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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Lesson From Norm

If you come over to my house during meal prep time, you might notice something about my children. They will walk over to the kitchen and stop on the carpet, right at the line where the linoleum begins. The reason they do this . . . they are not allowed in the kitchen.

This is something that I am very strict about. I think some of my family think that I might be a little over the top on this rule. They have not watched me cook enough though. I am a disaster! My meals USUALLY turn out fine but quite often, I do not. It seems that I am always burning myself, cutting myself, or dropping sharp objects (like Cutco knives) dangerously close to my feet. As much as I would enjoy having the kids in the kitchen helping me cook, it is for their safety that they are not allowed to.

Here is a good example. Thursday night is our "Homestyle meal" night. It is Ethan's favorite supper of the week. This week's menu was ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn casserole - which is my husband's absolute favorite meal in the world.

All was going well, and everything was done and ready to be eaten. Ethan pulled out the corn casserole, while drooling over it, and set it on top of the stove. I proceeded to turn on the pot of beans while the corn casserole cooled down a bit. While I was getting the plates out, I noticed something smelling like it was burning. I looked over at the corn casserole and noticed that it was smoking. And then I noticed that I had turned the wrong burner on for the beans. The burner under the corn casserole was on 9 - and it was smoking quite a bit. I panicked over the thought of our meal being burnt, so I pulled the pan off of the burner and set it on one that wasn't on.

As soon as I set it down - BOOM! The glass pan exploded. Without knowing what happened, I jumped back and found I had covered my face with the two potholders I was using. After a few seconds of paralysis, I moved them away and saw glass all over the place. I also saw my two kids standing on the line where the carpet meets the kitchen crying hysterically while Ethan tried to calm them down. I guess I had screamed pretty loud and scared them - although I don't remember screaming.

So there went our pan and half of our supper. We had cold beans that didn't have glass in them, and some ham in the oven yet. We added tortillas with cheese to the mix to round it out.

I am fortunate to have thrown the potholders over my face, but it made me think about when I was growing up. My dad and I used to watch The New Yankee Workshop on Saturdays. At the beginning of every show, Norm Abram would run through his shop safety tips. They were pretty scripted, and I was always prepared to quote his closing line along with him, "And remember, the most important safety rule is to wear these - safety glasses." I think that rule might need to be applied in my kitchen too.


mix: (or use a box of Jiffy Mix corn muffins)
3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c corn meal
1/6 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 can cream corn
1 1/2 c frozen corn
1 egg
1/4 c butter

bake at 400 for 1 hour
remove from oven and place on a hot burner for 2 minutes then remove from hot burner and immediately place on cold surface to make pan explode

Bonus post: I am a disaster - case in point
Just now, as I was getting out my corn meal to check on part of the recipe, I knocked down my sugar from the top shelf in my kitchen. I'm glad my children weren't standing underneath or they would have a bit of a headache.


Reflections. said...

Oh...I'm sorry for your disasters, but it made me laugh out loud, especially about the safety glasses. I get the same way sometimes, luckily not often. Our gas stove has sent many of potholders and towels on fire.

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

Oh my heavens. See -- I have some friends that let their kids cook with them... I of course -- I feel guilty. My sister and I were just talking about this. Our 5 year olds saying, "Can I, can I, can I?"

I say I'll let them in the kitchen when they actually have the skills to DO something.

I am forever cutting myself, burning myself, catching things on fire. So what would I be teaching them? This is how NOT to do something. So far I haven't exploded anything...

BUT -- my MIL once cracked a pan like you did and she wanted to scrape the stuff off the top and eat it anyway. WHAAA?? I pulled my kids and dear husband aside... "Skip the cheesy veggies ok? Trust me on this one."

Walter Jeffries said...

Eek. I suspect the reason your pan exploded is you set it on the metal burner coils. While they were cool, that is the problem. They conducted heat away from parts of the glass pan very quickly causing differential cooling and resulting stress fractures - thus the explosion. I like to place hot things on a trivet or hot pad rather than on a stove, cutting board or counter. That is safer and avoids exploding dinner ware as well as scorch marks.

Best of luck in future cooking endeavors!

in Vermont

Tim said...

I recommend a really interesting book that I checked out from the library this summer - it's called "Why things break : understanding the world by the way it comes apart" by Mark E. Eberhart. No joke, it's a really interesting book about the physics of fracture. Some of it was way, way over my head but if you've ever wondered why some things bend, some things break, and other things shatter, this book is for you. Enjoy!

Robbyn said...

LOL, oh no, my kitchen twin! I'm a disaster in the kitchen, too, and in order to get to our garage, you have to walk THROUGH the kitchen. Uhbboy! But hey, I guess enough of the food turns out to be safe enough to eat, because they all keep coming back...I'm hoping it's for the food rather than the floor show, ha!

Beyond All Measure said...

I am a disaster too... but not just in the kitchen. I had one particularly bad year...

1) I used a lawn chair to hold a piece of wood I was cutting and let the electric saw go all the way through the chair!

2) I dropped DH's drill on my big toe. It swelled so big and painful that I ended up having to drill a little hole in my toes (with DHs help) to let out the preasure.

3) DH has banned me from making candy after getting a 2nd degree burn on my forearm from dropping the pan of hot candy on myself.

4) I have ruined more that one pan by leaving a dirty pan on the stove and then turning the wrong burner on when I started dinner.

5) I ended up with 6 stitches in my hand by slipping on some dirty clothes and landing on my recipe binder (which had the clasps open). The open clasp when right into the palm of my hand. I nearly passed out.


PS... I am getting better. I am learning to think before I act... that has always been a problem for me!

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