Full Steam Ahead: Why You Need to Buy a Pressure Cooker Right Now
Photograph by Shana Novak

A long, slow braise is culinary magic, but who has the time? A pressure cooker can bail you out on those days when you haven't done a lot of advance planning. The intense pressure cuts the time it would normally take to slow-cook, stew, or boil by as much as 70 percent. The latest devices are safer than ever (yes, there was a time when the lid could actually blow off), and along with basic stovetop versions, there are electric models and multicookers, the latter of which can operate either fast or slow, with a variety of preprogrammed settings. So at your next barbecue, don't waste hours getting dried legumes tender and creamy for your baked beans. Just throw them into one of these cookers and spend your extra time drinking by the pool.