2019 Rides

DateMe + WhoBikeDistance (Km)Trip
2211.92019 Year to Date
19-12-29MikeCT42.9Bridge, E&N & Goose to Aldeane, Meaford, Station, Dunford, Leigh Road to Langford Lake and Westhills; Jenkins,Kelly to Veterans; Aldeane, Goose to Old Island, E&N back to Bridge.
19-12-26CT34.6Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, Musgrave to Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside to Royal Oak, return by Bridge.
19-12-22MikeCT41.8Bridge, E&N & Goose to Aldeane, Meaford, Station, Dunford, Leigh Road to Langford Lake and Westhills, Jenkins and Kelly to Veterans and Goose back, admiring completed McKenzie Interchange. A warm Victoria winter day, skies clear after days of rain and cloud.
19-12-15MikeCT30Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Bridge. Measurement doubts - devices not on.
19-12-14MikeCT24.4Bridge, E&N to Old Island, Goose to Swing Bridge, back to Bridge. Sunny break on a cloudy day. about 8 degrees C
19-12-09MikeCT42.5Bridge, E&N to Old Island, Goose to Swing Bridge, Lochside to Cordova Bay (Matticks) and back to Bridge by Lochside and Goose.
19-11-24MikeCT42.5Bridge, Lochside to Cordova Bay Road; return to Swing Bridge, Goose to Old Island; E&N to Bridge
19-11-10MikeCT43.6Bridge, Lochside to Cordova Bay Road; return to Swing Bridge, Goose to Old Island; E&N to Bridge
19-10-27MikeCT43.5Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge
19-10-14MikeCT51.6Start from Don Mann on Borden, Lochside to Mount Newton X Road, E Saanich thru Saanichton to traffic circle on Willingdon at YYJ, Airport trail, Beacon into Sidney, Lochside back to start. Cloudy most of the day. 10 degrees.
19-10-12MikeCT43.5Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge.
19-10-06MikeCT41.3Bridge, E&N, Goose to Veterans' Memorial, Kelly/Jenkins to Westhills, return by Goose & E&N
19-09-29MikeCT45.4Start from Lochside School, Lochside to Mount Newton X Road, E Saanich thru Saanichton to traffic circle on Willingdon at YYJ, Airport trail, Beacon into Sidney, Lochside back to start.
19-09-28CT37.1Bridge, Goose to Veterans Memorial, return by E&N
Mainly sunny, windy
19-09-22MikeCT29.4Bridge, E&N, Goose to Wale Road; return. Showers.
19-09-15MikeCT43.4Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge.
19-09-08MikeCT43.4Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge. Cloudy; several light showers.
19-09-02MikeCT50.7Bridge, Lochside to Mount Newton X Road, return; a few loops of James Bay
19-09-01CT29.4Beacon, Oak Bay, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge
19-08-31MikeCT43.1Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge
19-08-25MikeCT50.1Start from Lochside Drive at Willow (Hydro substation, Don Mann Excavating), Lochside to Mount Newton X Road, E Saanich thru Saanichton to traffic circle on Willingdon at YYJ, Airport trail, Beacon into Sidney, Lochside back to start
19-08-24MikeCT43.0Beacon, Oak Bay - Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge
19-08-18MikeCT42.5Bridge, Goose, Lochside, Hunt, Martindale, Lochside to Ocean View (Michell's Farm) and return.
19-08-17MikeCT40.3Beacon Hill, Uplands, UVic, Sam Juan, Lochside to Swingbridge, Goose to Old Island, E&N to Bridge
19-08-14CT30.6Bridge, Lochside to Cordova Bay Road (Matticks); return
19-08-11MikeCT29.6Bridge, E&N, Goose to Wale Road; return. Bike route on Wharf Street now open; many pedestrians step into it without looking.
19-08-10CT53.0Bridge, Goose, Interurban Road (trail to Wallace closed for construction), W. Saanich Rd, Wallace, Saanichton, Mt. Newton X Rd, Lochside. Cloudy with showers.
19-08-08CT23.9Bridge, Lochside to Royal Oak; return
19-08-07CT3.5From shop. Meares, Vancouver, South Park, Beacon Hill, Niagara. Estimate
19-08-07CT4.5Test ride. Meares, Cook, Dallas, Beacon Hill, South Park, Vancouver.
19-08-05MikeFX44.3Starting at Lochside School, Lochside to Mount Newton X Road, E Saanich thru Saanichton to traffic circle on Willingdon at YYJ, Airport trail, Beacon into Sidney, Lochside back to start
19-08-03MikeFX43.6Beacon Hill, Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Bridge
19-07-27MikeFX47.5Bridge, Lochside and Hunt loop to Mount Newton X road and return
19-07-06MikeFX28.3Bridge, E&N, Goose to Wale Road; return
19-07-01MikeFX49.3Bridge, E&N, Goose to 2nd Happy Valley crossing; return
19-06-29MikeFX42.8Beacon Hill, Oak Bay via Beach, Uplands, UVic, Feltham, Shelbourne, Elnido, farm trail, Lochside, Goose to Old Island, E&N
16-06-22MikeFX60.3Bridge, Lochside, Hunt Valley, Lochside, Sidney, retun
19-06-16MikeFX51.6Bridge, Goose, Interurban, Wallace, Saanichton, Mount Newton X, Lochside
19-06-09MikeFX45.3From Lochside School. Lochside, Hunt Valley, to Mountain Newton x Rd, Saanichton, E Saanich to Willingdon, Airport Trail, Beacon to Sidney; Lochside back to start.
19-05-26MikeFX48.4Beacon Hill, Oak Bay via Beach, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Goose to Wale Road, back by E&N
19-05-18MikeFX47.3From Lochside School. Royal Oak, Elk Lake Rd., Lakeside, Oldfield/Seabrook, Wallace, E Saanich Rd., Airport, Sidney, Lochside
19-05-11MikeFX53.0Bridge, Goose, Interurban, Brentwood Bay, Wallace, Saanichton, Lochside
19-04-28MikeFX44.6Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, Cedar Hill X Road, UVic, San Juan, Lochside, Cordova Bay Road, Parker Ave; return by Lochside and Bridge.
19-04-25FX6.8Centennial Park in Central Saanich, Wallace to Verdier, back to start by Stellys X Rd.
19-04-21MikeKA24.6Bridge, Lochside to Old Island; E&N to Bridge.
19-04-19MikeFX43.1Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, loop out on Beach, to Dorset & Upper Terrace, U Vic., San Juan, Lockside to Goose to Old Island; E&N back to Bridge
19-04-14MikeFX39.3Bridge, E&N, Goose to Sooke Road; return
19-04-07MikeFX39.9Bridge, E&N, Goose to Veteran's Memorial, Kelly/Jacklin, trail to Westhills; return by Goose
19-03-31FX50.8Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, Uplands, UVic, San Juan, Lockside to Ocean View (Michell's Farm), Bridge
19-03-17MikeFX42.5Bridge, Lochside to Ocean View (Michell's Farm) by way of Hunt Valley; Sunny - shorts weather.
19-03-10MikeFX31.5Bridge, Goose, Interurban, Quayle, Beaver, Beaver Lake Road, Elk Lake Drove, Royal Oak, Lockside/Goose
19-03-02MikeFX28.3Bridge, E&N, Goose to Wale Road and return
19-02-18MikeFX23.6Bridge, E&N, Goose to Atkins Road stop and return; some snow on trail after snow and melt
19-01-27MikeFX28.3Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, Uplands, Gordon Head, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to the Bridge
19-01-13MikeFX40.2Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, Uplands, Gordon Head, San Juan, Lochside, Goose to Old Island; E&N EVR to Bridge. Sunny 10 C. Moderate winds. People out and about - lots of traffic
19-01-01FX28.8Beacon Hill, Oak Bay, Uplands, Gordon Head, San Juan, Lochside, Cloudy, 7 C Happy New Year

Pressure Multi-cookers

Multi-cookers were, 2009-2018, electric pressure cookers with:

  • a heating element in a round plate below the cooking vessel,
  • stainless or non-stick metal pots,
  • sensors, a control panel and
  • a programmed control responding to feedback from the sensors.

The conglomerate Midea of Guangdong Province, China patented a multi-cooker in 2006. The Instant Pot pressure multi-cooker took off in 2015-6 with social media and presence in Amazon Market Place. Fagor America and its European parent company brought the Fagor Lux to market in 2015 and the Fagor Lux LCD in 2017. Fagor America ceased operations including honoring warranties and providing support for customers and dealers in 2018. The devices reemerged from the reorganization of the Fagor companies under the Zavor brand.

