Monday, December 1, 2008

I should be banned from the kitchen until the end of time

I've never made any bones about the fact that Jason is the main provider of delectable meals around here.  I do well to just keep from burning toast.  Considering this fact, you may be surprised to know that, for the portion of Thanksgiving dinner that was our responsibility to provide, the chef de cuisine was li'l ole me.  

And I managed only to sustain 2 injuries to my hands- one rather disturbing gash on my left palm (from cutting bread) and another cut on my right thumb from running it across the potato peeler. To see if it was clean.  It wasn't after that.  

I should no longer be allowed to wield sharp objects in the kitchen.  Or anywhere for that matter.

So Jason is our resident chef and he also is a collector of kitchen products.  He owns a very nice set of cast iron pots and pans that have a ceramic coating on the outside.  Similar to the Le Creuset variety, if you're kitchen-product savvy.  Only more affordable.  From Ikea, of all places.  I heart Ikea.

Anyway, we frequently use the cast iron skillet, which requires a very specific cleaning method.  Apparently, you are never supposed to use soap on cast iron, a fact which "someone" has pointedly reminded me of two or one hundred times.  So "one" has to scrub and scrape the food off with plain water.  Then, to dry the darn thing, you place it back on the burner and heat it until it's thoroughly dry.  Something about rust or some such nonsense...

I do love the skillet even though it becomes the bane of my existence when anyone (usually me) scrambles eggs in it.  Something about the reaction between the egg protein and the iron causes the cooked egg to adhere to the pan like cement that can't even be chiseled off.  You may want to let us know if you're allergic to eggs if you are ever to visit us and enjoy a mean prepared from this very pan.  Just sayin'.

In the past, Jason has kindly reminded me that one of the best ways to get the "baked on" food off the pan is to fill the pan with water and heat it until the water boils, thus rehydrating (I'm assuming) the food scum and decreasing the need for a chisel.  

As I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, just like I do once a week or so (Oh, I'm kidding.  Sort of.) I noticed this particular skillet still needed to be cleaned from lunch on Saturday.  I'm truly a domestic goddess.  So I went to work filling the pan with water and setting it back on the gas stove with the burner on high.  I turned back to the business of rinsing the rest of the dishes from tonight's meal and loading them in our ancient dishwasher.  It might as well be a Flintstone's wooly mammoth.

As I turned toward the dishwasher, I noticed a lovely smell for a night with such crisp weather... see, we don't have a working fireplace, but our neighbors do.  I thought to myself that they must have had a lovely fire roaring and the smell was delightful.  Then the mystery of the situation hit me.  When I turned toward the dishwasher, I smelled what I thought was the fire from the fireplace.  When I turned back to the sink, I no longer smelled it.  I played this little game with myself several times, turning away and smelling it, turning back and no smell to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me.  I must have looked nuts.  Or like I was doing some sort of Bill Cosby dancing impersonation.  

Then it dawned on me.  The handle of our iron skillet is encased in wood, presumably so that one can actually life and move the pan while cooking without scorching one's hand.  Which made sense to me until I realized the WOODEN HANDLE WAS ON FIRE!

I quickly turned off the burner and turned on the vent fan.  And apparently our rent house either 1) doesn't have smoke detectors or 2) they aren't working because there was no obnoxious beeping.  Even after the burner was turned off, the handle kept emitting a considerable amount of smoke.  It took me a second to realize that it was probably still on fire on the inside somehow, because I'm quick like that.  I dumped a small glass of water on it and it sizzled and puffed and finally disaster was averted.  

Now I may seem like the idiot in this situation, but let's look past face value for a minute to determine who is really at fault.  How about the GENIUS that thought it was a good idea to put a WOODEN HANDLE on an appliance to be used near, nay, DIRECTLY OVER an open flame?  GAH!

The good news is, the pan is fine, albeit a bit blackened around the handle.  And our house didn't burn down, although the kitchen in our rent house is begging to be remodeled so maybe an accidental fire wouldn't have been such a bad thing after all.  Now, who would like a piece of toast?

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