Little used in recent years, the veteran instrument has great potential

Technology in the professional kitchen —and, by extension, in the domestic kitchen— was evident in the 20th century with the appearance of grinders, mixers, juicers, toasters, blenders and microwaves. All designed to facilitate culinary tasks with a common denominator: improve efficiency. In this process, the decrease in cooking time has been a key factor. The pressure cooker accomplishes that goal. By subjecting the food to a pressure higher than atmospheric due to the accumulation of steam, the temperatures inside are also higher, between 115 and 120 degrees Celsius. That changes the cooking conditions and speeds up the process.

If we do a bit of history, we will see as precedents the investigations carried out in 1681 by the physicist Denis Papin. In his book A new digester or engine for softning bones, Papin described a device for recovering food that was discarded. His idea was to avoid food waste to solve world hunger. Although he was optimistic, his approach to a closed pot could be understood as the germ of the pressure cooker.


The idea was more or less forgotten until, in 1919, José Alix Martínez patented the first pressure cooker for domestic use, which he called “ollaexpress”, a name by which it is still known. The inventor also began its commercialization, for which he made a collection of recipes that facilitated its use. Later he assigned the patent to Camilo Bellvís Calatayud, after which the instrument was renamed “Bellvís pot”, or CBC, by its initials. It was presented at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels in 1924, where it received the medal of honour. But the great expansion of it came when Alfred Vischler introduced small variations and presented his Flex-Seal Speed ​​Cooker at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

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