Jarden Consumer Appliances, owner of the Crock-Pot name and brand, introduced a pressure multi-cooker with a non-stick metal insert called the “Express Crock Multi-Cooker”. Multi-cookers without pressure cooking capabilities came into the market 2018-19. These were new iterations of rice cookers or slow cookers programmed for saute, steaming and other functions including “slow cooking”. Examples: Zojirushi Multicooker EL-CAC60; Philips HD3095/87; T-fal RK705851; Aroma Housewares ARC-6106 MultiCooker; Midea Mb-fs5017 10 Cup Smart Multi-cooker. Cuisinart introduced a 3-in-1 Cook Central slow cooker with a nonstick insert with a saute setting. In 2019, Instant Pot put is brand name on an appliance line including rice cookers and air fryers.

Every player in this market claims that a multi-cooker can “replace” a rice cooker, a steamer, and a slow cooker. A pressure multi-cooker ot electric pressure cooker may supercede other devices if it is more convenient or has a capability to cook some foods faster or “better”.

An electric pressure cooker or pressure multi-cooker will not be capable or cooking all recipes taken from a slow cooker recipe source. A slow cooker heats the food into the range where the food simmers slowly. The slow cookers sold in America in the 20th century used constant low heat. While in principle the food was not boiled, most of these device eventually cooked the dish at a temperature above the boiling point of water. Electric pressure cookers or pressure multi-cookers switch the power off when the device decides the pot is hot enough, and then turns the power on to bring the temperature up. It isn’t the same as controlling the flow of power to an element on a stove, and it is not the constant low heat of the traditional low cooker. Slow cooker settings in electric pressure cookers and pressure multi-cooker put out enough heat to warm the base of the pot to a set temperature, monitored by a sensor.

Kristen Chidsey, the Mind “full” Mom, noticed one issue with following a slow cooker recipe in an Instant Pot. Instant Pots have three settings in the slow cooker settings: Low, Normal or Medium, and High. Slow cookers often have a warm setting and low and high slow cooking settings. Instant Pot slow cooker program Low setting provides the function of a slow cooker Warm setting in a slow cooker; it is not equivalent to a slow cooker Low cooking setting. A rule of thumb for following a slow cooker recipe with a pressure multi-cooker: cook at medium (“normal”) where the slow cooker recipe says low.

Cooks Illustrated/ATK’s Multicooker Perfection (2018) reported that the Instant Pot Duo (8 quart) did not perform well as a slow cooker. CI/ATK tested the low and high slow cooker settings by heating 5 lbs (i.e. 2.7 liters or 2.8 quarts) of water for 5 hours. It warned that the slow cooker settings on some devices are too cold, and on others too hot.

CI/ATK say that its slow cooker recipes in Multicooker Perfection work well if a device gets the food to 195-210 F and maintains that temperature. CI/ATK recommended the Fagor Lux LCD and Lux devices those devices met those marks and could perform a large subset of the CI/ATK slow cooker recipe repertoire. It recommend the comparable Zavor models when Zavor acquired the names, rights and supply chains and began to ship product. Fagor went out of business and provides no customer support; Zavor is still establishing itself, as of late 2019 and does not honor Fagor warranties or provide support for Fagor models. Zavor models are more expensive than Instant Pots, and not widely available (at end of 2019). Parts and accessories are rare.

Pressure cookers can cook the same soups, stews etc. that can be cooked in a slow cooker or in a pot on a stove or in an oven. Pressure multi-cookers, including Instant Pots, can perform many slow cooker recipes in slow cooker programs. Madhur Jaffrey has recipes for lamb (and goat) including a lamb pilaf using Instant Pot slow cooker progam setting in her Instantly Indian Cookbook. Melissa Clark has Instant Pot slow cooker versions of every recipe Dinner in an Instant. Cooks Illustrated/ATK’s Multicooker Perfection did too.

Pressure multi-cookers are useful when the user know how the devices tranfer heat to food over time, to cook food to a safe and palatable condition. A cook needs information about the device and about the assumptions of a recipe. The use of new tools is not necessarily instinctive or intuitive. Meal planning depends on the available tools and ingredients, and the goals of feeding people and satifying appetites.

A limitations on pressure multi-cookers: size and working space. An 8 quart model is as bulky as a 6 quart ceramic slow cook. Pressure cookers are bigger than other cooking vessels because the user has to leave them partly unfilled for dishes that expand as they absorb water.

Another limitation is that the engineers have not allowed users to use these devices manually. There are preset temperatures and times, and programmed cooking programs. A frustration of using a pressure multi-cooker is finding a way to use the device as a simple cookpot, which becomes necessary when a cook wants to cook a thin broth or sauce down, or cook for a few more minute when the dish is not cooked enough. The multi-cooker has to be set again to a setting that will boil or simmer. The sauté setting will bring the pot to a boil but may burn the food. There probably is a simmer setting but where is the simmer button? Can the cooking pot can removed and put on the stove; is there an element available? This is not hard, if you know what to do when the time comes!


Instant Pot

The principals of Double Insight developed the Instant Pot in 2008-9 and were on the market by 2012. The Instant Pot pressure multi-cooker took off in 2015-6 with social media and presence in Amazon Market Place. “Instant Pot” is not a trade mark like Vacuum Cleaner or Bandaid – it is a brand name. Instant Pot launched a sous-vide heater in 2018, and a blender early in 2019, It merged with Corelle Brand LLC in March 2019, and launched new rice cooker and air fryer appliances in time for Black Friday.

Instant Pot markets its pressure multi-cooker as a replacement for other appliances by providing “Smart Programs” that control the cooker to work in a way equivalent to other appliances.

Almost all other pressure multi-cookers, and many devices with a bottom element have a program or setting to brown or sauté. The electric skillet was a common appliance in last few decades of the 20th century. I recall devices with a dial contol marked with temperatures – like a dimmer switch. Some electric skillets had thermostat controls.

Instant Pots, like almost all pressure multi-cookers, control the sauté function with programmed settings and use feedback from a “digital temperature sensor”. The Lux, Duo and Ultra models have three temperature settings for the sauté program. There are different ways of selecting the sauté settings. The manuals identify the effect of using the settings in a range of temperatures. The Ultra models have three defaults, and allow a user to select or specify a custom temperature:

DuoUltraRange F(C)Setting F(C)
LessLow275-302 (135- 150) 221 (105)
NormalMedium320-349 (160-176) 336
MoreHigh347-410 (175-210) 345
Custom ≥ 104 – ≤ 338 (40-170)

The sensor is on the outside. The device preheats to a temperature above the set temperature and signals that the pot is “hot”, in the LCD display. The cooking surface is hotter than the set temperature when the hot signal shows. The display turns to “on” when food is added to the pot and heated. The transfer of heat to the food lowers the temperature of the cooking surface.

The hot signal is one of Instant Pot’s overheat/burn protection systems. When the display goes from “On” to “Hot” during cooking, the food is dry because all the moisture has evaporated, and there is a risk of overheating.

Instant Pot limits the cooking time on a sauté program to 30 minutes, and automates the time function. For instance setting a period of less than 5 minutes does not mean that the device will cook at the set level for the programmed time. I have had it reach go from preheat to on to off in a few seconds. It subtract a few minutes apparently to adjust for the period of cooking that occurred while the device was reaching operating temperature. I couldn’t find an explanation in the vast web literature about the device or in Instant Pot’s official web literature. The time can be set at 20-30 minutes, and the device treated like a skillet – watch, stir, deglaze – and shut off by stopping the program. (Or keep oven mitts handy and lift the vessel and use it as stovetop pot to simmer or boil or reduce the liquid – whatever).

Using an Instant Pot to sauté is like cooking in a narrow, tall Dutch Oven on a moderately hot to hot stove. The steel pot is preferable – it withstands stirring with various implements, and is easier to clean. The optional tempered glass lid is useful in cooking in sauté program.

The Instant Pot’s key program is Pressure Cook, an electric pressure cooker function with high and low pressure/temperature settings, and cooking time programable in one minute increments. Preheating is automated. The device will cook for the programmed time at the operating pressure programmed. It may show a hot or burn setting – some foods are a greater risk for such misadventure.

Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen’s Multicooker Perfection (2018) reported that the Instant Pot Duo (8 quart) runs a little differently than other electric pressure cookers. It heats to 247 F. but takes several minutes longer to reach operating pressure than other pressure multi-cookers and electric pressure cookers. Instant Pot models introduced before 2018 peak at over 13 psi but operate with operating high pressure of 10.2-11.6 psi, in the same operating pressure range as other electric pressure cookers. Electric pressure cooker recipes work in Instant Pots, with few adjustments. I may add 10% cooking (i.e. at operating pressure) time on some recipes.

A pressure multi-cooker can cook many foods using pressure cooker programs. Laura Pazzaglia and other pressure cooker writers concentrate on the pressure cooker functions of pressure multi-cookers. Laura Pazzaglia suggests recipes should be adapted for pressure unless a recipe uses ingredients that fail under pressure or create functional complications. Her books and web site provide tables for cooking specific items in most pressure cookers at different operating pressures.

