This is one of those classic “feel good” comfort food recipes that showed up on our table on a fairly regular basis. But it’s not the tasty, saucy meatballs that stand out most in my memory, it was the method Mom used to prepare them – the mystical and oft dreaded pressure cooker!
This recipe, and frankly most others that are similar, recommend using the oven to bake the meatballs. But from the late 1930s onward pressure cooking was the “new way” for fast, efficient meal preparation and was particularly fashionable when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Both my grandmothers used them and I’m curious now if they didn’t place a good dose of fear into my Mom concerning their use. I always remember that whenever the pressure cooker came out of the cupboard the mood of the kitchen changed. There was a clearly delineated area around the stove that we weren’t to enter “just in case”. And although there were never any pressure induced explosions (as I was always waiting for), I learned to have a healthy and admittedly fearful respect for the pressure cooker. It’s likely why I’ve never used one even though they’ve become quite popular again with many new safety features.
I’ve only made this recipe once in recent years and sadly it was a disaster. I think I either didn’t use enough liquid or didn’t allow it to cook long enough, but the result was a bit crunchier than it should have been and didn’t impress my partner in the least. I think I may need to give it another go again soon, because it really is a terrifically tasty dish that is wonderful served on a cold winter night.