Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

May 12, 2013

Ed Hungness: Heinous acts tarnish American staple

Recently a friend of mine was in the national news.

Sadly, the two Boston terrorists made use of two pressure cookers to construct improvised explosive devices. The result was tragic.

As the story unfolded, I was surprised to learn of their selection of this vessel as a weapon of war. Prior to the incident in Boston, I had not heard of a pressure cooker being used to construct a bomb, but apparently it is common among terrorists. The ironic part of this news event is that I had been planning to write a column about my grandmother’s pressure cooker. Hopefully we can take a nostalgic journey back to simpler and happier times.

It was 1952 and I was running down the sidewalk, heading home after having attended an after-school meeting of Den 3, my Cub Scout group. Since I had gone directly from school to my friend’s house for the Scout meeting, I hadn’t had my after-school snack and I was hungry.

I hurried along the length of the driveway and dashed up the stairs of our front porch. I flung open the door and wasted no time going into the warmth of our home. Coming from the kitchen was the telltale rattling sound of the relief valve jiggling on Mom’s pressure cooker. Dinner was cooking!

From the mouth-watering aroma, I knew what was on the menu for supper: beef pot roast, potatoes, carrots, onions and delicious, thick, brown gravy. Oh how I loved that gravy!

My mother and grandmother had identical cookers and used them often. They were proud owners of Mirro-Matic Pressure Pans manufactured by The Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Co. in Manitowoc, Wis. Produced in 1946, they were even guaranteed by the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

At my young age, I had little interest in the pan itself, but had developed a keen fondness for what came out of it. I was a growing boy and always hungry.

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