Laura Pazzaglia, Barbara Schieving and other writers have several recipes for rice and suggestions for cooking rice on pressure settings. These writers have little to say about the Instant Pot Rice program. The Rice program uses low pressure with automated functions to cook long grain white rice and some short grain white rice. It provides a basic steamed rice function, and may support a few other preparations. It has been a work in progress in the manuals, recipe booklets, independently sourced recipes and support documentation.

Instant Pot identifies three temperature settings for the slow cooker function across the pressure multi-cooker product lines in the 6 and 8 quart models.The Instant Pot manuals for the Duo and Ultra models (5, 6, and 8 quart) indicate the slow cooker functions cook in a range of 180-210 F. The ranges for each setting:

DuoUltraRange F (C) Set F (C)
LessLow 180 – 190 (82 – 87.8)185 (85)
NormalMedium 190 – 200 (87.8 – 93)194 (90)
MoreHigh 200 – 210 (93 – 99) 208 (97.7)
Custom ≥ 104 (40) – ≤ 208 (97.7)

Cooks Illustrated/ATK’s Multicooker Perfection (2018) reported that the Instant Pot Duo (8 quart) did not perform well as a slow cooker. It reports that the Instant Pot slow cooker high setting will heat water to to 206 F. – i.e. the Instant Pot is set to not boil water. Laura Pazzaglia explains the weaknesses of the Instant Pot slow cooker program:

Medium and high are simmer settings, and supposed to make an Instant Pot “replace” a traditional slow cooker.

Readers have reported under-cooked food and less evaporation when slow cooking with all Instant Pot models, …  The under-cooking is … a side-effect of all new generation thermostat-regulated slow cookers versus the traditional wattage-regulated cookers and the uneven heat distribution between a stainless steel insert compared to ceramic inserts.

A pressure multi-cooker is different from the traditional slow cookers, and will not perform some recipes. Instant Pots can perform many slow cooker recipes in the slow cooker program. One approach to using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker is to find tested multi-cooker slow cooker recipes. Some books provides recipes that can be done using slow cooker program in a pressure multi-cooker.

  • Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant (2017) has Instant Pot slow cooker versions of every recipe;
  • Cooks Illustrated/ATK Multicooker Perfection (2018) has slow cooker versions of every recipe with a suggetion for the Instant Pot of using Instant Pot slow cooker high setting where the Multicooker Perfection recipe says slow cooker low;
  • Madhur Jaffrey has recipes for lamb (and goat) including a lamb pilaf using the slow cooker program of an Instant Pot (her Instantly Indian Cookbook refers to a 6 quart Duo v. 3). She advises using the sealing lid ands leaving the pressure release valve open.

Contrary to the Instant Pot Manual, the optional tempered glass lid is not helpful in slow cooker setting cooking; it may be counterproductive.

A cook can use the pressure cooker for some ingredients that work in a pressure cooker e.g. dried beans, and other tools and methods to make the rest of the dish e.g. sauté or brown other ingredients in a vessel of choice, add in the pre-cooked ingredient, heat on a sauté or steam setting and then let it all simmer for a while onslow cooker setting. Or add the ingredients, simmer on the Instant Pot slow cooker setting and raise the temperature to a boil for as long as it takes to make sure everything is cooked.

Even low sauté can heat the dish to a boil. Steam setting does it too – even the no pressure steam setting can bring liquid to a rolling boil. This means a short time. (The Ultra settings are not useful for getting a higher slow cooker temperature). This may involve watching and stirring to distribute heat. The glass lid can be usefully used let some heat out while simmering on one of these higher heat settings.

A short time on a pressure setting can speed up a dish that fails to cook on a slow cooker setting. The pressure settings require the sealing lid, locked in place. The pressure setting will boil the food. The release valve can be closed for pressure, or left open. If the valve is left open, it will vent; and some cooking fluid will evaporate.

Recipe sources:

Title/NameType Who  
Cooking Under Pressure Book1989Lorna J. SassGoodreadsStovetop "standard" recipes, have to be adjusted for lower pressure devices
hip Pressure CookingBook2014Laura PazzagliaGoodreadsPressure recipes: standard and electric cooking times
hippressurecooking.comWebLaura PazzagliaPressure recipes: standard and electric cooking times
MaoMaoMom KitchenWeb[eponymous]Instant Pot recipes
Vegan under PressureBook2016Jill NussinowStovetop standard recipes
Dinner in an InstantBook2017Melissa ClarkInstant Pot recipes
The Electric Pressure Cooker CookbookBook2017Barbara SchievingGoodreadsElectric device recipes
Pressure Cooking TodayWebBarbara and Jennifer SchievingElectric device recipes
Instant Pot Recipe BookletBooklet2018Instant Pot corporate; various contributorsInstant Pot recipes
Multicooker PerfectionBook2018Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen)Electric device recipes
Madhur Jaffrey's Instantly Indian CookbookBook2019Madhur Jaffreyrecipes from Indian cooking books for Instant Pot

The Instant Pot product sheet for the Ultra model says the Ultra program “provides complete custom programming for pressure and non-pressure cooking”. Laura Pazzaglia explains the program this way:

…the ability to pre-program the cooker with any cooking time, any temperature or one of two pressures.

…the Ultra feature will let you set the right temperature to, for example, scald milk (180°F/82°C) and melt chocolate (104°F/40°C).

The Ultra function temperature range is ≥ 104 – ≤ 208 F (40-97.7 C) . People experiment using the Ultra function for Sous-vide. It would be wise to use a thermometer to verify the temperature of the water.


Electric Pressure Cookers

A pressure cooker reaches cooking temperatures above the boiling point of water (212 F. or 100 C.). Pressure cooking involves time to bring water to a boil, reach cooking temperature, and a period at the operating pressure and temperature. Pressure cookers use high heat to build pressure and get food to a cooking temperature; low heat to maintain heat and pressure. Pressure cookers have sealing lid and valves. The lids are metal with locking rims. The cook cannot see what is going on an monitors the events in the pot by watching valves pot shut and by readouts in electronic models.

Recipes for pressure cookers state the cooking time as the period under operating pressure. Recipe will address how to release pressure. Pressure cookers have two working valves (many have additional emergency or safety valves):

  • Float valve: responds to steam pressure, pops up to seal the lid and engages a lock to prevent opening the lid while the device is under pressure; and
  • Pressure Release valve, also known as pressure limit valve, pressure regulator knob, steam release hande, steam release reset button, rapid release button.

Pressure will drop when the heat is removed, or when the pressure release valve is opened. Some recipes call for a natural drop before the valve is opened. This is commonly a a step in cooking rice and grains – and part of cooking. Other recipes call for opening the valve when the full heat/pressure period ends.

Most devices have low and high pressure settings . The American standard for high pressure limit is 15 psi; the European standard is 1 bar, or 14.6 psi. Stovetop pots tended to go to those limits, although many models did not. Stovetop pots were the standard for most recipes until electric pressure cookers became more common in the last decade of the 20th century.

A stovetop pressure cooker uses an external heat source. Stovetop pots are expensive compared to some cookware but many good models are less expensive than electric pressure cookers. A stovepot pot can be heated to pressure quickly using high heat. A stovetop pot can saute, fry and simmer. The stovetop pot requires the cook’s attention: to turn the stove down when operating pressure is reached, and then to turn off the heat when the pressure period ends.

Electric pressure cookers and pressure multi-cookers have become popular but have not pushed stovetop pots out of the kitchen or the market.

An electric pressure cooker has an outer shell, a heating element, an inner pot, a sealing lid and a control set. A modern machines has a microprocessor and an electronic control panel. The device turns the heating element on to sauté or build pressure. When operating temperature and pressure are reached, it cycles off and on to maintain pressure and temperature. The device will turn the heat off at the end of the period entered as the cooking time (at the operating pressure), and sound an alarm.

Electric pressure cookers cook at lower pressure and temperature than the upper limit(s); but above the boiling point. Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking FAQ observes that

Electric pressure cookers build pressure up to 15 psi but then maintain a lower pressure during the cooking … the “operating pressure” is 11.6 even though the cooker reaches 15 psi while it’s building pressure.

‘Operating Pressure’ is the true pressure at which an electric pressure cooker cooks“.

There are exceptions; e.g. – Instant Pot Max, marketed in 2018, is said to operate at the standard pressure.

Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking site has a FAQ which includes the pressure/temperature graph. The lower pressures of electric pressure cookers require an adjustment to cooking times from standard recipes. Laura Pazzaglia has charts on a cooking times page at her Hip Pressure Cooking site. Her charts recognize that there are differences between stovetop and electric machines and different brands and machines by leaving some parameters within ranges. Some writers provide notes about performance on some recipes in specific devices.

