I am a kitchen adventurer. I am almost always willing to try exotic ingredients and semi-outrageous cooking methods. I have torched things, gutted fish while they were still alive and too many things to list. I just have this one phobia-- The Pressure Cooker. I have owned one for about 15 years now and grew up using one probably a few times a week. I used it here and there the first few years I had it with no fear. It didn't even phase I was making the most tough meats melt-in-your-mouth tender. I was also making dishes that would normally take hours in 1/4 of the time. It was that one time that I was using it to make dhal (an Indian soup-like dish made with split peas) and I had the burner on too high of heat and the shaker top popped off. All I remember was a volcanic eruption of turmeric colored split peas spewing out the top and I had to act quickly. I threw a wet towel over the top and grabbed pot holders to remove the pressure cooker off the burner element. Holy cow, it was an absolute mess! I can't believe by some miracle, I was able to clean it all up from the ceiling and walls. I was panicked since we were living in an apartment at the time. That was many years ago! I washed my pot up and packed it away. I didn't want to go through that drama again.
Fast forward to this past weekend... I had been talking to my sister for a few weeks now about how I cook dhal for almost 2 hours because I am deathly afraid of the pressure cooker. She would make fun of me for being such a wimp and told me it would be fine. I finally got enough courage to try it out one more time. I won't lie, I felt the fear move through my entire body. I washed each component and could feel my heart racing. I had to take deep breaths and calm myself down. It's just cookware after all. I proceeded to get my ingredients in the pot and it all came down to that moment-- putting the lid on the pot and placing the weight topper on it. I think my blood pressure spiked at this time. I actually prayed as I waited to hear the sound when you know the actual pressure is locked inside the pot. Slowly, the topper started to move and make a hissing sound. Once this started I did not take my eyes off of it. I had my oven mitts set beside me and a wet kitchen towel, just in case.
It started going a little faster. This is where I turned the heat down a bit. I wasn't taking any chances! Fifteen anxiety-riddled minutes later, I had completely cooked dhal! I even got all of my estimated measurements right. I was able to breathe and know that I don't have to be (as) afraid of the pressure cooker any more :)
Do you own a pressure cooker? Have you ever had any bad experiences with it before?