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Now in her nineties, Marguerite Patten introduced the pressure cooker to austerity Britain in the late Forties.

Sarah Lonsdale The Telegraph
Now in her nineties, Marguerite Patten introduced the pressure cooker to austerity Britain in the late Forties.

Now in her nineties, Marguerite Patten introduced the pressure cooker to austerity Britain in the late Forties.


How many of us remember pressure cookers? They evoke my Seventies childhood, along with the candlelit suppers and shared baths of the three-day week and the energy crisis. My siblings and I loved the rituals of the candle lighting, and the forced abandonment of homework, but it was hard for our mother, preparing food for six hungry mouths in the flickering penumbra.



Then she bought a pressure cooker, a hissing monster that sat on the stove top, tenderising even the cheapest cuts of meat in minutes. When the crisis passed, my mother tucked it at the back of the pot cupboard where it has sat since.

Now with a new design and modern energy-conserving image, the pressure cooker is back and who better to herald its return than doyenne of the kitchen Marguerite Patten, whose new paperback, The Pressure Cooker Cook Book, was released this year.

Now in her nineties, Marguerite introduced the pressure cooker to austerity Britain in the late Forties and is amused at the way it only returns during crises.

“Pressure cookers come out of the attic or under-stairs cupboard when there is an energy or financial crisis, but then when the crisis is over people forget about them,” she says. “They save cooks huge amounts of energy. For example, the average stew might take three hours in a conventional oven, but only 25 minutes in a pressure cooker.


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