The Exploding Pressure Cooker
It happened again last afternoon at work during a casual conversation about what's for supper. The topic of post roasts came up followed by the usual, "I don't have time for that". Among my anglo co-workers, (I'm one too), there's apears to be a consensus that supper shouldn't take more then an hour and involve as few ingredients as possible and the concept of pre-preparation the night befrore appears to be an abstract concept. So I bit. Fifteen-20 minutes veggie preparation and 15 minutes a pound in a pressure cooker with most of the vegetables added at the last 8 minutes isn't going to crimp anyones time. Fast,simple,and easy.
Here we go again. Everyone chimes in with a horror story about someone that someone knew or their mother (or someone she knew) that had a pressure cooker blow up. Same old,same old. The roof,wall,scalds. The urban legend continues ad nauseum. It always gets me with the intense conviction that the stories are re-told and always second or third hand accounts. You might as well talk about attempting to cook with explosives. These women are so convinced that pressure cookers are dangerous time bombs there is no way to rationally talk about the subject. Amusing to the rest of us really.
I grew up with my grandparents. The old,Mirro pressure cookers with the round disc for the jiggler were used almost daily probably made in the 40's with bakelite handles. Never an incident or a problem. Cooking was second nature with them. When I learned to cook from many of my Cuban friends mothers and grandmothers, they too used them most every day. None of us ever heard stories of black or red bean covered walls. Part of the legend is that many cookers were made with inferior materials by today's standards. Every pressure cooker made has had some form of pressure safety. Still, safeties and jiggler stems can plug, but that doesn't obviate not keeping an eye on your cooker like most people do and lower the temp once the jiggler indicates pressure or noticing something isn't right. Lets face it, if some explosions occured, it would have taken some mass neglect or abject ignorance.
Will this nonsense ever go away ? Have any of you had this acutally happen to you or wittnessed it? In over 40 years of pressure cooking including pressure frying in oil, never has anything remotely similar ever happened to me.