Join Date: Jul 2000
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Pat, modern pressure cookers (post WW2 or so) are most unlikely to explode. Even the cheapest ones usually have a rubber blow-out plug in the top cover, so that if too much pressure builds up the plug blows out and the pot can't explode. The more expensive ones have fancier pressure-reliefs and if you keep them clean, they can't plug up and won't fail.
A bigger problem to me is that I can't see what is happening in the pot, so it is a relationship built strictly on trusting the clock and your measurements. Change to a different burner--and you'll need to change times again too, so any given pressure cooker on any given burner has to be treated somewhat as a "new" way of cooking.
First time you microwave, or bbq, or braise, or broil, or move from baking in a gas oven to an electric one, you will find the same problem. Everything cooks "different" and you need some practice to make it right. Or, you open it too soon and waste time building pressure again. Or, you cook too long and make goo.
If you didn't buy your pressure cooker new, see if the company has a recipe book for it. If not buy one, since the recipes all in one source should (in theory) at least work for one pot, and if yours needs more or less time at least it should be similar for them all.
I still like to SEE what's cooking, but there is no denying a pressure cooker saves fuel and keeps all the food in place when the boat goes bump.