An electric pressure cooker provides the option of cooking without the pressure sealing lid using a sauté setting (or any hot setting that can be activated without locking the lid). Some have multiple saute (the device serves as an electric skillet) settings, some have only one saute setting. This is a way to use the device to cook some ingredients (e.g. softening onions and “blooming” spices and garlic and ginger) before filling the cooking pot and starting the pressure cooker. Using these settings to cook ingredients that have to be removed and added later is less convenient – it may be better to use the pressure cooker pot for other prep steps and pressure cooking, and manage the saute item in a skillet or wok on the stove. An electric pressure cooker is narrow and tall, and not easily handled and used like skillet. A user may needs to able to continuing cooking after the pressure cooking has ended – some final simmering to reduce a dish or cook ingredients added after the pressure cooking. The sauté setting may be too hot for anything less than a full rolling boil. Electric pressure cookers need – and most have – a simmer setting or an equivalent.

Recipe books and web sites for pressure cookers, electric pressure cookers, and multi-cookers:

Title/NameType Who  
Cooking Under Pressure Book1989Lorna J. SassGoodreadsStovetop "standard" recipes, have to be adjusted for lower pressure devices
hip Pressure CookingBook2014Laura PazzagliaGoodreadsPressure recipes: standard and electric cooking times
hippressurecooking.comWebLaura PazzagliaPressure recipes: standard and electric cooking times
MaoMaoMom KitchenWeb[eponymous]Instant Pot recipes
Vegan under PressureBook2016Jill NussinowStovetop standard recipes
Dinner in an InstantBook2017Melissa ClarkInstant Pot recipes
The Electric Pressure Cooker CookbookBook2017Barbara SchievingGoodreadsElectric device recipes
Pressure Cooking TodayWebBarbara and Jennifer SchievingElectric device recipes
Instant Pot Recipe BookletBooklet2018Instant Pot corporate; various contributorsInstant Pot recipes
Multicooker PerfectionBook2018Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen)Electric device recipes
Madhur Jaffrey's Instantly Indian CookbookBook2019Madhur Jaffreyrecipes from Indian cooking books for Instant Pot

Jill Nussinow, writing mainly about vegetables, provided standard pressure cooking times. She thought that electric time did not have be lengthened where the release is slow or natural – the device provided extra cooking time because electric pressure cookers provide a little extra cooking time coming to pressure and while the pressure drops.

Laura Pazzaglia’s book provides times for both standard and electric pressure cooker. She doesn’t have a formula. The addtional cooking time may be zero or may as much as 50%. Her tables are at the end of her book,and are also available online at hippressurecooking. Her tables are consistent with Jill Nussinow’s observation that necessary adjustments are variable depending on ingredient and release method (and release time).

Recipe sources and manual use terms for the two main options for when to use the pressure release valve – the end of the period of operating pressure, or after waiting for pressure to come down:

End of OPWait
Instant Pot Recipe BookletQuick Release Natural
Sass, Cooking under PressureQuick Release Naturally
ATK, Multicooker PerfectionQuick Natural
Pazzaglia, hip Pressure Cooking Normal Natural
Schieving, Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook Quick Natural
Clark, Dinner in an InstantManual Natural

There are variations on each option including modified or slow (i.e. incremental, pulsed) quick release and a timed wait with a manual release to be able to open the pot.

Many electric pressure cookers and multi-cookers have sauté functions; some call it “brown” or “browning”. They vary in temperature; usually hot enough to melt fats but not always warm enough to carmelize the food.

Some have a button or setting to engage a “simmer” function. Simmer is a setting in Fagor/Zavor Lux devices that to heat the food at 200 F for up to 30 minutes. Instant Pots can simmer at a slow cooker setting; the slow cooker “high” setting should match the Fagor/Zavor simmer setting. The temperature is an indirect reading – it is what the manufacturer says in the manual and is calibrated to what a sensor outside the pot is reading.

About “Instant Pot” recipe sources:

  • An “Instant Pot” pressure recipe should work in any electric pressure cooker or pressure capable multi-cooker; but variations may be needed;
  • With adjustments of time, an “Instant Pot” pressure recipe should work in a stovetop or standard pressure cooker;
  • Instant Pot has used different terms for preset sauté temperatures in its pressure multi-cookers; and a recipe source may use the term for one model. Other electric pressure cookers and multi-cookers will be different in some ways. A stovetop user has to use the heat setting of the the stove or cooktop. A use will have to see what the food is doing when using any pressure cooker as a skillet;
  • Some “Instant Pot” and multi-cooker sources use the pressure and sauté settings almost exclusively, but:
    • Some regard the rice function (low pressure and “automatic” time), as a good way to to steam white rice, or using the Instant Pot with additional ingredients like a rice cooker device;
    • Some address slow-cooker functions; this is a tricky area;
    • Some discuss the other functions that are useful for some cooks.

Slow Cookers

I used a slow cooker for many years. I have invested time and effort in learning that method of cooking. Slow cookers braise food in liquid at low heat.

Most slow cookers made from the 1950s to the early 21st century used ceramic crocks heated by a single electric heating element- low powered and poorly insulated. Elements were like elements in electric ovens and toaster ovens: straight metal, shaped into a circle or oval to surround the lower part of crock. Elements in modern machines are ribbon or wire elements in a belt. In some modern machines the element may have insulation. In basic devices the power is turned on to allow a constant electric current produces constant heat stated as in watts. The element heats the crock which heats the food. The heat at the element will be greater than the temperature of the inside surface of the crock. The element may be contolled by a switch or a control panel.

The ceramic crock slow cooker was inspired by the ceramic beanpot. This article on CNET has pictures and illustrations of old devices. Ceramic beanpots, like Dutch ovens and casseroles, cook dry beans in water or broth. Beanpots involved long cooking times at low heat. The constraints for dry beans are heat and time. The heat source had to provide steady low heat, and keep the cooking water below the boiling point of water (212 F. or 100 C.). A slow cooker can be used like a beanpot, to cook beans in fluid. If heat is constantly applied, the beans will be heated, and simmered or gently boiled. Writers (e.g. Anupy Singla, The Indian Slow Cooker; Rick Bayless, Mexican Every Day) suggested several hours on high in a normal ceramic crock slow cooker. Some beans need a long time on high. e.g. chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black urad beans, or red kidney beans. Some recipes incorrectly suggest that dry chickpeas cook in 6 hours on low.

I tried a recipe with dry white chickpeas in that device once. The other ingredients were well cooked at 6 hours on low before but the beans were not done – rather crunchy. Chickpeas are said to need 3 hours or 4 hours on high in a crock pot or slow cooker. I haven’t tried that; I won’t. I am suspicious about recipes that say that chickpeas can be done in less than 10-12 hours. I have since done curried chickpeas (using a chana masala spice blend); cooking time of 14 hours on high.

The ceramic crock slow cooker would cook root vegetables in a few hours; less dense material more quickly. Rival (now a Jarden Brand) began to build and market the Crock-Pot in the 1970’s (by the 1990’s “the Original Slow Cooker”) as a device to cook stew and chili. Rival and its competitors pushed the standard size of the crock from 5 quarts to 6 or 7 quarts. The manufacturers increased the wattage of elements to meet concerns that the device was not cooking the food well enough to be safe and palatable after 8 hours of cooking. Another innovation: the three and four position switch. With the latter the cook can select Off; Warm; Low; High. Warm is not a cooking setting. High means the element runs hotter than low. This article says that 7 hours on low is equivalent to 3 hours on high.

I used a 6 quart ceramic crock Crock-Pot with a manual off-low-high switch for years. It heated the ingredients enough: it created humidity under the lid and some bubbling in the pot; some ingredients would bake to the sides. I made stews and chilies that filled the pot to 2/3 to 3/4, cooked on low for 5-7 hours. I refrigerated or froze leftovers. These recipes require precooked or canned beans.

Many slow cooker recipes for recommend using canned beans, because beans take long than any other ingredient. Most canned beans (most canned vegetables) are cooked in the can in a salty broth; salt is used to counteract the effects of this cooking – manufacturers think that without salt, the food takes on offensive flavours. This is a problem for many people – no sodium beans are available but consumers have to find them.

In June 2015, Rival published a statement about Crock-Pots that can still be seen in the Wayback Machine archive here. It includes these assertions and disclaimers about cooking, food safety and slow cooker:

  • The simmering point of water is 209 F.;
  • The contents of a crock should reach that point in 7 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high;
  • Food doesn’t need to reach the boiling point for safe eating – the simmer point is acceptable;
  • The safe to serve internal temperature is around 160 degrees, which your food may reach well before three hours.
  • Just use your best discretion.

Rival did not say which ceramic crock slow cookers could bring food or fluid to 209 F. in under 3 hours on high or low setting. The simmering point of water usually refers to a range from 185 F. to 205 F. The water has thermal energy and bubbles slowly. A small amount of water turns to gas, condenses, and becomes visible as a mist. The water is not actually boiling and the mist is not steam, which is the gas made up of water molecules at a temperature in excess of the boiling point of water.

