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The idea of cooking at pressure is to save time and fuel. Normal cooking keeps housewife tied down to the kitchen. In pressure cooking there is the additional advantage of saving food values and flavour, since the cooker is tightly closed throughout the cooking time. Certain foods which do not cook in normal conditions, like tough meat, etc, get soften by pressure cooking. 

To test if your cooker is in order, boil two or three cups of water in it and let it come to pressure. If it takes about five minutes to produced the hissing sound, on strong heat, the gasket and safety valve are in good condition.

The gasket and fuse should occasionally be smeared with oil to keep it soft. Stretch the gasket a little before you put it on to the lid, so that it will fit well into it and would not let stream escape. the gasket has to be cleaned with a wet cloth to remove any food particles  that cling to it. Do not keep tight fitting lids on vessels that are kept inside the cooker. Cleaning of the lid should be done carefully to avoid extra stretching of the gasket. 

Rough handling will cause dents in the rim and thus spoil the cooker. While cleaning the lid see that the vent is open and not clogged with food particles.
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