That’s what our boys used to call the gift we periodically received years ago from our neighbor, a Brazilian grandma. She asked to be called Vava and the beans she cooked were delicious.
When the kids were little Vava taught me how to make her recipe. It’s simple. Place dried pinto beans, water, salt and garlic into a pressure cooker for 30 minutes and presto.
But I’ve never made them.
Part of my negligence can be blamed on not owning a pressure cooker. But she offered to loan me hers so it’s not just that. The truth is, those pots terrify me.
Recently I confessed my fear to a friend and stated that my irrational aversion comes from my childhood. One poignant memory shaped my attitude and squelched my bean-making future.
I was standing in my grandmother’s kitchen as a pre-schooler watching her snap the lid on her cooker and crank the heat. Within minutes the escape valve began to rattle and steam hissed wildly. My eyes grew wide and with a twinkle Grandma declared, “It’s going to blow! You better run and hide!”
I didn’t wait to see if she was joking.
After hearing my account, my friend looked at me and said, “Shelaine, you’re almost 51 years old. It’s time to face that fear!” I’ve been pondering her admonition.
It’s true. I rarely turn on the news to hear of mayhem and devastation from pressure cookers. As an adult I can rationally consider safe use of a kitchen aid.
But the fear was real, planted in my child brain, even if unintended by grandma.
And the responsibility to address that angst is mine. As a grown-up, I can remind myself that feelings are often not the facts. I choose to ask questions to challenge long-held fears like, “Where is the evidence to support my belief?” and “Do other people experience similar responses?” and most importantly, “God, how do you see this situation?”
I’ve run my pressure cooker avoidance through these queries and concluded it’s time to live on the edge. Good thing. I received one from my kids for Mother’s Day.
With love and gratitude,
PS I wrote this piece before I received the gift.
In The Midst