On Pressure Cookers and Prestigious Institutions

pressurecooker_1.jpgImage pinched from here.Whenever somebody uses the word prestigious, I immediately have images of that heavy pressure cooker. I am serious. To me the word Prestige is irreversibly tied to a cooker. So when someone says they went to a prestigious institution, I have the image of a person being surrounded by a million pressure cookers.

When we first got to London, I waited for our cardboard boxes to arrive so I could breathlessly pull out the cooker in all its glory. In the silent apartment complex that we live in, the cooker blew its whistle so loud that I thought the neighbours would be scared. But the cooker is the third member of the family here. We depend on it. I know no other reliable way of making rice. I have no idea how my mother maintained the same cooker for years. We ruin a cooker every six months.

The demise of a gasket sealing ring or the safety valve comes with its own heartbreaks. But over time, each cooker develops its individual pattern of communication. Some blow whistles like front benchers in a Kerala film theatre, and some continuously hiss – leaving you to guess if you should now reduce the temperature or just switch it off. Your first few dates with the cooker are reduced to finger crossing, second guessing and confusion.

But back to the issue of prestigious institutions. How many pressure cookers make one Prestigious Institution?

15 Comments

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15 Responses to On Pressure Cookers and Prestigious Institutions

  1. Anu

    That is so true about ruining pressure cookers every 6 months. Somehow doesn’t work right here.

    /I know no other reliable way of making rice./

    These days I use a Microwave Rice Cooker, and I must say, I’m very happy.

  2. Heh! I was just discussing with a friend how certain words lose its meaning. Like there is this travels place with an office in Chennai, called Gay Travels. It has been around forever now. And I am sure when the place was named ten or fifteen years back, gay was a perfectly innocuous happy word. May be in a 100 years from now, people might never know that another meaning for this word existed. There are perhaps many words, whose original meanings that we have lost.
    It is nice when Brands take over the language though. Marketers have a purpose to exist after all.
    And do people ever say that they went to “prestigious” institutions?! Oh dear. Though if it a number, then it must be 42.

    And speaking of cookers, there was this cover story in this woman’s magazine called Eve’s Weekly (a lifetime back) that was on the – Worst Cooker Accident Tales That I Lived To Tell! As a five year old me, it had a lasting impact.

  3. Vi

    Somehow, rice from a pressure cooker just tastes so much sweeter…the electric-cookers just don’t cut it.

  4. 1. Argos sells a large pressure cooker. Although too big for a small indian family (daal cooking?), it’s perfect for days when you have guests, as well as when you want to do some cooking for freezing!
    2. I think “prestigious” means that the institution has stress levels like a pressure cooker! ;-)

  5. I used to use a pressure cooker, until I realized cooking rice on a medium in a flat heavy bottomed pot does the job equally well, though it takes about fifteen minutes – and the rice tastes better. You need to soak the rice for about half an hour prior to cooking.

    The other method i use (without a cooker again) is for making risotto or even pongal – you put just sufficient water to barely cover the rice then you keep stirring it on high flame (adding water when required – adding spices/flavors/vegetables…as you go…if you want risotto or pongal…)….

    never used a cooker since!
    ashok

  6. I was an expert cooker-rice maker back home. Have ruined at least half a kilo of good rice trying to cook it in the residential hall microwave here, so far. And even the times I succeeded, you’re right – it just does NOT taste the same!:(

    Amongst the million things I miss about home, the pressure cooker is one of the top ones. And to think I am studying in a “prestigious institution” right now in London! Sheesh.

  7. This is for Shilpa.

    For cooking rice in microwave, use as flat a vessel as possible. Make sure there’s at least 2 inches of space left over from the top after you pour water in. The quantity of water should be twice that of rice. At 800-850W, 15 mins should do it! Have fun! ;-)

  8. dipali

    Absolutely brilliantly prestigious! Though I’ve been a lifelong Hawkins user, I guess prestige is a proper noun, alright, at least for all us pressure cooking Indians!

  9. A subtle hint at the need to redefine what ‘prestigious’ means, especially when it comes to academic and professional institutions? What relates to the stomach has gone for the makeover, now for what relates to the mind too.

  10. Anu: I’ll take your word. But I am very emotionally attached to cookers. Sniff.

    Primalsoup: Talking about magazines – remember that horrorshow called Women’s Era?

    Vi: A woman after my own heart!

    Just Mohit: Umm. Will take a look. Though chances are that I will pick up one more cooker from India in December. Heh!

    Ashok: Let’s just say I am a very lazy person. Standing and stirring on an everyday basis somehow never appeals to me. But yes, as a stopgap measure – that must be tried.

    Shilpa: I’ve found that apart from using a nice wide vessel – it helps to cover the vessel with the thin plastic film. Keeps the water from boiling over. Prestigious institution eh?

    dipali: Hawkins fan? The reason I didn’t like Hawkins was that I never got used to its “glide-in-glide-out” lid mechanism. I much like the Prestige – “lock in” mechanism. But a cooker is a cooker etc. :)

    Pradeep: More than a subtle hint me thinks.

  11. Hmmm, and i thought i was the only smart one planning on picking up one more from India in December! ;-)
    Actually, the one we’d brought just gave up! :(

  12. Heh, it still exists too. In this world of Cosmo, Elle and Marie Clarie, it bravely prevails, complete with – How I met my husband and Teenache! :) Yes yes, I used to read those.

  13. airbus

    I have the perfect cooker for you – Hawkins ka Futura! Try kar ke dekho! No no I’m not being lookist, it really is a good cooker. I’ve had one for over 2 years and used for everything from chicken biryani to rajma to my favourite, kaali daal, known as dal makhni in its restaurant avatar. Have loved the results for everything.

  14. dipali

    grew up in a Hawkins family, but since being presented with a prestige type, am equally comfortable with both.Guess the Prestige body is easier to clean- no dirt hiding under the rim!

  15. Wow, thanks Mohit, Neha:)

    Neha – yeah, the one sandwiched between Holborn and Aldwych. (if you’ve been a Londoner long enough you might know):)