January 06, 2005

Great Moments in Cooking, #47

by peterb

I actually did this a few months ago. I think of it every time I cook now.

  • I turned on the oven.
  • I put a cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up.
  • When the skillet was hot, I carefully put a hot mitt on my left hand.
  • I opened the oven and firmly grasped the handle of the skillet with my right hand.

Thankfully, there was no permanent damage. But misery loves company, so: what's the stupidest thing you've ever done in the kitchen?

Posted by peterb at January 6, 2005 07:14 PM | Bookmark This

Needed to make a ton of bacon... so I was cooking it under the broiler. To catch the grease I had a baking sheet lined with paper.

Well the Steelers were on and I kinda forgot the stove... until I smelled the smoke.

I opened the door, thereby supplying oxygen to the waiting fire, and WOOF! "AHHHH, FIRE!" and I slammed the door shut. I turned off the broiler and opened the door again... WOOF! "AHHHH, FIRE!" I waited at least a minute or so as smoke rolled out of the stove, then opened the door again... WOOF! "AHHHH, FIRE!"

I finally resigned myself to waiting for the oven to cool off before any further attempts to open the door.

Nothing 3 cans of EZ-OFF couldn't fix... although the smell of burning grease did hang around a while.

Posted by Mark Denovich at January 6, 2005 08:59 PM

Brew night at Wayne Sawdon's house in Pittsburgh, after a couple of beers. We were blending some fruit - possibly for one of Sue's "froofy fruit beers" - and the blender had stopped, so I figured it was safe to take the top off, right?

Well, yes, it was safe to take the *top* off, but not to take the entire *body* off the base of the blender. As you'd do when you wanted to clean it. When the body of the blender is open at both ends. Which lets all the blended fruit fall EVERYWHERE.

I don't think Wayne's wife ever really forgave me for that one.

Posted by Jonathan Hardwick at January 7, 2005 01:10 AM

I was roasting a leg of lamb in a glass pan and I decided I needed some more liquid in the pan since I didn't add enough at the beginning and it all evaporated. So, I pulled the pan out and added water. The pan shattered into about a million pieces. I lived in a one-room apartment at the time and this thing shot pieces of glass all the way across the apartment. I ended up stepping on a piece of glass and cutting my foot. Luckily, I was able to clean everything up and hide the evidence before my girlfriend got there. The leg of lamb turned out good though.

Posted by Peter at January 7, 2005 09:52 AM

I've done a lot of stupid things, but the most memorable was about a year ago. A friend was coming over for dinner and I was cutting up squash. For some idiotic reason I was cutting a hard, uncooked butternut squash with the knife *facing* me. Sure enough, I slipped, and the just-sharpened blade went right through the squash and subsequently my finger. I swear I felt it touch the bone (thankfully not going *through* the bone). Blood spurted (i actually never knew it could spurt like that). Not wanting to give up on the meal, I wrappped it in a paper towel. Soaked through in minutes. Another towel, same thing. On and on. Finally called my mother, who told me to hold the hand above my head while lying down for at least an hour. I did this for about 25 minutes, during which two friends stopped by for an unexpected visit and I had to nonchalantly entertain them while trying to keep the blood from visibly seeping down my arm. After they left, I was too impatient to wait for the bleeding to stop. So, I kept cooking, interrupting myself at 20 minute intervals to go sit for 5 minutes with my hand in the air ("raise your hand if you're the clumsy one!"), eventually managing to serve and eat it very carefully so not to start the cut bleeding again. Feeling macho about finishing the dinner yet being in pain yet trying to cover it up and act casual must have left a pretty amusing expression on my face that night.

The next day, looking more closely at the cut (it was only about 1cm, but quite deep), I decided perhaps it did need stitches after all. But no! The nurse informed me that sutures needed to be done within 8 hours of the injury...so I had to let the thing heal on its own. This meant a month of wearing a plastic bag over my finger as it throbbed almost continually. Moral: pride can be stupid (no matter what Tony Bourdain might have us believe)!

PS: The scar isn't even that impressive, either.

Posted by a. at January 8, 2005 02:52 PM

I was cooking some instant polenta for the first time. The directions said:

1. Put in pot.
2. Add water.
3. Bring to boil.
4. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

So, that is what I did. For some reason, the damn stuff wasn't boiling for a long time. I looked closely, and a small bubble of black smoke pushed through the surface.

I had forgotten to stir. Too bad that wasn't in the instructions. My pot contained, from top to bottom:

1. A layer of water.
2. A perfectly sealed layer of polenta glue.
3. A layer of dried polenta, rapidly burning to a crisp.

I didn't know this, so I poked a spoon into the pot to see what was going on. This let some water down into the superheated bottom layer, which resulted in a minor steam explosion and a geyser of hot steam and flying polenta...

Posted by Chris at January 11, 2005 09:38 PM

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