A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life

Snip20180105_1This book was so much fun.  I bought a pressure cooker several months ago. I do not have a lot of recipes and I haven’t a history of using one.  I was talking to a friend about my purchase and she had just read a review on this book.  Our State Library had it so I checked it out. Oddly enough it is my first book of 2018.  I started it last year but put it down to read Orwell and then picked it up again when finished.  The State Library summary of the book is as follows:


When Juanita Phillips stumbled on an old pressure cooker in an op shop, it changed her life. As a frantically busy working mother, she was desperate for solutions to that modern dilemma: how to juggle kids, career, housework and marriage. The pressure cooker helped her solve one of the biggest problems – preparing daily healthy meals – but that was just the beginning. She and her husband decided to transform their chaotic life in other ways too, and where it led them was surprising. This candid confession of a failed supermum offers practical tips for anyone searching for a calmer, simpler, healthier life. Includes: The Amazing 7-Minute Risotto and other pressure cooker recipes How to find more than 24 hours in a day, role reversal: the pros and cons of house-husbandry. This is the guilt-free guide to cutting housework.  (Tasmania State Library Summary)

Juanita Phillips, the author, was working as a newsreader for ABC broadcasting in Sydney., Australia she had over an hour commute to work, two small children at home, a busy husband and was working full time.  She had a nervous breakdown on air and knew she had to do something to change her life.

There is a lot of discussion in this book wondering if women can in fact ‘have it all’.  It is biographical in nature. She focuses on succeeding in a busy profession, feeding her kids, how to achieve sharing household duties with her husband more fairly and the general problems they had coming to terms with running a household fairly. Quite a bit had to change and she discusses it at length.

She discusses the history of women’s issues going back to the 1950’s and their role in marriage, employment and raising children.  This isn’t usually the type of book I go for but I really enjoyed it. One of the more pleasant aspects of this book is it is a big book with whole pages devoted to illustrations from the past. When I say a ‘big book’, I mean the pages are big. The print is large. It is fun.

Unfortunately I had to take this book back to the library and did not remember to photograph these pages. There are advertisements from the 50’s and 60’s and posters of women that have been published over the years along with pages of quotations scattered amongst pages of text.

There are some recipes but one would not buy this book as a recipe book.  She does talk about how she learned to use her pressure cooker. It was great in fixing multiple meals to later take to work for lunches and to feed her young children during the week.  She made lots of meals, popped them into the freezer and then had them available when getting home late from work.

There was an interesting chapter or two on the different ways her husband cared for the children on his days home as compared to hers and how she had to get used it.  She spends a bit of time talking about the differences between men and women raising children.

There is a good bibliography, the book is Australian and Juanita is a good writer.  I think people who like recipes, household management, time management and have a family would enjoy this book.

I am not a big recipe hound, I don’t have a large household, my time management has always been very good but I barely need it now I’m retired and I really enjoyed reading about the practical application of so many skills in this.

As for using the pressure cooker in my own home, I just got this book in the post today


and look forward to looking at it. It is an American book, chock a block with recipes for pressure cookers and I look forward to learning to use this contraption without jumping six feet in the air and running out of the kitchen when I release the pressure at the end of a cooking cycle.   The downside of this book is being American the measurements are all pounds and ounces.  Having been in Australia now 30 years I am more accustomed to using metric measurements which I LOVE as it is so much easier to do conversions.  But I do have apps on my tablet and conversion tables on my fridge so it will only be a minor annoyance.

Do any of you use a pressure cooker? Do any of you read books about them?  (chuckle here).

This book counts for 2010 in the Century of Challenges.

10 thoughts on “A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life

  1. While I was reading this, I had a slow cooker in mind – a very different thing! It seems like slow cooker recipes are everywhere these days, but these are the first I’ve seen for a pressure cooker. I’m off to see if our libraries have this book.


    1. When I was looking up books for this topic of pressure cookers I noticed a trend for ( I think it is called ) One Pots. They are a combination of pressure cookers or slow cookers. Can be used as once. I am not a kitchen munchkin so it was all new to me.


  2. I don’t have a pressure cooker, but the book sounds like great fun. Have to look for it. I am also happily retired. The last 20 years of my working life was a constant stress. We got our son late so he finished school about the same time as I retired (early!). I think this kind of cooking is probably rather healthy. Have to look into it.

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  3. books like this can be a lot of fun… i remember my mom using a pressure cooker sometimes; she was always a bit nervous about it and so the rest of the family was, also… it never blew up, though, that i know about…


    1. I remember hearing awful stories about them. My mother never had one. When we first moved to Australia in 1988, we were put up in an apartment by the education department for six months upon arriving. The kitchen had one and I learned how to use it then. The fact it cooked food so fast and the food was good was a drawing point. We then moved into another unit which didn’t have it and I forgot about it. It was only recently I see their popularity appears to be improving again.


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