Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Windex Does Not Put Out Grease Fires

We've all had our own little kitchen faux pahs in the past. I own up to mine, for they have been fantastic. I never do anything small, my mistakes should be grand. Phenomenal. And if at all possible, should involve home repair afterwards or a hospital visit.

I do believe I've covered in the past my accidentally flashing a party of picnickers while trying to stop some cornbread from becoming a charcoal briquette. And I think I have conveyed the tale of screaming into a pool due to a chili pepper in my eye. I even told you how I was mistaken for a street hooker.

So why not embarress myself some more, hmm? Did I ever tell you about the time I was cooking bacon at 2 am in the morning? For some reason, I had an intense hunger for it, so I woke up and went to the kitchen and started enough bacon to feed an army. Now, understand, working with heat and grease while you're nodding off is never a good thing. Next thing I know, there are flames in the kitchen. So, just having woken up from the pork laden heat, I grabbed the closest thing I saw to put it out.

Sadly, Windex is never a good option for a grease fire. It just makes things worse. Luckily the new surge of fire brought me to my senses and I slammed the lid over the skillet. Go me!

Then there's the numerous times I set off the smoke alarm. Making crostini with Sarah. Making biscotti with my old roommate. Making garlic bread with Amber. Notice a patter?

That's right; other people. They need to learn to stop burning shit in my oven, while I'm not paying attention and playing Hapland on the computer.

Oh, there was that one time I had to throw out a whole pot of clams stuffed with a Moroccan rice mixture and ordered Pizza Hut. Apparently leaving out a few choice spices really does affect the end product.

Aaaaannnd, the time when I was cutting up veggies with my brand new knife which could cut the fabric of time and space and was watching TV at the same time. Needless to say, my thumb now has a wicked scar.

I think I'm just klutzy is all...

Anyone else have any good stories of woe in the kitchen?


  1. I believe you need to ban people from coming over your house. Windex and fire, bet you that smelled fantastic. Oh wait, Fantasic is another household product.

    I've set off my smoke detectors more times than I can count. Completely decimated a cheescake and then sat on my back patio crying.

    I slid a completely decorated birthday into my fridge to set and pushed it too close to a bottle of soda. Hence, soda fell over and landed flat in the middle of the cake.

  2. We should start a "I Wasn't Paying Attention and Now My Thumb Has a Wicked Scar Club (International)". We'll be co-presidents!

  3. Well, there was the Thanksgiving that we set the turkey on fire. Not intentionally, of course. We didn't know that our apartment's oven was miscalibrated by, oh, about 250F. Our 16-lb bird gave off so much fat and juices, it overflowed the roasting pan and burst into flames. Try finding a lid to cover that!

    And if I had a dollar for every time I've cut myself while chopping, or coring apples, or just standing near sharp objects, I'd have enough money to pay for the reconstructive surgery.

  4. you are cracking me up over here... :)

  5. My all-time favorite was pureeing cream of asparagus soup in the blender without holding the lid closed. Fade to vile green stuff everywhere, and dripping from ceiling onto my head just as some potential roommates come through the kitchen. Needless to say, the didn't move in.

  6. Ohhh...man I am sorry, but I had to laugh. I feel your pain though. There are two stories here...

    Once I was cooking on our stove, an electrical stove, the type with the ring like burners, and turned around to talk to my friend when I was cooking. I had rested my hand on the stove and the next thing I knew I smelled something cooking. I set my hand down on the burner. Luckily I caught it in time, but it hurt BAD and took about a week or two to recover from.

    Then there was the time I was grating cheese and watching TV, not paying attention. Let's just say a grater and fingers don't really mesh well together. It hurts just thinking about it.

  7. As a regular and fairly decent cook I do not often wonder into your land of specialty, baking. Alas, your black bottom cupcakes made me salivate so I tried to make them this weekend.

    Well, the first part of my challenge is that I am not a good recipe cook, I tend to freelance a lot, read 3-5 recipes and make my own version, and I know that with baking that is not a good idea. Second my son was with me and he tends to distract me wondering around the house at his tender age of 1. So having given you my sorry excuses I made the recipe with oat flour to avert gluten allergies (I think my first mistake, wrong flour) and forgot to add the extra cup of sugar in the chocolate cake mix. Needless to say what turned out was a very dense chocolate bottom, that tasted too much like the vinegar and dark chocolate, and nothing like the fluffy sweet chocolate displayed prominently in your blog. Sweet and sour cupcakes. The cheesy frosting tried in vain to save the rest of the experiment, but I had to toss them. I was really bummed.

