KEYWORDS: pressure, trailer, cooker, steam, cooking

Have Trailer--Will Travel--Part 16: Pressure Cooking, Napkins & Floors

David Berg


—By Father David

1. YOU CERTAINLY DO NOT NEED AN OVEN IN A TRAILER!—Let me tell you that right now! Forget those fancy trailers with ovens! We had an oven in our huge Motor Home, but I forbade them to even use it! Oven-cooking is the most wasteful cooking there is! It wastes more energy, fuel & heat than any other kind of cooking! It is extremely wasteful, inefficient & unnecessary! Even when we are living in a house I forbid the family to use the oven unless it is cold Wintertime & we can use the heat!

2. A TRAILER IS SO SMALL & the space you have to heat is so tiny, that an oven is just too much, even in Wintertime!—It'll drive you out of the trailer! You'll have to open the doors & windows to try to cool off! So forget trailers that have ovens, & if you've already got an oven, forget it! It only makes an extra place to store your pots & pans, that's all I can say for it! Besides, who needs an oven? Who's baking sweets & cakes & things like that? We're not supposed to be eating that kind of junk! The only other kinds of cooking you use ovens for is roasts, baked casseroles etc., & that is the most expensive, wasteful, inefficient way to cook anything! So just forget your oven!

3. WHEN LIVING IN A TRAILER IN SUMMERTIME, YOU'LL FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO USE AN OVEN!—It's almost impossible to even cook inside at all, unless you open up all the doors, windows & all! And then if you're not properly screened, the flies come pouring in, especially if you're cooking meat! So you certainly don't want or need an oven in a trailer‚ & you certainly don't want to use it if you have it, except for storing pots & pans!

4. FINALLY AT THE END OF THE DAY when the sun has begun to set & things begin to cool off & maybe you have a little cool breeze, you can stand to light up the fire & have one hot meal, preferably a one–dish hot meal‚ the ideal thing for trailer life! Now this means some kind of jumbalaya, chicken & rice‚ creamed tuna on toast or stew or something that you only have to light one burner to heat up, so that you don't have to have two burners going full blast heating up the trailer on a hot Summer evening.

5. THE MOST IDEAL THING FOR THIS PURPOSE IS A PRESSURE COOKER! It is a tremendous heat-saver, fuel-saver, time–saver, food–saver & people-saver! And once you've learned how to use it, you'll be so converted you'll never want to use anything else! It's so simple to cook your meals in a pressure cooker! But some people are afraid of them because of the pressure & all the warnings etc., & they don't know how to use'm, so they're scared to use them at all! They know they don't like it because they never tried it!

6. LIKE MY LITTLE BOY HO SAID ABOUT SOME NEW FOOD we tried to give him: He said he didn't like it. So I asked, "Why don't you like it?" & he says, "I know I don't like it, 'cause I never had any before!" Well‚ that's not a very good reason. He didn't really know if he liked it or not‚ as he'd never had any before. So you may think you don't like pressure cooking because you never did any & you don't know how to do it. But you need to learn. It's very simple:

7. MOST PRESSURE COOKERS OPERATE ON A VERY SIMPLE PRINCIPLE, & it's extremely healthful cooking because you use very little water & you don't lose all the vitamins. Everything is pressured right into the food-vitamins, moisture & all!

8. —AND PRESSURE COOKING SAVES TIME! A dinner that would normally take you one or two hours to prepare, you can pressure cook in about 20 to 30 minutes, with all ingredients in the same pot! We usually used a little roast or chicken or stew for our little family of six, two adults & four children. We used just a four-quart pressure cooker‚ about one-gallon or five-liter size, & that's fairly small. It fits snugly on top of one little burner on the stove‚ only requires one burner of heat!

9. YOU TAKE YOUR MEAT FIRST, a very small roast, chicken or chopped meat for stew‚ & you put it in with a very little bit of water in the bottom of the pressure cooker, about half a cup. Then you seal the lid on tight & put the little toggle weight that nearly all of them have to sit on the little steam vent. Then you put it on the fire full blast at first.