Simmered food should reach an equilibrium that is will be sustained for a time. The situation will change when heat is added to the system, too much evaporation has occurred, or the food is cooked.

The food safety aspect of cooking is to avoid the conditions in which bacteria contaminate the food. Bacteria are dead in frozen food, dormant in cold food, and die off at about 140 F. They thrive in cool to warm food. They digest the food and excrete complex chemicals that spoil or poison the food. Most cooking methods raise the temperature fast.

Books and recipes before 2016/17 assume 5.5-6 quart ceramic crock slow cookers with high and low cooking settings. Culinary writers try to get a stew, chili or curry done in 6 hours or less – fast slow cooking. Cook’s Illustrated/America’ Test Kitchen produced three America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution cookbooks 2011-2015. Each discussed the uses and some of limitations of the device, and provided workable techniques and recipes – addressing the ceramic crock slower. Each book had product reviews of a few products. The products tended to work the same way.

Innovations extended product lines and marketing opportunities; some innovations added some value for consumers. Timers give cooks an option to turn off or turn down the heat. Jarden/Rival had a line of Smart-Cookers with buttons that allowed the user to select 4 or 6 hours on high, or 8 or 10 on low. These are not what a user may want. The Crock-Pot Count-Down timer was a good innovation and has been widely emulated.

The limitations of ceramic crock slow cookers include:

  • A 6 or 7 quart crock is heavy;
  • The crock could not sauté, fry, or roast food. Some ingredients have to be cooked in a skillet or other vessel first to ensure the dish would be fully cooked, or to enhance flavour (bloom spices, heat onions and garlic, brown some ingredients);
  • The ceramic crock cannot be used on stove elements, in hot ovens, or in microwave ovens;
  • Manufacturers and culinary writers warn users
    • to not lift the lid or stir the food;
    • to not add cold ingredients into a hot crock;
  • The food near the element gets hot first and is always hotter. Food touching the crock near the element may brown, stick or even burn;
  • Ceramic crocks develop cracks and break down. The heat source is in a belt around the lower part of the crock; recipes place variable demand on the device. Manufacturers deflect by blaming users for ignoring warnings and limit their liability to short warranty periods.
  • Replacement ceramic inserts are hard to find – out of production, or out of stock;
  • The device draws power constantly. It is cheaper and more efficient than using an oven, but not necessarily as efficient as other appliances.

Devices sold as slow cookers or having a slow cooker function, in 2019:

  • oval or round vessels with surrounding elements with ceramic cooking vessels or chambers;
  • oval or round vessels with surrounding or bottom elements, with metal, coated metal cooking vessels or chambers
  • round metal pots with bottom elements (electric pressure cookers and other multicookers).

Slow cooker sizes vary. There are many 3 and 4 quart devices. 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5 quart models were common – nearly standard. There have been a few 7.5 and 8 quart models. There are roasting pans/ovens in the shape and style of slow cookers – these are larger than slow cookers.

Some modern slow cookers have metal pans, with non-stick or ceramic coatings. Metal pan slow cookers may have the heating element in an aluminum hotplate below the pan – like rice cookers and electric pressure cookers. A rice cooker heats a metal pot of rice and fluid to a boil, and uses automated controls to change the heat to low simmer. An electric pressure cooker brings the contents of the pot to a rolling boil with a hotplate element (e.g. Instant Pots: 1000 watts in 6 quart pots). A pressure cooker heats food and fluid to the boiling point; under pressure the temperature rises higher. The elements in these devices are below at the cooking vessel, and temperature and pressure sensors are outside the inner pot.

Machines with high wattage elements and/or metal pots rely on temperature sensors and programmed controls to prevent the food from overheating. Temperature sensors are typically outside the cooking vessel, and read a temperature at a point on the outside surface. The chip makes progammed calculations that control the current and the read out/display, if any. Usually, the control chip turns the element off when a set temperature is reached, and turns it for short periods on maintain temperature at the point calculated by the manufacturer’s team. The temperature of the contents of the vessel over time should rise and then graph as peaks and troughs along a mean.

Cook’s Illustrated/America’ Test Kitchen The Complete Slow Cooker (2017) recommended modern slow cookers with features including temperature sensors, countdown timers and electronic controls. CI/ATK tested heating performance by heating 4 quarts of water in 6 and 7 quart slow cookers Parts of the tests and results are in a YouTube video and a background story. There is a graph which shows that several devices in their tests will heat the water to 210 F. on high heat in about three hours; other devices take longer. CI/ATK pointed out that many newer machines run too hot to execute the CI/ATK library of slow cooker recipes. They like devices that heat the food to nearly the boiling point in a few hours and stabilize the heat. CI/ATK highly recommended a 6 quart KitchenAid ceramic crock model with a 350 watt belt element, and a Cuisinart model with a coated aluminum pan and a 250 watt hotplate element.

Wattage does not necessarily predict results. A 200-250 watt element is not hot enough to to fry in a metal pot. It heats the food faster in a metal pot than a ceramic. Ceramic crock machines with lower wattage elements will not heat water to 210 F. in 3 hours on high. Crock-Pot has 370 watts for an 8 quart crock, 240 watts for 6 quart models and 210 watts for 4 quart models. These machines would execute most recipes within the parameters of the recipe books, with a little variation depending on the crock and the contents of the crock. A few hours at low may be enough for soup, stew and chili. Several hours at high will do dry beans.

It is useful to know if device can heat water to 190-210 F., how fast, and on which setting.


Pots and Pans

The hypothesis of Catching Fire is that cooking food was a learned cultural practice that affected the physiological evolution of human beings. It used “external” energy to make eating and digesting food take less time and liberated people to get on with life.

Ceramic cooking vessels were the dominant technology in societies in which people had stable homes. They were/are heavy and might be fragile, as compared to metal. They were the dominant technology until metal could be mined, refined and worked at scale – economically accessible. The Romans had sophisticated ceramics – the decline of the Roman empire is marked in the archeological record by the decline of the quality of ceramics.

Ceramic vessels have been regarded as primitive and superceded in most cultures and have hung on as a specialty method of cooking.

The metal cooking vessel was allowed food to be fried, roasted, boiled or braised. The combination of metal cooking vessels and reasonably safe and efficient stoves that created heat with electricity or fuel enabled people to work with raw ingredients and “staple” processed ingredients (e.g. rice, dried beans, flour) to cook.

The kitchen stove in the 20th century, heated by electrical energy or gas, provided direct heat applied to base of the cooking vessel by elements or burners, and an oven. The top worked with metal vessels, primarily. The user had to set the energy level, monitor the time and temperature and work the food around the pan. It is better than cooking with wood or coal, but it required some skill and effort and used energy.

Cast iron was a dominant technology in 19th century Europe and America. Carbon steel became (and remains) was a popular material to make woks and karahis in Asia. Thick walled vessels were durable and managed to distribute heat evenly. Thin walled vessels were vulnerable to dents and dings, and could easily scorch food. Lighter and less expensive thin-walled, vessels dominated the markets in Europe and America for most of the 20th century. Technological innovations included stainless steel, clad (bonded layers of stainless steel surfaces over other metal that held and conducted heat) bases, multi-ply vessels, induction pans.

American and European tradition culinary writers favoured using heavy cast iron or steel pans to fry or roast to get the outer layers of some food to carmelize (brown), and using technique (e.g. deglazing) to get the carmelized matter out of the pan and into a sauce or gravy that would reach the plate. Enamel on iron and enamel on steel coatings make metal less prone to stick, more resitant to corrosion, and simplied maintenace and care. Bare iron had to be treated or seasoned. This was the folk wisdom of cooks, recited by culinary writers. Cast iron cookware was durable, which led to interest in restoring and using old cast iron ware. The modern manufacturers and culinary writers theorized, experimented and tested the principles of seasoning iron. The idea of seasoning by baking a coating of flaxseed oil became a dominant theory around 2010:

American writers favoured the large skillet to fry and sauté most food, and as shallow roasting pan – even as a substitute for a wok.

Teflon and other chemical non-stick coatings developed in mid to late 20th century had benefits and drawbacks. The coatings could be scratched during use or cleaning – the utensils have to be softer than the utensils that work with bare metal. Some coatings degrade if the pan is overheated, or under heavy use. Hard anodized aluminum is marketed as non-stick. There have been technical advances. True advances cannot be readily identified in the background noise of product marketing “reviews”.

A few pans and utensils and a stove will see most cooks through most tasks. A few specialty applicances can cook some food with less adjustment of stove temperatures and work over the stove.

A flat bottom wok, with a durable non stick coating, is a versatile pan which can serve as a skillet, a deep sauté pan and a wok.

