Pros: Easy to use and clean, consistently good results, durable, attractive.
Cons: A little big -- and I use it enough to keep it out.
Since I've never been a wife and mother who cooks every day, even with the mircowave, I never imagined I would be the owner of a small appliance that makes my sisters who do cook jealous.
They may not have even noticed it, had they not tasted the pot roast I cooked in my Farberware Programmable Pressure Cooker and asked how I made it so tasty and tender.
My sisters didn't know I had it "in" me to make a tasty roast like it's no trouble at all. That made me feel so good!
This review is tailored to people like me -- not daily cooks, just people who want to make a nice dinner now and then in the shortest possible time. So I won't go on and on about the many features and benefits of this pressure cooker. It might scare you away or intimidate you, too. I'll just tell you how easy it is for even a kitchen phobic like me to use and even enjoy!
Christmas Was Coming and I Needed Help
Right before the holiday season in 2001, knowing I would have a large crowd of family at my house for Christmas Eve Dinner, I was fretting over how I would prepare roast, a turkey breast and a ham in my one-oven kitchen.
It's not necessary to have three kinds of meat for one dinner, but people do like having the choice, and it's still somewhat more managable to have three smaller things to cook and carve than one massive turkey.
I had seen some demonstrations for pressure cookers on QVC and the Home Shopping Network and thought, "They don't explode anymore like Grandma's did? They have little computers on them now? Hey..."
So I began comparing prices on electronic pressure cookers. The best offer in December 2001 was on Amazon.com for $99.00. And not only was S & H free, but it came with a bonus gift of a great set of Farberware knives and utensils with a butcher block holder!
My First Run -- A Pot Roast
When I got my Farberware Pressure Cooker, I read the recipe book and instructions carefully. The instructions weren't too complicated because many of the safety features seem to be automatic. The lid "triple-locks" with outer handles that expand and securely retract, plus another sliding lock on top of the lid.
All you really need to know is how long you'll need to cook various types of foods: large cuts of meat, soup, stews, sauces, vegetables and anything else you might normally cook on the stovetop or in the oven.
Within a couple of days of getting the cooker, I experimented on a 3-lb. rump roast. There's a recipe in the accompanying manual that was close enough for me to use as a guide.
One of the most useful features for me, especially when making a roast, is the "Brown" setting. All I had to do was add a little oil into the removable coated cooking well, push a couple of buttons on the front panel, and sear my roast on all sides.
After browning, just add your liquids (water, onion soup), lock the lid on and set the Pressure Mode at "High" (for soups or stews, "Low" may be better) and set the timer for 90 minutes. Yes, you can have a perfectly cooked 3-lb. roast in 90 minutes.
Large Volume Cooking Problem Solved
My pressure-cooked roast was so popular at Christmas 2001 that my husband said we needed twice as much this year. Knowing that I would be able to make two roasts in three hours, then put them both in my crock pot until ready to serve, I didn't worry about having FOUR large cuts of meat to cook.
The biggest benefit of the Farberware cooker is being able to come home from the office and spend about five minutes getting a roast browned and seasoned, then having it ready to eat by the time everyone is ready for dinner a couple of hours later -- instead of three or four hours with a conventional oven or crock pot.
And the best compliment came from my daughter: "It's as good as Grandma's roast." My mother-in-law is the mother of all great roast cookers.
You'll Feel Safe Using This
All of my life, I thought of a pressure cooker as a "grownup" toy that only really experienced cooks should dare to try. I remember my grandma's whistling, vibrating Club cast aluminum stovetop pressure cooker that I was certain would explode one day.
Well, my grandma's cooker never blew up, but my husband's grandma's did. Of course she cooked three times a day and my grandma cooked three times a month, so the odds fit.
Instead of the scary "whistle" the Farberware has a steam vent that you can set to "cook" or "clean" modes. I don't know what they mean, so I just leave it on "cook." So far, so good.
But one very comforting feature is the "quick release" pressure button that allows you to release the steam in a hurry. If you have an extra 30 minutes, you can let the pressure release on it's own. But personally, I like to tap it and make it go "woosh! WOOSH!" because it's a very cool sound, as well as being reassuring that the lid won't hit the ceiling when you take it off.
The cooker stops cooking automatically when the time you set expires -- then it beeps at you periodically until you attend to it, or set the indefinite "warm" mode (which you can use all day long to keep your food at serving temperature).
Easy Clean Up, No Problem
The Farberware cooker is not totally immersible, but the cooking well lifts out and washes nicely in warm, sudsy water. Cleaning the lid is simple enough by moving it briskly up and down in your sudsy water. There's a tiny brush included for cleaning the steam vents when needed.
But I'll be honest again -- I make my husband wash this baby. Even if the cooking is easy, I still expect him to clean up!