PRESTO! The noisy cooker

This manual/cookbook is from the Presto Cooker my mother used. I believe the old pressure cooker might still be in this house, I'm not sure. I do know the stand alone timer is in the kitchen; I just used it this morning. Other cheap plastic timers have come and gone, but the one made by Presto, oh so long ago, takes a licking and keeps on ticking. This morning it was for cupcakes.

If you've never heard food being cooked in an old pressure cooker it's a bit unnerving. As a child I was sure the thing was going to blow up. My mother would lock the lid on and then walk away. I'd wait for the sound to start. I think back on it and it's sort of a rain jet sprinkler and a "this things going to blow any minute!" rattle.

I have no idea what year this is from, no copyright date inside. I'm guessing the late '40s to mid-50s. Click on any image, except the first and last, to see it larger.

Presto Cooker_ft_tatteredandlost

Presto Cooker_title pg_tatteredandlost

Presto cooker_cereal_tatteredandlost

Presto Cooker_meat_tatteredandlost

Presto cooker_in.bk_tatteredandlost

Presto Cooker_bk_tatteredandlost

As is the case with almost all cookbooks of this time period, the food photos are dreadful. If I knew a bowl of glop was awaiting me each morning before school I'd have stayed in bed. Even the giraffe wouldn't have helped.

And the meat? Beef with cucumbers? Is that what I'm seeing in the foreground? Really? And I'm not really sure what the peas are in next to what I think is ham. Peaches with peas? I just don't know.

Thinking about it, I believe there is also an old Presto electric frying pan in the house and a air popcorn popper. I hope their products today last as long as the ones from long ago, though not a good way for the company to make money.

The Presto company, National Presto Industries, Inc., is still in business. You can read the companies history here and see their home page here.

I see that they're still located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Wisconsin...a pressure cooker of a completely different kind.


  1. Our son is getting married in three weeks. A Pressure cooker of the Presto variety was on their list. The lady says she wants one with a pressure gauge instead of the rocking weights, so that's what we got them. Oh yes, and canning jars, rings and seals.

  2. Congrats on the wedding! And if they need any weird meat recipes just let me know.

  3. Nah. He cooks what he shoots and eats it. Ever had porcupine? Excellent. ;o)

  4. Ah, the meal that comes with its own toothpicks.