Saturday, July 14, 2007
Fiery butter rubber glove pan fire
We'll see how soon she asks me to make dinner again.
The in-laws are arriving tomorrow, and Lisa has been hustling and bustling all week long, scurrying about to get our house in order for our anticipated guests. Meanwhile, I have been busy contributing to our family in less tangible, but no less important, ways... working long hours in lab... dogsitting Watson while Lisa shops... blogging...
So, needless to say, in light of all that I have been doing to help out, I was just a little surprised when I was asked to make dinner this evening while she worked on installing our last bit of flooring. Nonetheless, wife-loving husband that I am, I agreed to prepare a dish that, in retrospect, was far beyond my skill level: chicken and fettuccini alfredo from a box.
Per the instructions, I began boiling the noodles before starting in on the chicken. While the noodles were softening, I turned on the burner 'neath the pan to be used to brown the chicken. Once the burner and pan above it reached high heat, I dropped in the three prescribed tablespoons of butter to be melted. The butter sizzled for a few seconds and then spontaneously burst into flames. The blazes stretched nearly a foot in the air, and the heat was intense.
"Uh, Lisa, I need help."
We stared at the glowing butter fire for a few seconds, paralyzed. "Water!" Lisa suggested. I had the presence of mind to recall the wise words of Jerry, the Grove City College security guard, during residence hall staff emergency training five years back: "Water does not extinguish grease fires!"... and then I became lost in memory, reminiscing about getting to use a fire extinguisher to put out a grease fire in a barrel with Jerry's nodding approval. "Water!" Lisa repeated. I snapped back to the situation at hand. "No," and I recited Jerry's warning, "Water does not extinguish grease fires!"
Unfortunately, Jerry did not tell us that rubber oven mitts also do not extinguish grease fires. Of my own accord (Lisa is adamant that this was not her idea) I furiously clobbered the blazes with the rubber oven mitt I gave Lisa for Christmas. Flames shot around the glove and landed on the floor... as the rubber glove melted in my hand... Instinctually, I dropped the glove... which unfortunately landed in the fire, further fueling the flames, now spewing noxious fumes throughout our house.
I had visions of firefighters and fire trucks and fire hoses and our house and adjoining townhomes engulfed in flames on the eleven o'clock news. I imagined our neighbors scrambling from their homes, most prized possessions gathered in their arms... I began wondering what my most prized possessions would be--what I would want to salvage if our house were burnt to a crisp--my computer... my dog... my post-it note with future blog ideas... I digress now, and, more critically, I mentally digressed then as the scorching flames filled our kitchen and lungs with thick black smoke.
I decided I rather preferred to pollute the external environment over our internal environs. I threw open the kitchen window, picked up the pan, and thrust it outside. A helpful neighbor shouted to us, "I think it's done." Thank you, kind citizen. We hadn't noticed.
I sent Lisa outside to meet me at the window to retrieve the pan. She ran outside and met me on the other side of the window, but, upon her arrival, decided she wasn't all that interested in the pan after all. ("What was I supposed to grab it with? It was on fire!" she later recounted in her own defense.) So, I bent over to set the pan on the ground, my head directly over the conflagration, and got a faceful of black smoke. I dashed outside to retrieve the fiery crash, scooped it up after the edges of our bushes had been scorched and dropped it on the sidewalk.
Finally, I remembered how to extinguish grease fires. "Powder, Lisa, get some powder...sugar, no flour--get some flour." Dutifully, Lisa darted inside and returned with a measuring cup filled with flour, which we dumped on the butter rubber glove fire. The flames retreated, but not completely. Lisa made two more trips with cupfuls of flour. In retrospect, it might have been labor-saving to have brought out the entire canister of flour, but this effort was by no means a paragon of efficiency.
We watched as the inferno mellowed to a smoldering heap of ashen floury embers... and then as it died completely. To see an image of the flour-extinguished butter bonfire, go to the pics section of my account, and look for "Fiery Crash". I sincerely regret not taking a before and during picture to match this after.
When we came back inside, I found my noodles to be glued together in one giant noodle clump. Lisa suggested we just go out to dinner. I refused to admit defeat and started over... this time, less interestingly, I was successful. Dinner was delicious.
Originally Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2007
(Then) Curent Mood: full