Monday, October 20, 2008

What not to do

Sometimes I delude myself into thinking I'm a great hostess. In my own addled, confused mind I see myself as that person who has appetizers out for guests to munch on, fresh flowers and a new magazine for overnight guests to read and an assortment of really interesting topics that everyone can talk about.

In reality, I am just not that person.

What? You don't believe me? Well, let me tell you about last night to illustrate my point.

My awesome guests were scheduled to arrive at 5:30 pm. In years past, this would have meant that I finished all of the required cooking right on the dot of 5:30. My mom always said that dinner guests are supposed to arrive early, but I've found that this may not be the case anymore. The ear doctor has FORCED me to always have the food done at least 15 minutes after the agreed upon arrival time.

As a result, I'm still cooking when they arrive.

Do I have any well thought out munchies for them to snack on? Um...nope. Luckily they are all chatting and seemingly having a great time. The two couples I invited that didn't know each other at all seem to really enjoy each other's company. Score.

Just as I am finishing up the honey-ginger glaze on the carrots I notice that my STOVE HAS CAUGHT ON FIRE! Huge flames, 3 feet tall are leaping from the top of my cook surface and are gently licking the rental microwave. I could practically feel my entire security deposit melting with the twisting white plastic.

My mind flashes to the day before when the ear doctor and I lifted the top of the stove up and noticed a lake of leftover frying oil from my attempt at shoestring french fries last week. Why, oh why, hadn't I wiped that up?!?!? It would have been so easy.

The ear doctor wasn't home yet, so I assigned the two other husbands in the room to man the fire and figure out how to put it out.

Side note: Aren't you supposed to put flour on a grease fire? but isn't flour super flammable if it's falling? Isn't that how silos explode? I'm going to BLOW THE ROOF OFF MY APARTMENT BUILDING?!?!?

As my house rapidly filled with dark black smoke the alarms started to go off. Which, in turn, made ROSCOE bay like teen wolf under a full moon. I suddenly realized that my dear 8 month pregnant friend should not be sitting on my couch breathing in noxious fumes. So, despite the obvious effort and excruciating pain involved, I made her go out and sit on my balcony.

Joining us on the balcony was my other friend carrying her 8 month old baby. UGH! The guilt of ruining an infant's lungs and breathing ability made me sick to my stomach. This poor kid is going to get lung cancer in 20 years because I was TOO LAZY TO CLEAN MY STOVE! They politely talked about my dying attempt at a vegetable garden (that I should have cleaned out and thrown in the compost about 3 weeks ago).

After 5 very intense minutes, the fire is extinguished. Little cords are hanging out of the demolished smoke detectors like the entrails of a disemboweled rebel force. Every window in the house is opened and fans are set to expel the fumes.

In an attempt to salvage the night I set up the food and force everyone to act like nothing had happened.

The one true casualty of the night was my beautiful pumpkin praline pie. I worked so hard on that sucker. Turns out the moment I set the broiler on to finish the last minute of cooking the oil ignited. The pie top was burned and not nearly the glorious dessert I thought it would be. I just covered each slice with HUGE scoop of cool whip. In the end, it was OK.

Turns out you can hide a lot of sins with cool whip.


Janssen said...

Agh! Horrors!

That's pretty much my worst nightmare come true.

CageQueen said...

Wow. Talk about a disaster. I am sure your guests enjoyed themselves, and I am also sure they had no expectations of grandeur going in-that they just wanted to enjoy your company and someone else doing the cooking for a change. I bet in 20 years you'll laugh about this. In the meantime, sorry you had such a scare!

Nicola said...

Reminds me of the time growing up when my mom invited a bunch of my friends over to make real home-made gingerbread houses. She pre-heated the oven, only to discover a few minutes later, billowing smoke and flames leaping out of the oven. She had forgotten she had hidden all the junk that was on the counter in the oven before my friends' moms came over. In trying to look like an immaculate house-wife with a super clean home, she wound up with an oven that reeked of burnt plastic baggies for years.

TRS said...

Oh you poor thing! I feel the burning cheeks on that one.

My toaster rountinely sets of the smoke detector. On rare occasions that I use the oven, the heat sets it off too. Makes me feel like a moron!

(But I had to install the smoke detector closer to the kitchen than to the bathroom [shared hallway] because steam from the shower would set it off too - and I use my shower more than I use my kitchen!!)

Greeneyes said...

Oh, what a good sport you are. I feel your pain! There was the Mother's Day when I was trying to make Mom feel pampered and rested....and as I stood talking to her, the butter for the hash browns ignited into a blazing inferno behind me. Not such a restful morning, after all. : (

I think I wound up whisking the pan out the back door and clamping a lid down on it. How DID you get yours to settle down?

Holly said...

OK Katie
If its small flour is fine. You just have to use a lot. NEVER use water. The best thing to use is a WET towel. Just lay it on it. What you want to do is cut off the oxygen supply. My husband has scars on his arm from a grease fire. It was NOT a fun expirience. I am so glad you are ok.

Anonymous said...

Salt, not flour

Elle said...

not salt or flour. BAKING SODA!

Katie said...

We ended up using baking powder and clamping one of my domed pot lids down to try to cut off the air supply. It worked alright, but my lid is pretty burned up.

Maggie said...

Baking soda has worked great in my experience. Also clamping a lid and waiting until everything cools to the touch before messing with it. The heat can set the whole thing off again after you've gotten all the flames out.