Along the way, I learned a couple things about kids:
- kids will eat foods they help prepare so I always recommend child safe veggie peelers as a must have in the kitchen
- you can slip a lot of nutrition into soup and thererby into your kids without them even suspecting what you are up to!
- kids love to see things close up, so don't be afraid to keep a magnifying glass or microscope nearby
As I became a little older and hopefully more savvy, I began to look for ways to economize for the sake of my time, and that led me to a store called "Fortunoff's" now gone, but was then "The Source" a destination spot for many a young homemaker looking for obscure kitchen items like my fish turner and my measuring spoons (dash, pinch, and smidge sized). It was there I purchased my first actual pressure cooker, a kitchen gadget of cartoon lore for most of my generation...I know for sure my mom never had one, and the only rare others I'd seen were in the basements of older neighbors.
This little stovetop appliance became my number one go to gadget anytime I was making soup, stew, rice, pasta, you name it, if it boiled it went in the pressure cooker. Chickens that formerly boiled for 2+ hours to make soup were ready for adding veggies in 30 minutes and tasted delicious when done. When cooking short ribs or other meats, I generally brown the meat and the onions in the bottom of the cooker with a little oil before adding water and the lid, it makes for a delicious full flavored gravy and I never worry that the meat will be tough.
Cooking accounts for approximately 10% of the energy used in a home, and pressure cookers cut cooking time by 60-70%, so by using this handy gadget, you can significantly cut you energy usage, good for you and good for the enviorment. The shortened cooking time also means that your kitchen doesn't overheat, essential if you live in a warmer climate.
The most difficult thing about using a pressure cooker is getting over the fear of buying one, if this sounds like you get a less expensive one to start $50-$60 and try it, you will wear it out in time and want a better one. By that time you will know it was worth the investment and $100-$200 will not seem like much at all. Stainless steel, in my opinion, is better than aluminum, they hold up better with no fear of leaching of mineral content and they are better for browning meats. Always remember to wash the gasket by hand even though the rest of the pot is dishwasher safe.
When designing a new kitchen always remember to discuss with your kitchen designer what types of small appliances and pots you use so they can make sure your new kitchen offers the proper storage solutions to meet your needs.