    I will try again soon, this time with all purpose gluten free flour, and with the cup of sugar you called for.

    I guess this qualifies as a "not so smart moment"...

  8. Paul, I appreciate your candor, trust me when I say I have failed at more cupcakes than you can imagine. Plus, I appreciate you sharing this about the recipe. :)

  9. I have recently developed a bad habit of burning myself while cooking, and occasionally while eating. Something that only used to happen when I was ironing.

    I don't usually burn myself by prosaic I-forgot-to-grab-a-pot-mit ways. No, I burned the outside of my forearm when I forget the stone bowl holding the Bip Bim Bop is hot. I burned the inside of my arm while moving a hot, stove top cast iron grill plate (I needed the burner!). I burned the flesh between my thumb and forefinger by poking something to see whether it was solid inside (it wasn't, hot stuff squirted out over my hand).
    But my most impressive effort? I burned my shin, yes that's on my leg, by touching it to the open oven door.

  10. Ah that was a good laugh! Thanks for sharing.

    My more recent disasters have included slicing halfway through my thumb when carving pumpkins one Halloween some two years ago (still have the scar, and a mortal fear of pumpkins).

    Also cooking a chicken from frozen that turned out to be rotten on completion (in my defence, this was about eight years ago - I was new to cooking back then...).

    More recently I fiddled around with the dishwasher at work - there were no dishwasher tabs to be had and it had started to smell so I added some normal dishwashing liquid. The bubbles were pretty but the foam that crept out across the office floor (in the middle of a high level board meeting I might add) did not go down so well with some...(this was last Thursday, by the way).

    There are others, so many, but in the interests of preserving my good name I will remain silent on them.

    All you need to know is that you are most definitely not on your own.

  11. Tonight, enjoying our often made meal of steak, refried pinto beans and salsa....

    Dad: Why are these beans so tough?

    Mom: I don't know, I don't understand it. Usually these beans only take 25 minutes in the pressure cooker. These took 35 minutes and they're still tough. Where did you get them?

    Dad: I don't remember.

    Mom: They were in a plastic Whole Foods bag. Did you get them from a bin?

    Elise: A Whole Foods bag? MOM, you cooked my PIE WEIGHTS. They've been in that Whole Foods bag, clearly marked "pie weights" for 2 YEARS.

    Mom: Well that explains it. They were awfully dry. And dark.

    Elise: Yeah, well they've been baked several times already.

    Dad: I feel like a castaway sailor eating the the last of the provisions.

  12. My uncle exploded a pressure cooker full of chitlins all over the kitchen... years later, they still find a piece of petrified chitlin back in the far reaches underneath cabinets now and then...

  13. I appreciate the PSA title on this one.

    I like to cook. And I like to eat home cooked food so much that we no longer go out to fancy meals because I always reason "But I could make it so much better at home!"

    My hands have really paid the price. Grease splatter scars, knife wounds from evil avocados and irritable onions...i stopped trimming my fingernails because they are often the only thing between the soft flesh of my fingers and my Wusthof.

    The personal favorite story that people like to tell about my kitchen injuries has to be the series of small burns I have on my stomach. I have been cooking since I was about twelve and have cooked while wearing every version of an impractical garment - pajamas, fishnet, camisoles, cropped hoodies. I am also a huge fan of passed-down-through-the-generations-bought-at-thrift-stores-and-lovingly-seasoned cast iron. I am slightly anemic so the iron leaching is great, the easy clean-up is a must, the heat-conductivity and holding and the ready to go from stovetop to fire to grill to oven is a favored trait. The hot handles, however, I find problematic. There is literally a horizontal trail of scars about an inch long and a 1/4 of an inch high across my stomach from the dozens of times I've leaned over a pan, on tip toes, to remove something from the cupboard above the stove while cooking and forgotten to turn the handle to the inside of the stove.... They blister and hurt and they make for interesting questions when wearing swimsuits but I never learn and do it again and again and again.

    To combat this problem - when we moved, we put nothing in the cupboard above the stove. It's a high price to pay in a tiny apartment kitchen but I'm getting it back in spades.

  14. I have an awesome scar on my thumb from a food processor. i was later told that the lid was designed to stop you from chopping ur thumbs off... who knew...

    and thanx for the hapland link. my life is never going to be the smae (grumble grumble)


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