Under Pressure

Pressure cooking is suddenly in the limelight again. It looks like it's the next new wave after slow cooking in the crockpot. If you grew up like me -- in a home where beans, legumes and pulses were eaten on a daily basis -- you're probably grateful that an efficient and effective cooking method is finally being recognized, and you're possibly also quite aghast at the various myths that are being repeated ad nauseam, especially the one that pressure cookers are dangerous because they explode in your face.

Indian pressure cooker
releasing pressure

There's no doubt that they used to explode and there were two reasons for that: poor manufacturing and user error (which, unfortunately, continues even today). Modern pressure cookers, especially the kind that don't open until the pressure has subsided, are much safer but so are the old-style ones with a weighted pressure-release, if used properly. If you continue to hear stories about how they explode, then more often than not, it is user error.

This reminds me of the recent article that said that immersion or hand blenders are dangerous because many people have almost lost their fingers to the blade. Well, it's only common sense that if the appliance is not unplugged, a blade that is jammed will start spinning as soon as the obstruction has been removed. But, since common sense is rather rare, it is easier to tarnish the appliance with the label: Dangerous.

I am still wondering why the author of that particular article was using an immersion blender for butter that was meant to go into chocolate chip cookies, and how an article of that kind made it into The New York Times. And, if she will ever be able to live it down.

I must say that I am rather surprised that such people still drive cars.

Or use a knife.

Not Quite Bananas

You know how folks say "My Grandma taught me and I do it the same way she did," implying that Grandma always knew best. Well, maybe not. At least not when it came to prepping banana blossom.

Everyone I talked to told me that banana blossoms are a pain to prep and clean. That the sap stains everything it touches, and blackened fingers are an indication of a family satiated on banana blossoms. To avoid these stains, they said, you must rub oil all over your hands before you touch a banana blossom. Or, in modern times, the suggestion is to wear thin food-safe gloves.

The very first time I prepped banana blossom, I rubbed a little bit of oil on my finger tips, but only because I didn't know what to expect. The next few times I knew what I had to do and didn't bother with any oil. Yes, it's true; you don't need to oil your hands or wear gloves when you're prepping banana blossoms.

All you need is the following: a sharp knife, and a medium pot half-filled with water and the juice of half a lemon.

Sunday Snapshots: Banana Blossom

What?! Are Sunday Snapshots back?! I hope so, my friend, I hope so!

Banana blossoms are considered to be exotic in the US. They shouldn't be as the banana plant is one of the oldest plants known to man and the banana fruit one of the most common fruits. The banana plant makes pretensions to be a tree when, in fact, it is the largest flowering herbaceous plant. If you haven't seen a banana blossom before, then these Sunday Snapshots might interest you.

Banana blossom
Purple red blossom

Banana blossom
Always intriguing