10. AS SOON AS THE LITTLE TOGGLE BEGINS TO JIGGLE, that means that it is up to about 15 pounds pressure, (@ 1.1kg per cm2.) which is about the right cooking pressure‚ & you turn your fire down immediately to an extremely low flame, like a little "warmer" fire just enough to maintain barely enough heat to make that little toggle keep wiggling off & on.

11. IT SHOULD WIGGLE AT LEAST EVERY FEW SECONDS: "Bddrupp!"—Then it will wait a few seconds, 10-20 seconds maybe, then go "Bddrupp!" again. Each time it wiggles it lets off a little steam, because it's maintaining that exact same constant pressure of about 15 pounds pressure. I think that's what they call in most of the rest of the world outside the U.S. & England about 1 or 1.1. kilos per square cm.

12. YOU COOK YOUR MEAT ABOUT 20 MINUTES WHILE YOU'RE PREPARING YOUR VEGETABLES, the carrots, peas, string beans &/or potatoes, peeling & cutting them up & getting them ready to add to your stew—or if you're a real health addict you don't even have to peel them!

13. BUT YOU DO HAVE TO WASH YOUR VEGETABLES & CUT THEM UP A BIT into small finger sizes or half-finger sizes, & your potatoes in quarters or one–inch cubes, depending on the size, using the boil-potato typenot the bake-potato type—but small new potatoes. You cut these all up in pieces & have the right amount ready to add to your meat. For a family of six like ours we usually used about a 2 or 3 pound (1 or 1 1/2 kilo) little roast & about 3 cups of vegetables.

14. AT THE END OF ABOUT 20-25 MINUTES YOUR MEAT HAS BEEN COOKING THAT LONG SO YOU TAKE YOUR PRESSURE COOKER OFF THE FIRE, set it prayerfully in the sink & run cold water about a minute over it until the pressure has gone down enough to take the little weight off of the steam vent. Remove this little toggling, wiggling weight very carefully with a hot pad so you don't burn yourself, & keep your face away. Usually there's enough steam left in the pressure cooker that the steam will come out in a spout of steam into the air until all gone. It's not going to hurt you if you stay away from it. Don't put your fingers in the steam, & make sure it doesn't hit you in the face, because it's very hot even though the pressure's down. Take off the toggle & let out the steam.

15. AS SOON AS ALL THE STEAM HAS BEEN RELEASED THROUGH THE VENT in the lid & there is no more pressure inside, then you can open the lid & add your three cups of cut-up vegetables. You may need to add a little bit more water, not very much. There should never be more than 1/2-an-inch of water in the bottom of your pressure cooker, usually that's about what they recommend—about 1/4 to 1/2 inch—that's all (1.3 cm or 13 mm).

16. YOU USE VERY LITTLE WATER FOR PRESSURE COOKING—ANOTHER SAVING—because you retain most of the water from the meat & vegetables themselves under pressure. The moisture is not cooked out, it's kept inside the pressure cooker—unlike open boiling where it all boils away! Having perhaps added a little more water if needed, & your vegetables, close your pressure cooker tight again. Make sure it's very tightly sealed, the lid screwed or clamped on very tightly, the way its book of instructions recommends.

17. THEN PUT IT BACK ON THE FIRE & TURN THE FIRE UP FULL BLAST AGAIN. Be sure you've put the weight back on top of the vent again, & wait for it to start jiggling again. This will usually take about two or three minutes before the steam pressure comes up again, depending on your fire—maybe only one or two‚ sometimes maybe five—And the weight begins to wiggle.

18. BE SURE THAT THAT VENT HOLE IN THE LID IS VERY CLEANED OUT & that the vent is not stopped up by any food when cooking, or you may have the blow-valve pop off, the emergency pop–off valve! That pop-off valve is usually a little piece of rubber in a hole in the lid or a metal pop-off valve, so that if it gets too hot & the pressure too high, it will blow out.