Liege & Lief

Deer Hunting with Jesus

Joe Bageant was a journalist who wrote about how America misunderstood its white working class. He said in an inteview with the BBC in 2008 that white working class “rednecks” have political power, and were tending to conservative populism. Bageant’s comment on the financial crisis of 2008, Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball almost predicted the anger with elites triggered in the 2016 American elections by the Democratic candidate’s putting the white working class into the “basket of deplorables” who supported candidate Trump. His perspective and conclusions are “New Left”, and labor unionist – the working class has been oppressed by neoliberalism and neoconservativism.

Deer Hunting with Jesus is about the struggling, striving, suffering, white working class. It mentions gun culture, fundamentalism, alcohol, conservative talk radio, stock car racing, bass fishing, trailer parks, and country music.

Deer Hunting with Jesus mainly a book about the consequences for working class Americansof the collapse of the detente between capital and labour in America . It prefaces George Packer’s The Unwinding as an account of the hollowing out of the economy. Bageant addesses the disappearance of jobs ith stories about real people.

Bageant considered that much of the American working class has become hostile to “elites” who presume to teach, lead or influence working people. He identified some of the ideological and social influences, and struggles but struggles with history.

Bageant refers to the folk history foundation story of rednecks as the descendents Scotch-Irish immigrants. The common sense and widely accepted nationalist account of the history of working people, inequality and class in America history goes back to the bloodlines and culture of Scotch-Irish Americans and southern Poor Whites. This account endures was considered relevant by the author of Albion’s Seed and popularized in American Nations by Colin Woodard.

Migrants to America had to pay for passage – for 17th an 18th century immigrants from Britain, it meant joining a religious dissident group proposing settlement, or years of servitude and struggle. In America, settlers on the frontier occupied land and displaced the First Nations. This served English Imperial policy, until the settlers demand land and protection from the British Crown against hostile powers, including the First Nations. The American revolution was a revolution of American merchants and landowners against the institutions of colonial rule – a replacement of aritstocracy with oligarchy, in the guise of a democracy of hard-working strivers. The frontier culture favoured the strong and the brave – risk takers, prepared to resort to force to achieve worthy goals. This culture endures, but is not uniquely Scotch-Irish, British, Southern American, Appalachian, Western American or frontier. The history of people is a history of migration and struggle for shelter and subsistence.

Class, more than ethnic origins, is implicated. For instance, in the 1850’s the American Party proudly identified itself as the Know-Nothing party and engaged in violent protests that turned into riots. The history of class in divisions in America has been told in histories such as Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash, summarized in this Washington Post book review. I will have to read and consider that book.

Bageant argues that rednecks are an oppressed class that has so thoroughly absorbed American culture that it lacks class consciousness. Bageant’s view of the history of the working class seems to be based on popular histories – perhaps the Howard Zinn view of American history. Bageant seems to accept and adapt the Chomsky-Herman Manufactured Consent idea or the idea of a Polico-Media complex. Bageant accepts the idea that right-wing populism in America is exceptional. It may be unique and different, but right wing populism has appeared around the world.

Working persons want sufficient wages to live well, and to advance. Investors and manager want to extract labour from workers at the lowest cost, and to extract profits by selling the lowest quality goods and services and the highest profits that can be extracted. Working people are compelled to work with unpleasant co-workers and customers, and to take orders from bosses with arbitrary powers.

The working person must act from behind several literal veils of ignorance. Not surprizingly, life will appear chaotic and unfair. A person may suspect misinformation and systemic unfairness. The American redneck assumes that he knows what he needs to know, and has the capability and instincts to decide well and be successful and happy. The Dunning-Kruger effect is real, and exists as a consistent feature of thinking. Some people are consistently wrong – or just unlucky. The redneck is sure that someone is holding him back.

Redneck identity politics focusses on perpetuating the advantages, such as they are, of conservative white working people, against elites. Grievance at social “privilege” is at the root of identity politics. The word elite refers to political, social or economic advantage or “privilege In redneck identify politics it may be people who have “unfair” advantages, or anyone who does not know their place in society. Redneck populism is egalitarian in a levelling way. It is disrespectful both of “elites” and of persons who may be trying to gain advanages over members of the working class. It is also rudely sceptical. Elites may include corporations, investors, educated persons, managers and marketers. Competitors for economic opportunity may include immigrants, workers in other countries, minorities, women, or members of other ethnic or racial groups.

The resentment of unfair competition intersects with nationalism, racism and fascism. Notoriously, 20th century European fascist theorists rationalized the identification of enemies as central to patriotism:

“The specific distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy,”
For Schmitt, the friend/enemy antithesis was integral, even “existential,” to politics. It was existential in three senses: the enemy needed to be “existentially something different and alien”; opposing such an enemy was the essence of identity; and, in the implicit combat that followed, these enemies posed an existential threat. “The friend, enemy, and combat concepts receive their real meaning precisely because they refer to the real possibility of physical killing”.

The terrifying rehabilitation of Nazi scholar Carl Schmitt“, The New Statesmen America, April 10, 2019

Who should the working person trust – oligarchs, managers, marketers, academics, politicians, revolutionaries, gurus, influencers?


Android Apps

Android Apps evolve to keep up with technology: new versions of the Android OS, new features (e.g. Chromecast)

I used PocketCasts happily to search for and download podcasts. It was acquired by some podcast content providers in 2018, and “upgraded” to version 7 in March 2019. I noticed bugs – the phone got hot and showed high battery use (this was noted in a Reddit thread); playback froze when I used the cast function to play it over my home audio. Also, the app nagged and nudged users to create an account and log in to a Web service. The bugs may have been tied to using the service without registering. Others complained that some features disappeared.

There are podcast/media player apps with more features and less bugs.

I found Player FM as a replacement for PocketCasts. It did not nudge to create an account – it would not start without creating an account and logging in with a third party service.

Many new Apps require a login with Google or Facebook. A user id is a good data key but is based on personally identifiable information. This is essential data to make surveillance economics work.

I have an Android streaming box. The home page is an Android TV App launcher skin. It came preloaded with “home screen channels” presenting rows of “Play Next” links – suggestions – from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Google Play. These channels can be turned off. These channels extend the services onto the device home page, even when the Apps themselves are not otherwise active.

For about 3-4 weeks, a Google App Store “App Spotlight” channel would show up every time I turned the box on, even after I switched it off on the previous session. There was a Reddit – people suggested turning off Google Play services updates to kill the zombie channel. Others thought that Google would patch it.

These services want my attention, even when I have other ideas of how to spend my time and what to watch. I used to think when I bought a device I owned it and could control it. But somebody thinks I owe a company my time to take pitches for new content and services.


Dry Hard

Dry pulses, the seeds of several legumes are inexpensive but take time to cook, which uses time and personal energy, and fuel or power. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recognizes 11 types of pulses harvested as dry grains: dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, bambara beans, vetches, lupins and pulses nes (not elsewhere specified). Split pulses are commonly called grams. Some whole pulses are called grams. It depends on the source of information.

Cooking dry beans was a matter of folk wisdom, and became difficult and obscure through the 20th century after the food industry became able to cook dry beans and present them as precooked in cans and in restaurant supply. Dry beans re-emerged in pastoral, local, and vegetable focussed recipes. Some recipes focussed on traditional methods such as ceramic cooking vessels. Paula Wolfert and others writers who wrote about Mediterranean (southern Europe, the Aegean countries, the Levant and North Africa) cooking introduced dishes and techniques that fell out of favour, to be reintroduced in popular books by Yotsm Ottolenghi in the early 21st century. Others used the stove and pots of the 20th century. Others used slow cookers and pressure cookers; even microwave cooking. Anything that would braise or boil dry beans.

Green beans, string beans, soybeans and some green peas are not dry beans.

Lentils are variants of one or two species in the genus Lens. They have a flat, disk-like shape. In the North American grocery market, the common products are large brown and green lentils grown in the USA and Canada, noted in the Lentil#Types section on the Wikipedia page.

Peas are round; variants of Pisum sativa. Chickpeas are in the genus Cicer. White chickpeas (garbanzo bean; Egyptian pea; kabuli chana) have been grown, cooked and consumed around the Mediteannean and in Asia as far east and south as India for a few millenia of recorded history. In India, dark chickpeas (aka bengal gram) have been cultivated since before recorded history.

Most kidney-shaped or oval beans are variants of Phaseolus vulgraris, a pulse that evolved in South and Central America. The American variants include pinto, navy, Great Northern, lima, red kidney, cranberry and black turtle beans. Phaseolus has travelled and been modified and used in European and Indian agriculture and cooking. Cannellini beans (white kidney), and Great Northern beans were adopted in Italian, Mediterannean, and European cooking and agriculture. Red Kidney beans have become a north Indian food. Some sources recite old botanical taxonomy and refer to some European and Asian dry beans as Phaseolus. Broad beans, and faba (or fava) beans are vetches (Vicia faba); Lupini beans are lupins. Broad beans and lupins are the original Meditaranean and European dried beans.

