Originally published November 13, 2006
I haven't made a real home-cooked meal in a while. Mostly because our kitchen is a mess and one of the things I seem to have caught from Adam since we've been married is his aversion to cooking in a messy kitchen.
But tonight I felt like making something new and different. So I thawed some chicken and paged through my More-with-Less and Extending the Table cookbooks looking for chicken and rice recipes. I finally settled on a peanut soup recipe from More-with-Less to which I added chicken, rice, and garlic (since the books are copyrighted, I won't post the recipe here, but you can purchase your own copy, here. Peanut Soup is on page 217).
The real fun could now begin. First, the knife I had wasn't working well with the chicken. I already had a Band-Aid® on my thumb from an earlier run in with a knife (no pun intended), and now I was getting raw chicken juice all over my hands. Yuck.
Next, I was searing the chicken a bit when I noticed a small flame outside the burner ring. When I bent down to investigate, I saw a ladle that had once been neatly situated in the center of the stove between two burners was now melting into the flame under my sauce pan. I pulled up on the pan, immediately turning off the flame. When that didn't solve my problem, I reached up into the cupboard for an open box of baking soda, remembering the dire warnings my home ec teacher had given us about spreading a grease fire with water. Since I wasn't quite sure the content of the plastic-looking handle, I didn't want to take any chances.
Unfortunately, sprinkling baking soda over an open flame is not the most efficient means of dousing it. Once the box was emptied, the flame continuing unabated, I decided the best course of action would be to grab the ladle from the serving end and plunge the flame into the sink.
The problem with that plan was a simple matter of unfinished laundry. Both of our oven gloves are in the wash. I tried grasping the metal end with a dishtowel, but I wasn't able to get a decent grip on it. Additionally, by this time, the melted portion of the handle was dripping down onto the chrome plate below the burner. I was not at all certain that lifting up one end would ensure the other followed.
Finally, in a moment of inspiration, I remembered that we have a fire extinguisher on the shelf above the microwave. I pulled it out and searched quickly to find the directions for use. (As an aside, this is not the course of action I recommend. If you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen--a wonderful idea in itself and highly recommended--make sure you know how to use it before you need it.) Following the instructions on the label, I stood six to eight feet back and squirted a short blast of whatever was inside onto the stove. Instantly the flames went out. It was kind of fun, really.
Once the excitement was over, I still had dinner to make. I briefly considered throwing my hands in the air and letting Adam finish it, but, by then the meal was nearly complete, so I scooped out the half-cooked chicken, washed the excess baking soda out of the pan and began cooking again.
By the way, the soup turned out pretty yummy. I'll have to repeat my experiment again sometime. Minus the steps involving runaway flames, of course.