Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How NOT to cook things.

I have perpetrated some seriously heinous kitchen disasters in my day. There was the time that I dropped the lid of the crock pot from the height of about 7 feet. I was on a stool getting it off a high shelf and the lid slid off backwards crashing to the floor in a shower of glass particles that looked like a rain of indoor hail. There was that one time that I was pureeing steamed mustard greens to make Saag and the bowl of the food processor slipped out of my hands spattering the front of the cabinets, the floor, the refrigerator across the room, myself and the baby who was in one of those bouncy “gym” thingies with a finely pureed mash of spiced greens.  There was the time I brilliantly decided to “cool off” two hot lasagna pans by spraying them with cold water.  Thermal shock, it’s a thing. It’s not a good thing.  My love of durable surfaces means that glassware is basically not safe in my kitchen, cast iron sinks, tile floors, let’s just say that I can estimate the blast radius of a dropped Correll plate with an uncanny accuracy.

I’m telling you this so that you know me to be an expert in kitchen disasters, so that when I tell you that I experienced the pinnacle of culinary catastrophes that you’ll understand I am not talking about a chipped wine glass, or a dropped mug of hot chocolate but an honest to Goddess, 4 alarm CRIME SCENE.

To set the mood.  I’m getting ready for a dinner party, because I like to torture myself apparently.  Actually it’s because inviting people over to my house is pretty much the only thing that will inspire me to clean my house and if I don’t host people on a semi-regular basis we would all be living in a nest of dirty socks, toys, soiled dishes and sweaty sports bras.  So I’m cleaning my house.  Also there’s a bunch of rhubarb wilting on the counter top which needs to be either cooked or discarded that day, also I’m making a tart crust, also I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet, also my children seem to think I should feed them or something.  So basically just your every day Saturday morning at our house.

Oh wait there’s something else you need to know. I hate electric stoves.  I hate them, but that’s what I currently have because until it’s broken I can’t justify replacing it.

So I decide to blind bake a pie crust for the rhubarb pie while I’m mixing up my tart crust recipe, making coffee, loading the dishwasher, and toasting bread to feed the children.  Put toast in the toaster, separate egg for tart crust, find container for the egg white so that I don’t waste it, coffee is done, pour coffee in cup, put butter on toast, put tart dough in the fridge to firm up, put away dishes and reload the dishwasher, pie crust is done, pull pie out of the oven and place on stovetop before running upstairs to change out of pajamas.

Halfway up the stairs I hear a noise that sounds like the children have thrown a box of legos across the room, or possibly turned over a bookshelf full of board games.  It’s a crash combined with the tinkle of many small objects being flung in every direction.  

“What did you break!?!” I yell from the stairs. 

“NOTHING!!” comes the indignant response of 3 falsely accused children.  

I said something else which might have been “BULLSHIT!” but I won’t publicly admit to yelling something like that at three darling innocents who were just minding their own business.

I rush back down stairs.  There has been an explosion.  
This is after I've cleaned up quite a bit.

It takes me a few seconds to figure out what I’m looking at.  The glass pie plate has shattered, shards of glass in every direction, the pie pastry still on the stove with the parchment paper and dried beans from the blind bake starting to smoke.  There are pops as more glass shards jump from the stove top, and I realize that I left the burner on after making coffee in the stove top coffee maker.  And that means that I set the pie plate down on a hot burner that was cranked up to one notch below “hi” and that if I don’t get to the stove to turn it off my glass, pastry and bean explosion will turn into an actual on fire explosion.  So I tip-toe through the shards of pyrex while yelling at my children “DO NOT COME IN HERE! NO ONE COME IN HERE!” and I turn off the stove.  

The only recognizable things were the handles.

Basically everything in my kitchen is covered in glass glitter.  There are shards of glass wedged between the coils of the stove, there are dry beans covering my entire stove top. One handle of the pie plate is wedged under the fridge and the other one is 10 feet away from it on the counter top. I start separating the pile of smoking debris on my stove top with a pair of salad tongs since everything is too hot to touch.
The other handle bounced off this jug of vodka...which I didn't even start drinking!

I estimate it took me about two hours to return the scene of the crime to a habitable state. My kitchen has never been cleaner.  I wiped down parts of my countertops that probably haven’t seen a damp cloth since the day they were installed.  The container of utensils next to the stove dumped out so that glass bits could be rinsed from inside it.  I swept, swept again and then mopped.  I MOPPED. I had to vacuum out the inside of my stove. 
Oh nothing, just vacuuming glass dust out of my stove.  What are YOU up to?

The obvious moral of this story is that electric stoves are evil.  What are the chances that I would accidentally put a glass pie plate onto a gas burner that was cranked up to hi?  ZERO.  Because it would have FIRE shooting out of it and even my cavewoman brain is able to figure out that you shouldn’t set a glass pie plate down on something with FIRE shooting out of it.

There might be a lesson here too about trying to do too many things at once, or maybe it’s a cautionary tale about the dangers of trying to clean your house while making pie…

Nope. Just that electric stove thing.  That’s the only caution in this tale.

1 comment:

Wendy Longpre said...

This is hysterical in the totally-relatable-terrifyingly-understandable way true adventures in womanhood are! Thanks for sharing. PS: crock pot inserts shatter too, especially when full off chicken noodle soup and set on the floor of a car behind a drivers seat that auto-moves backward when the car gets turned off. Just saying...