Pressure Cooking : Cooking: A Compressed History

1679: Denis Papin invents the steam digester, a prototype of the small home autoclave we know as the pressure cooker.

1939: First home pressure cooker introduced at the New York World's Fair.

1941: World War II halts the manufacturing of most metal cooking utensils, including pressure cookers. Factories convert to war work.

1945: Civilian production resumes. Demand for pressure cookers greater than ever.

1951: Supermarkets are overflow with prepared products. Pressure cooker sales begin to drop.

1953: The first frozen dinner is introduced, dramatically changing America's eating habits. The decline continues.

1970s: Nouvelle cuisine and fondue pots replace home-style cooking and pressure cookers.

1978: Roy A. DeGroot writes the cooker swan song, "Pressure Cookery Perfected" (Summit Books).

1987: Food & Wine magazine declares the pressure cooker is back. Few listen.

1988: "Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna Sass is published, the first cookbook on pressure cooking in 10 years. Slow rise begins.

1995: Pressure cookers still not stocked in most cookware stores, but cult following grows.

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