Monday, August 18, 2008

Burn Baby, Burn

I had originally planned my next blog post to be about my Restaurant Week luncheon with Eliza @ Bistro Bis on Saturday, but an unexpected cooking faux pas (and my need to share photographic evidence of it) have taken slight precedence. For you see, nothing is more blogworthy than a little kitchen pyrotechnics.

just cooled

I know what you're thinking: it's a goddamned miracle that I don't have photos of the fire in progress. And let me tell you- I'm a little ashamed of that. But it's becauase I'd left my camera at my house, and this little incident happened while I was housesitting and taking care of my mother's dog at her house. So I had to wait till after a trip home (for a bra- necessery for work on Monday) and a stop by Target to buy a new toaster oven- to clean up the scorched mess. So I could take some photos of it. What have we learned? To take this big hunk of optical bliss EVERYWHERE from now on. I'm considering having it grafted to my hand, for good measure.

pita ash

Those little charred triangles were once bits of pita bread. Trader Joe's pita bread, for that matter. Having recently changed my stand on hummus, I have discovered that I can toast my own, which is rather enjoyable- especially when I have one or two pitas left over in a package and a fresh container of Trader Joe's garlic hummus to devour. And they're baked! Not fried! The first batch came out fine, and then the second batch... well...

fire damage

It caught fire. One minute, I'm stuffing 2 pita halves with a mixture of chicken, tomato, grilled zucchini & eggplant, broccoli, and tzatziki- when I glance over to make sure the pita chips haven't gotten too toasty since I'd caught the first batch just in time. Lo and behold, THEY'RE ON FIRE. Seriously. flames in the toaster oven. Which sits on the counter underneath a big cabinet, between the stovetop and the fridge. Flames.

I opened the little door and blew into it to try and blow out the fire like it was a candle. For those of you who were girl or boy scouts, you'll recall that adding oxygen to flame like that just makes it BIGGER. Yeah, I wasn't a scout. I'd forgotten about that until it was demonstrated by the growing pita inferno. I reached through the smoke billowing out of the toaster oven's vents and pulled the plug from the socket- my only A+ move of the night. Unable to find a fire extinguisher I elected to open the door and fan the flames a second time. Brilliant.

When I noticed the inches of black smoke hovering on the ceiling, I decided to ignore the flaming appliance and start opening windows and doors before the sprinklers and smoke detector went off. I was FREAKING OUT. (Note: in times of emergency, apparently I am not the calm hall monitore ushering everyone to safety. I'm the one running in circles yelling "THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!" Which is no good when you're the only one in the room, and something is ON FIRE.)

blackened pita

Just when I decided it was ok to throw water into the toaster oven (since i'd unplugged it from the wall) there was only a single 1" flame remaining, so I dilligently watched it go out. Over the course of a few minutes, the pita chips burned themselves out, and the smoke cleared. An hour or two later, the toaster oven was cold to the touch. I still don't know what ignited the blaze, but suspect it may have had something to do with a small bit of grease that I'd noticed in the tin foil lining of the bottom tray, which perhaps started smoking, and was smouldered by the pitas. OH WHO KNOWS. WHATEVER. Stupid toaster oven. Those things are death traps, i tell ya. This simply is not my year.


sillydoggies said...

I so shouldn't laugh, but I have to admit that I did. So glad that nothing more happened...

CorporateMonkey said...

and as i texted last night- NO QUALITY ALCOHOL IN THE HOUSE with which to soothe my shot nerves. I must now travel with the camera and booze.

Nell said...

Don't feel bad. There's a charred toaster oven in our history too. I'm glad you remembered to pull the plug. That was almost our fatal flaw!

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