Both my mother and my grandmother often cooked with a pressure cooker. It’s great for wild meat, or tougher stuff like beef or goat. But I didn’t start using the pressure cooker until after I had the kids and it’s because once at my grandmother’s house, I watched her open it up the pressure cooker before it had fully cooled down, and the lid shot up nine feet in the air, with steam and food pushing it up like a geyser. It hit the ceiling above her stove and clattered back down on the concrete floor frighteningly loud. I was little. Maybe not even double digits yet. And I remember the way my whole body tightened. When I un-squeezed my eyes and looked around, there was food everywhere, most astonishingly, on the roof. The stains remained there for weeks.
The pressure cooker is good for food, if you’re careful. I have learned to use it and it cuts my cooking time in half and gives me great results. But today I feel like I’m in a pressure cooker myself with the two novels I’m working on. I can feel the heat and tension building steadily and quickly inside of me but unfortunately the work isn’t progressing any faster. So the tension builds, and I’m trying not to pop out too early and hit the ceiling. But there is no guarantee that when the pressure reaches its peak, that the work I have done will be as beautiful as my grandmother’s curried goat.