Kitchen equipment disasters

publickmanMay 7, 2013

I was going to post some of this earlier, but I had a bad cold two and a half weeks ago that lasted two weeks, and so I did not post much during that time.

First disaster - the lid to my pressure cooker fell off of the top of the rack above my peninsula and afterwards I could not get pressure in the cooker. I could tell that one of the parts in the handle was dislodged/broken, and so I ordered a replacement handle, but when I took the old handle off, I noticed that none of the parts were broken, and so I reassembled the old parts back together. It seems to work now, but I've noticed that after the heat has been turned off for 10-15 minutes, the pressure has dissipated. It creates pressure while it is on heat, however, and so I am wondering if it is partially broken now. I can't remember how it was before because I only used it three or four times before the lid fell.

Week-end before last we had micro-earthquakes, a 3.2 at 8:00 PM Friday and 2.8 at 8:00 PM on Sunday, just two days later, to the hour. We were only a few blocks from the epicenter, and so the jolt was very noticeable, mostly making the sliding glass patio door and some of the windows rattle, but it did nothing to my hanging rack, which will sway when we get bigger quakes, even if they are further away. Anyway, the second quake unnerved me a bit, and I had to check to make sure that the outside gate was not affected. In a larger quake, the outside wall moved 1/4" away from the house, and the gate would not lock after that and stayed open the night that that quake happened.

Last week-end one of the shelves in my upper cabinets fell down, causing glasses and crystal to slide down to one end of the cabinet. I believe this was on Saturday. It made a large crashing sound, and I thought that the neighbors were throwing glass into their recycling bin, although I looked around in the kitchen and didn't see anything. Then on Sunday morning, there was another crashing sound, and after this crash, Kevin tried to open the cabinet where we have glass and crystal but was unable to do so without things falling out, and so I got him to help me hold the door partially open while I carefully extracted glass and crystal that had fallen to one end. Oddly enough, only two glasses were broken and none of the crystal. The shelf fell because the plastic shelf pins had broken, but when the shelf fell, it landed on some sturdy glass tumblers that protected the crystal. I hate these plastic shelf pins, and they came with the house. I tried to replace them at first, but they have catches on them so that you have to press them flat to push the shelf up, and that is very difficult to do. I managed to get all of them out of the glass cabinet, but I have 18 more shelves in other cabinets to replace. Some of the other plastic pins have already broken in other cabinets, but food items on the shelves below them are propping up the shelves. We bought enough metal shelf pins (and we could only find brass in the right size - 3/16" diameter) to replace the rest. I wanted to use nickel pins, but they are 1/4" diameter, and I do not feel like drilling the holes. Kevin said that the pins really do not show anyway.


I got interrupted before I could add my question:
Do you think my pressure cooker is okay, or do I need to replace the whole thing? How important is it for the pressure to remain after the pan is off the heat?

This post was edited by publickman on Tue, May 7, 13 at 14:50

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First answering your question regarding the PC.

I would consider 10-15 minutes for the pressure to dissipate to be normal, especially if the kitchen is cool. Also it varies depending on how full the PC is. What model is your PC?

I think you may want to Google "earthquake proof your home". There are simple things you can do to secure items to prevent damages should a minor quake comes.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 3:12PM
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I have a Fagor Pressure Cooker, but I do remember that when I used it before, I had to turn a valve on the top to release the pressure before I could open the lid, and I believe that I had turned the heat off of the induction burner at least 10 minutes before I did that, and there was still a lot of pressure in the pan. Now, when I turn the release valve after waiting 10 minutes off heat, there is no pressure left. Since I won't be making any bombs, that might not be an issue.

The rest of the house has been earthquake proofed, and I have been in enough large quakes to know what to expect. I do want to get some latches for the cabinet doors, as the plastic ones wear out, and I want to try something different. When I lived in Culver City in 1994, everything came out of the kitchen cabinets, although oddly, only in one direction, and so everything that was in cabinets on one wall came crashing onto the floor, and the items in cabinets on the opposite wall had everything shoved against the back of the cabinets. I was unaware that the shaking was directional while it was happening, although I did seem to notice things flying in one general direction. I guess they can only fly in one direction at a time, and once they have left their shelves, they do not return.

We have everything tall strapped down or strapped against walls, and a lot of items are secured with museum putty. All paintings are on earthquake secure hangers - I quickly learned about that. We replace our drinking water once a year, and we have water in the hot tub that we can use for washing and for flushing toilets, although we also have a portable toilet. There are parts of the yard where we could dig latrines, if necessary, and Kevin knows how to deal with the gas. He says it is on automatic turn-off and then after that, the gas company has to come to turn it back on. We have plenty of propane for cooking for several days, however.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 3:38PM
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For that model of PC, all the parts which can cause pressure problems are in the handle that you replaced.

The only other part that can cause problem is the gasket, which is unlikely because you have a new PC. Still, try to take it out and clean it, just in case some particles might have gotten in it and creates a tiny gap.

I suspect this was what happened when you could not get pressure to build up. When the top fell down, the impact jarred the handle attachment screws loose and pressure leaked out from there.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Lars, if you were using it for canning, I'd say not to take any chances but since you are using it for cooking, if the food cooks, it's probably all right.

I dropped a lid to my pressure canner and broke the stem that held the pressure gauge on. I replaced the gauge and the washer/nut/bolt that held it on, but it still doesn't hold pressure so it may be irreparably damaged.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:17AM
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I would not take chances. A pressure cooker that does not hold pressure securely is liable to burst and that is a mess you do not want to see. Ever tried cleaning stuck on pieces of rice and lentils from popcorn ceiling. It is not pretty !

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 6:49PM
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My pressure cooker holds pressure while it is cooking and only loses it after the heat is removed. I can't see how that would make it burst, since the pressure is lower instead of greater. Next time I will check to see if I can find out where the leak is.

I agree that popcorn ceilings are not pretty. I would remove the popcorn with the rice and lentils and then paint it a nice new color - possibly a pale saffron, or something else to go with lentils. I don't think I've seen a kitchen with a popcorn ceiling, but I've seen it in other rooms.

I don't grow anything to can any more - now that I do not have fig trees, and so you are right that I will not be using it for that. At some point I may buy another pressure cooker, but I really do not have any storage room in my kitchen for another pot, and so I would have to get rid of something or move more pans to the garage. I have seasonal cookware there.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:52AM
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