Canned beans are cooked to a point, canned, and cooked in the can at high temperature. Canned beans are high in sodium, except for some brands.

In Indian cooking, dal may refer to small pulses: lentils, urad beans, mung beans, and pigeon peas. It may include split dark chickpeas and whole chickpeas, white or dark. The term covers many pulses. This Indian cooking site explains and has images. I like Anupy Singla’s books. She explains the terms for whole, split and skin or skinless legumes, which I have summarized:

English name(s)DescriptionIndian name(s)BotanyCooking
Brown lentilwholemasoor dalgenus LensIndian lentils are small;
American lentils are larger
Red lentil;
pink lentil
split brownmasoor dal duhligenus Lens
Mung bean;
Green gram
wholesabut moong dalVigna mungo;
South Asian peas;
Mung beansplit, skinnedmoong dal;
duhli moong dal
Vigna mungo
Urad bean;
black gram
wholesabut uradVigna mungo;
South Asian peas
hard; long cooking time
Urad beanspliturad dal chilkaVigna mungo
Urad beansplit, skinnedurad dal duhliVigna mungo
Pigeon peawholesabut toor dalgenus Cajanus;
India; South-East Asia
Pigeon peasplitduhli toor dalCajanus
Chickpea (white)
Garbanzo bean
wholekabuli chanagenus Cicer
Chickpea (black)
Bengal gram
wholedesi chanaCicer
Chickpea (black)splitchana dalCicer
Blackeyed peagenus Vigna;
Africa; spread to
America and India
Red Kidney beanrajmaphaseolus vulgaris;
central American,
spread to India

It is important to understand the usage of names in recipes. Ural beans can take a long time. There is a large difference between urad beans and urad dal!

Dry pulses last years. This can lead to problems. It is hard to tell how when the beans were harvested. Dried pulses have to be cooked in water. Old pulses are drier and harder to cook. Age is not easily judged from appearance.

The cooking time depends on the seed, age, and cooking method. Many recipe books understate cooking time for some pulses, The age of the pulse cannot be identified easily. Soaking before cooking reduces the cooking time, saving energy and giving the cook some confidence about getting the beans cooked on schedule for a predictable meal time. There are varations – soaking in brine; adding baking soda to the cooking water.

Clay pot cooking was used in every culture – ceramics predated metal cooking vessels. The word olla is Spanish, based on Latin. The Romans had good pottery. After the decline of the Roman empire the olla – the bulbous cooking pot – was the common ceramic vessel. Paula Wolfert wrote about cooking in ceramic pots. Rick Bayless wrote about ceramic beanpots in several books. It was slow cooking. It used as little fuel or energy as necessary.

Mexican and Central American cooks simmered pinto beans and black (turtle) beans in an olla in enough water to keep the beans covered in water through the entire process. According to Rick Bayless writing in Mexico, One Plate at a Time (Scribner, 2000), cooking in an olla heated the beans and water to 205-210 degrees (F), just below boiling. The beans would be cooked for several hours. Little water was lost to evaporation. The beans absorbed much of the water, and the cooking fluid became a broth. With this method, the beans were not soaked or pre-cooked.

Dried pulses can be cooked in cooking vessels on home stoves. Stove and ovens became the preferred approach where hot stoves were workable, including Europe and North America. Stovetop elements and burners heat the contents of metal pots above the boiling point of water, even at the lowest settings. With stoves, metal pots and cheap energy or fuel, the prevalent approach became to soak and boil.

A ceramic or metal beanpot or casserole (e.g. a Dutch Oven) filled with beans and water can be put in an oven; some beans are called baked beans. An oven might be set as low as 250 F. to simmer the beans slowly; many recipes suggest a hotter oven. The constraints on slow simmering and baking are to start early enough to get the beans soft and well cooked by meal time, to use enough water, and to keep the heat low and steady.

Rick Bayless agreed in Mexican Everyday (2005) that a slow cooker was a method of cooking pinto beans, black turtle beans and some other phaseolus beans. This simple device get the beans and water hot enough to simmer. Pinto beans take up to about 8 hours on low. Black turtle beans can be done in 6 hours on low. It depends on the slow cooker. Lentils only take a few hours in a slow cooker.

Some dal can be done with a few hours on low in a slow cooker – the true lentils. Other dal can take a long time in slow cookers – urad beans, rajma (red kidney beans) and chana dal (chickpeas). I have recipes that for curried chickpeas that cook, starting from dry (i.e. not soaked) beans, 12 to 14 hours on high. Split peas take time too. I add hours and/or use high when a slow cooker recipe says split peas can be done in less than 10 hours on low!

With a slow cooker, pre-soaking beans is not required, if you have time to cook them. Soaking beans allows a reduction in cooking time and permits using less cooking water as the beans will absorb less water as they cook.

A pressure cooker is a good way to cook dried pulses. There is a risk of overcooking split pulses which is a benefit if the cook wants soft texture. There is a risk of splitting the skins of larger pulses: so what. I like my beans cooked, not chewy. Modern pressure cooking cookbooks and resources have methods for dried pulses.

If chickpeas have been soaked, they take about 15 to 18 minutes on high pressure in a pressure cooker. Some books say 8-10 minutes but that only parcooks them.

A multicooker on slow cooker settings may not work – depending on model. The multicooker may be an electric pressure cooker (e.g. Instant Pot) with controls to slow cook. Electric pressure cookers can be relied on for pressure cooking. Not all electric pressure cooker multicooker models can reach a slow cooking temperature and maintain it. They have the power, but the designers of some models did not figure out how to use that power for slow cooker functions.


Small Bread Machine Loaves

Home baked bread loses its appeal after a couple of days. Making small loaves is a way to make enough – without toasting the last several slices, or freezing part of a fresh loaf.

A small recipe, in bread machine terms, is a 1 pound loaf made with 2 cups of flour. There are 1 lb machines on the market including Zojirushi models (expensive), and some Panasonic models (expensive; not available in USA or Canada; available on Amazon).  Some large and extra large machines have settings for small loaves. The smallest loaf setting in the Panasonic bread machines with “extra large” (2.5 lb) pans, such as my SD-YD250, is medium – a 1.5 lb. loaf made with 3 cups of flour. 

It is possible to use the a bread machine to mix dough for a small loaf on a dough cycle, with a recipe/formula. It is also possible to load the machine with ingredients for a smaller loaf and bake the loave in the machine. Either way, the recipe formula is scaled down.

Overmixing is a risk in principle with a scaled down loaf. The mixing process can stretch the dough too much or too often, and break the gluten strands. An overmixed dough cannot hold the gases, and will not rise.  Intensive mixing may affect a loaf with effects short of the complete failure caused by overmixing. Food processors can mix dough, although a food processor might only handle 3 cups of flour, and may only have one speed – very fast.  The mixing time may be less than a minute.  Some food processors have a dough speed and/or special blade to mix dough. The risk of overmixing dough in a food processor is well recognized.  A variety of mixers are available to the home baker. A home stand mixer can handle several cups of flour, at low-medium speed settings.  The power output of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a 5 quart bowl may be 325 watts.  A Bosch Compact Kitchen Machine may output 400 watts into its dough hook in its stand mixer configuration. Larger models may output 800 watts.  They have to be used at the right settings and for a short time. The Panasonic SD-YD250 has a 550 watt motor, and runs for 50- 60% of the time in a 25 minute +/- mixing phase on a medium loaf setting.  The heating element, rated at 550 watts, is outside the pan, around the bottom about 1 cm above the bottom. Heat is applied for intervals.  A small loaf develops hot spots around the base of the pan but is not burned.

The area of the rectangular pan is 266 square centimeters: 19 cm (7.5 inches) by 14 cm (5.5 inches). A small recipe would fill the pan to a depth of less than 3 cm. The Panasonic kneader paddle is 6 cm long, radially.  It is 2.6 cm high, rising to a fin 5 cm tall. The dough ball may not touch the sides of the pan, but centrifugal force stretches the dough away from the paddle. The edge of the ball sticks to the pan, and snaps away.  The machine can knead a small recipe.

Baking the scaled down loaf in the bigger machine is possible, but gets interesting. A small loaf should rise and spring to a height of 7.5 cm or more, above the top of the kneader, and flow enough. If dough does not flow, the loaf will be irregular.  Flow depends on hydration, on how the gluten relaxes, and the mass of the ball. Even a medium recipe may not flow enough – which usually means one end of the loaf is taller.

Small loaves get lost in the big pan; they may bake in odd shapes. When the dough ball for a small loaf rests at one “end” of the pan, and ball may settle at one end, flow to fill the pan in the 14 cm dimension, but not 19 cm dimension.  It may bake at that one end of the pan.  It is properly baked – just short. 