19. WE'VE HAD THE EMERGENCY VALVE BLOW OUT ONCE OR TWICE when we didn't make sure the vent in the top of the lid was cleaned out & there was a piece of food stuck in it or something, & it blew the rubber pop-off valve & it shot clear across the trailer like a rubber bullet! But as long as you're not in the way, or in the way of the steam, it's not going to hurt you.

20. THANK GOD FOR THAT SAFETY VALVE! Some pressure cookers have a metal type of safety valve, a blow valve, which pops open if the pressure gets too high. They all have safety valves, so you don't have to worry about it blowing up, providing you have fastened the lid on securely & cleaned out the lid vent.

21. HOWEVER ONCE WHILE WE WERE TRAVELLING ON THE ROAD WITH OUR GREAT MOB OF HIPPIES, 125 in nearly 40 vehicles, the girl who was cooking the bean supper that night had this huge pot of beans in this huge pressure cooker that held about four gallons for all these hungry hippies. But somebody had failed to fasten the lid on tight & they had put it back on the fire‚ but the clamps were not on tight & it was not secure somehow or another, I don't know. (It only had a pressure gauge, not a blow valve!)

22. IT WAS AN OLD-FASHIONED PRESSURE COOKER & DIDN'T HAVE A POP–OFF VALVE OR THE VENT WAS CLOGGED or something, I don't know just what. But I remember Mini-Max was the one who was cooking—Salome, Bezaleel Issachar's wife.—But I think it was Mom's fault, as Mama Eve had been the last one to look at the vegetables & clamp the lid on & she hadn't gotten it on right or securely.

23. SO WHEN THE STEAM CAME UP, ALL OF A SUDDEN THE LID POPPED OFF!—Blew clear off & hit the ceiling of the trailer & plastered beans all over that trailer—all over the ceiling, walls, beds—everywhere! But thank God, by a miracle‚ dear little Mini-Max & her children were not hit nor scalded by the steam! But they were scared half to death & ran screaming out of the trailer! Thank God‚ neither did the trailer catch on fire or anything! But they certainly did have a mess to clean up, with beans all over!—The whole trailer was plastered with beans!

24. SO PLEASE WATCH YOUR STEP IF YOU'RE USING A PRESSURE COOKER! If you're halfway intelligent & have just a little horse sense, & do exactly the way I or the book tells you, you won't have any trouble. OK, now you've got the vegetables in & it's back up to pressure, so turn your fire down quickly as soon as that little thing starts to toggle. Turn the fire down very low, just enough to keep it toggling a little bit every few seconds.

25. COOK THE VEGETABLES & MEAT ABOUT TEN MORE MINUTES. Now who ever heard of boiling potatoes or cooking vegetables in ten minutes? Usually it takes 20 minutes to half-an-hour, sometimes 40 minutes on an open stove in a boiling pot, right ?—And whoever heard of cooking a roast in only half-an-hour ?—It usually takes two or three hours in the oven!

26. IN THE PRESSURE COOKER THEY WILL ALL COOK IN ONLY 30-40 MINUTES! Then by the end of your full 30 or 40 minutes—20 minutes with only the meat, & 10-20 minutes more with both the meat & the added vegetables—your delicious stew dinner is all done & you can cool down your pressure cooker under the faucet, take off the toggle & let out the steam‚ & then open it up & serve the plates hot direct from the pressure cooker to save on dishes!

27. —A WHOLE DELICIOUS MEAL COOKED IN ONLY 30-40 MINUTES ON ONLY ONE BURNER!—And you haven't heated up the trailer to an unbearable temperature! In fact we used to set the pressure cooker right in the middle of the dinner table on a hot pad so everybody could serve themselves right out of it! There are lots of other types of pressure-cooked dinners you can eat also.—See your cook book!

