famous in my family, anyway. It was one of the few things I cooked that I actually had requests for. (That, and Alpha-getti…)
Well. To treat myself to my nostalgic stew, I shopped carefully for the select ingredients I would need. On the appointed evening, I got everything ready – foodstuffs out, utensils – check, and, most important: the pressure cooker.
Let me tell you about my pressure cooker. This is my downsized version. I used to have a 5-quart model, fit for a family of mom, two kids, ‘n’ leftovers galore. Love leftovers. Less frequent cooking! But now that the kids are up and out, and I live alone, I am happy to have a much smaller 2-quart version, which I inherited from my aunt.
I had never used it until this momentous occasion.
In went the food: sautéed onions, browned beef, carrots, potatoes, sweet potato, gravy. Forgot the green beans, but what the hey. On went the cover. Up went the pressure button, pushed by the steam. Lowered the heat. Sat down, set timer for 15 minutes.
Ah, the beauty, the speed, of pressure cookers! Lord knows I was starving for a decent meal, having been on a weight-loss kick lately – 1500 calories a day, a far cry from what I’d been wolfing down before. I was so hungry I could barely stand to watch the timer tick its way down to zero.
And oh! The aroma! Yes, people, I was salivating… and that’s when I thought of my neighbour/chef down the hall getting a taste – so to speak – of her own medicine.
Beep-beep. Beep-beep. Be- DONE!! Into the kitchen I go to partake of my luscious stew!! Okay, first step, turn off burner, second step, let pot cool so steam button will fall to zero. This means waiting another 20 minutes or so. I am so hungry by now, I’m almost hyperventilating.
Okay! Ready to eat! Set the table! Open the pot! Er, open the p-… OPEN THE @!%@$# POT I said!!!! I can’t…get…the…dang…cover…OFF!!!!
I stop, reconsider, brows knitted in frustration. What the @!%@$#?! Try again, no go. Again, nope. Again. No! Arghhh!
The irony! I hardly ever cook, and just when I do, wham! My cosmic punishment for having been so lazy.
The smell of the food, just out of my reach – so near and yet so far – is driving me insane. This, I think, is the very definition of the word “tantalize.” It also is the definition of another word, one that starts with “f” and ends with “d” and has six letters.
I consider who I can enlist. Whenever I need help, I let my fingers do the walking on phone or keyboard. Let’s see – friend next door, nah, she has “weak wrists.” Son-in-law, no, it’s their Movie Nite. Oh, I know, the super! I call the well-used speed-dial number. Nadine picks up.
I describe the situation. She (and her husband in the background) offer a few suggestions (“use a knife to pry the cover off” – yeah, right, that’ll work on a .30-inch-thick steel cover and pot). Finally I dare ask, um, could one or both of them maybe come upstairs and help me? She says, “Gee, if you’d called us half an hour ago, we would’ve still been there.”
@!%@$#! The supers have left the building…along with Elvis.
Okay, there must be a solution here. I try again and again. Uhnnnnnnnnngnnng!! Gasp, pant. This @!%@$# thing is STUCK! It’s NEVER COMING OFF!!!
Well that’s not true. Guess who saves the day?
My brilliant daughter, just before she leaves for their Movie Nite, suggests I try a search. Ding ding ding!
I run to the ‘puter! Bring up Google. Type in “How to get stuck cover off pressure cooker.”
The first hit says “How to get stuck cover off pressure cooker.”
I want to marry Mr. Google.
I’ll skip the details, but will relate that, all told, it took me a total of one hour to get the @!%@$# cover off. (If – a big if – I ever use it again, I will rub a little veggie oil on the inside edges of cover and pot rim, as I should’ve done in the first place.)
At this point I was too weak – partly from my physical exertion and partly from hunger – to do a victory dance. I had just enough energy to spoon some stew onto the plate, plunk myself down and start eating.
Of course it was cold.