Pressure Cooking

Tiffany Walton

If you don’t have an entire day to spare, then you need a pressure cooker to cook goat, oxtail or cow foot. You have to wash the meat good first. Water and vinegar, and if it’s fish, you use lime juice. We don’t concern ourselves with what the Americans say about washing meat. Mi neva meet ah island person weh tek sick over food poisoning or washing meat yet. Now you season: salt, black pepper, whole garlic and onion, all-purpose seasoning, onion powder, thyme, pimento, scallion. Don’t put too much oil. Wait until the pot gets hot before you put the meat it. You see the light smoke, it’s hot now. Put everything in. Give it a good stir. Now put the warm water in. We always have trouble finding this knob. Make sure the pot is on the stove good. Now you leave it alone on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. The pressure takes at least 10 minutes to build. There is heat. Steam. Air hissing. Pressure. All right, time to turn off the heat. Let it sit. It’s taking too long to quiet, so you have to pull the knob to release the air. 

You have to learn how to cook. (Not for your own survival, but in the service of others.)

Pressure.

Now, you have to touch up the seasoning again and let it simmer without the pressure. Add a little all-purpose seasoning again, and a habanero. 

You can’t be too spicy, and you also can’t be bland. A little personality, but not too much. Not shy because then you’re “dark”. Just polite. 

Pressure.

Don’t study man. Take up your books. Be ambitious. Now that you’ve done well, isn’t it time for a boyfriend? 

Pressure.

When you get married? When you have children? What if you don’t want or experience either? 

Pressure.

You have to make your own money. Yuh cyan depend pan man to tek care of you. Nowadays, dem wah ooman look after dem. Still, you have to let the man lead. Statistically, you will be the higher earner, but never mind that. Work in the home and outside of the home. When you come home, cook and clean, no matter who is home first. Remember, the man is the head and not the tail. 

Pressure.

What happens when, unsupervised, you put too much habanero? What about when you didn’t put enough salt, black pepper, and no all-purpose. What happens when you don’t let the air out of the pot? What if the lid blows?

Pressure.


Tiffany Walton is a twenty-something Jamaican in America. She is interested in the intersection of politics, history, feminism, food, and culture. As a self-described country gal who lacks a green thumb, her 2019 New Year’s resolution will be to learn farming and gardening basics. Her current professional work is in the philanthropic sector. At the moment, she is perusing The Africa News Cookbook: African Cooking for Western Kitchens.  She can be found on Twitter @facestygal.

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