28. WE ALWAYS USED PAPER NAPKINS or paper towels for napkins, very cheap ones, which are I think even more saving & not as much trouble as cloth napkins, which you have to constantly wash. Even tissues or split paper towels are cheapest for your table.—And final use for your paper napkin you used at dinner is to take your plate to the garbage can & scrape off any scraps which may remain. We hope you don't leave any scraps, but if there are ever bones or something absolutely inedible, like gristle & so on, which of course there may be, if you have a dog or a cat, you can scrape these off into their bowl, & they can chew on'm awhile.

29. THEN TAKE YOUR USED PAPER TOWELS & WIPE YOUR DISHES OFF ALMOST CLEAN INTO THE GARBAGE PAIL, & put the dishes into the sink. This is something you should teach each member of the family to do to save you time & trouble. This clears most of the table if they do the same with their silver. They should wipe off their silver also with the same paper towel or tissue along with the plate‚ then throw the dirty paper towel into the garbage & put the dishes & the silver into the sink. Not having used any serving bowls for such a dinner, & only having used one pot,

30. YOU DON'T HAVE A LOT OF POTS & PANS TO WASH! The pressure cooker seldom sticks much on the bottom, so therefore it's very easy to clean out. Be sure you clean out the lid well, wash it well & be sure the vent is open. One way to find out & make sure there's no food stuck in the vent is to either look through it or put your mouth on the little blow hole & blow, make sure you can blow through it—after of course you've washed & rinsed it. So in this type of one-dish one-pot cooking, you've only got one pot to wash & no serving dishes!—Just the family dishes & eating utensils‚ so there are not very many dishes to do at all!

31. YOU'RE GOING TO FIND THERE'S REALLY MUCH LESS HOUSEWORK TO TRAILER–LIVING THAN YOU'VE EVER HAD BEFORE! There's a little more other work, such as hauling water & running back & forth to the toilet & the shower, maybe chopping wood etc. But otherwise, camping out frees you from many of the household cares & chores of constantly waxing floors & washing windows & polishing woodwork & furniture, mowing the lawn & all that. You've got very little to take care of & very little to clean.

32. IN SUMMERTIME WE ALWAYS LIKED TO HAVE A BARE FLOOR, just the bare wood or linoleum or whatever was on the floor, so that it was easily swept out when the children ran in with sand on their feet etc. Otherwise, if your trailer is carpeted you might have a little problem keeping the floor clean. But carpet feels mighty good under your feet in the cold Wintertime when the floor is cold!

33. WE USED TO HAVE A WALL-TO-WALL FITTED CARPET that fitted our floor exactly but was not fastened down. So it was a good thick carpet for insulation against the cold in the Winter, but we would roll it up & put it back under the bed in storage during the Summer, so all we had to do was very easily sweep out the floor.

34. IN WINTER THEN YOU HAVE TO VACUUM CLEAN THE CARPET OF COURSE. So one of the smartest things you can do is go to one of these "helpy-selfy" car-wash places where they usually have a vacuum hose you can use to vacuum your trailer. Otherwise you can buy one of these small hand-vacuums, tiny car-vacuums that you can pick up in an auto store that runs on 12 volt, or some run on 110 or 220, & you can vacuum your own rug with your own vacuum.

35. THE WOODWORK is usually either stained or lacquered or varnished & requires very little attention except a little dusting or polishing once in awhile. Your kitchen is very tiny with very little to clean.

36. SO I THINK YOU'LL FIND TRAILER LIVING A JOY, there's so little to take care of & so little work to do. You'll have much more time to witness & litness & study & read & rest & pray & play, & it's really a great life of wonderful freedom & independence & glorious & healthful living in God's great grand & beautiful out-of–doors!—And it's much safer than almost any other kind of living I can think of—healthful, safe, secure, free & really very little work!—Amen! GBAKY!