An off-center ball can be centered to avoid a sloping loaf.  The best time is right after the last knockdown (in a Panasonic SD-YD250 about 50 minutes before baking starts. A pause to extend the rise helps to get a little more pan flow. If the machine has a power interrupt but not a pause function (like mine) the machine cycle can be paused  by unplugging the machine.  It has to be plugged in within a time limit (for my machine, 10 minutes) to resume where it stopped.  This may have be repeated.  Other ways to extend the rise longer are to stop or shut down the cycle and:

  • leave the dough in the machine pan to rise, and start the machine later on the Cake or Bake only cycle;
  • put the dough in a conventional pan, let it rise, and put it in the kitchen oven.

The first step is get a scale by reference to total flour; by recipe size (volume); e.g. 3 cups (medium) to 2 (small): 2/3. I can’t scale to less than 75 percent or 80 percent of medium in a machine with a rectangular pan. Leaving aside recipes for the French bread cycle and dough cycles, 2 cups of flour does not make a large enough dough ball. Perhaps 2/3 would work in machines with medium or large “tall” pans.

Scaling from volume is possible, with careful calculation and measurement. Such as – 2/3 of 1.25 (1 and 1/4) cups of water is .8375 cups; a cup is 16 tbsp or 48 tsp.  Three quarters of cup plus 1 tablespoon is 13/16 – .8125.  Three quarters of cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp is 40/48 – .8333.

The most precise way to scale is by weight. As almost all home recipes list ingredients by volume, working by weight means finding conversion factors. Conversion factors are not always easy to find, and sources may disgree or only apply to some varieties of an ingredient, or to a brand of a commodity.

Flour, water, salt and yeast must be weighed carefully. I weigh flour and water in a bowl or measuring cup; I reset the scale to zero after putting the empty measuring vessel on the scale. A scale that goes to 1 gram is precise enough for flour. The volume measurements of salt and yeast for small loaves are fractions of a teaspoon.  I use a scale that goes to 0.1 grams.

Seeds and herbs should be scaled, but don’t have to be measured down to the gram. Oils, sugar and and sweet fluids should be scaled but don’t have to be measured to the gram. It is worth being aware of water in honey, maple syrop, molasses, eggs and different kinds of milk.

I don’t trust recipes that call for 2 tsp of yeast for a medium loaf to work in this machine.  I bake for low sodium. My tables scale at 50% salt, with yeast adjusted for salt. I also adjust yeast for this machine in two ways.

French Bread Cycle

Panasonic’s French Bread.  A 3 cup recipe makes an extra large loaf by volume. The French Bread cycle has a long initial rest, a short mixing phase, a long rise and 10% longer baking time. Bakers shape lean, wet white dough into batards and baguettes which hold up and slice better. I have scaled to 2/3 and 1/2 of 3 cups (2 cups and 1.5 cups of flour). The 1.5 cup version produces a loaf that is as “tall” and “wide” as bakery French Bread but 19 cm “long” – a short blunt batard:

 "Medium" Loaf   @ 67%@ 50%
Panasonic Manual50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
IngredientWeight g.B%
Instant Yeast
? standard | Panasonic
2 tsp. | 1 tsp.n. | .5 tspn | 1.4 g..3n | 1 g.n | .7 g.
White flour3 cups3 cups417 100278209
Butter1 tbsp.67 tbsp = 2 tsp.5 tbsp
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.312.82.2
Water1.3125 (1 + 5/16) cups31074207155

Basic Cycle

Beth Hensperger’s Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (p. 48) Country White”. This is a sandwich loaf:

IngredientMedium   @ 75% Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
WeightB %
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp.1 tsp. | .5 tsp.n | 1.4 g.n | 1 g.
Bread Flour \ TFW3 cups417 g.100313 g.
Instant Potato Flakes1.5 tbsp.1 tbsp + .5 tsp
Skim Milk Powder3 tbsp.2 tbsp + .75 tsp
Sugar1 tbsp.2.25 tsp.
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g.3.2 g.
Gluten1 tbsp.0
Canola or Olive
1 tbsp.2.25 tsp.
Water1.33 cups315 g.236 g.

Beth Hensperger’s Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (p. 200) “Chuck Williams Country French”. This is a rustic French bread. The dough may have to be watched and centered to get a symetrical loaf. This loaf does well if mixed on a dough cycle and and baked in a loaf pan or shaped and baked on a pizza stone or baking tile.

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
1 3/4 tsp7/8 tsp | 7/16 tsp
n | .9 g.n | .68 g.
White Flour2.25 cups313 g75235 g.
Whole Wheat.75 cups104 g2578 g.
TFW417 g100
Salt1.5 tsp.75 tsp4.3 g13.2 g.
Water1.25 cups1 + 3/16 cups
(1 cup + 3 tbsp)
280 g.71214 g.

Pembina Bread is based on BLBMC Country French and BLBMC Dakota Bread:

 Medium LoafMedium LoafMedium Loaf@ 75% of Medium
50% Sodium
50% Sodium
50% Sodium
DakotaWeight g.
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp |1 tsp. | .5 tspn | 1.4 g.1 g.
Whole Wheat.5 cups.625 cups
8765 g.
White Flour2.25 cups2.25 cups313 g235 g.
Bulgur.25 cups.25 cups
40 g.30 g.
Salt 1.5 tsp..75 tsp
Sunflower seeds
.25 cups.25 cups3 tbsp
Pumpkin seeds
raw, chopped
.25 cups2 tbsp.1.5 tbsp
Sesame seeds2 tsp.2 tsp1.5 tsp
Poppy seeds1.5 tsp2 tsp1.5 tsp
Flax seeds2 tsp.1.5 tsp
2 tbsp0
Canola Oil2 tbsp

Sunflower Oil2 tbsp1.5 tbsp.
Honey2 tbsp21 g.
[5 g. water]
15 g.
(1.5 tbsp)
Water1.25 cups300 g.225 g.
Total fluids305 g.

Whole Wheat Cycle

Panasonic’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread.  The Panasonic recipes are for medium, large and extra large. To do these in a Panasonic device at 50% sodium reduce salt and yeast by half. In other devices, I would start from another recipe and reduce salt and yeast. I have experimented with a small loaf at 75% of medium ingredients on the medium loaf setting in my Panasonic machine. It works, with slightly higher hydration.

 Flax Seed Whole Wheat Bread, a variant of BLBMC Flax Seed (p. 118).  Getting this recipe to work involved figuring out the difference between using milk vs water and dry milk (powder) and using honey. It also helped to tune this formula, which makes changes to the BLBMC source:

 MediumMediumMedium @ 75% of medium
BLBMC50% sodium50% sodium
50% sodium
Instant Yeast
Standard | Panasonic
2 tspn | .625 tsp

n | 1.8 g.1.3 g.
Whole Wheat1 cup2 cups
278 g.61209 g.
White Flour2 cups1 cup139 g.31104 g.
Flax mealx2 tbsp12 g.039 g.
Rolled Oatsx.25 cup25 g,0619 g.
T. Flours/strong>454 g.100
Flax Seed2 tbsp.2 tbsp.1.5 tbsp.
Poppy Seedx2 tsp.1.5 tsp,
Salt 1 tsp.5 tsp
2.8 g..622.1 g.
Gluten 1 tbsp0
Olive Oil or
[BLBMC] Canola
3 tbsp.3 tbsp.2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Honey3 tbsp.3 tbsp60 g.
[12 g.]
345 g. or
2.25 tbsp i.e.
2 tbsp + .75 tsp.
Skim Milk1.33 cup
(325 ml)
320 g
[290 g.]
240 g.
if Water1.125 cups
Skim Milk Powder
if Water
.25 cups
Fluid Weight302 g.67

Cornell Bread, a BLBMC recipe (p. 161).  The  BLBMC calls for one large egg for the medium loaf (and for the large loaf, for that matter). I can adjust water down – which is what I try to do:

[table “34” not found /]

Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread, a BLBMC recipe (p. 108), is a 50% whole wheat loaf with buttermilk.

Medium@ 75% of Medium
BLBMC50% Sodium50% Sodium50% Sodium
Instant Yeast
standard | Panasonic
2 tsp1 tsp | .5 tsp.
n | 1.4 g.n | 1.1 g.
Whole Wheat1.5 cups209 g.157 g.
White Flour1.5 cups209 g.157 g.
TFW418 g.
Salt 1.5 tsp.75 tsp
4.3 g3.2 g
1.33 tbsp
Canola Oil2 tbsp1.5 tbsp
Maple Syrup2 tbsp40 g.
[13 g. fluid]
1.5 tbsp
[9 g. fluid]
Buttermilk1.125 cups275 g.
[250 g. fluid]
210 g.
(.85 cups)
Fluid total263 g.