My latest kitchen disaster…

You know it’s going to be a good day when you start it by setting something on fire. There’s something about accidental flames that makes you feel all alive inside.

If by ‘alive’ I mean panicky and stressed. (hint: I do mean that.)

I was grilling bacon on a tray with a sheet of baking paper on it, because I was already running late, and I didn’t want to have to spend the next half hour washing dishes.

Unfortunately, as the bacon was done, the top corner of the baking paper rested for a moment against the grill element, and burst into flames.

‘Not again!’ I thought.

I kind of do this regularly. My current flatmates act a little like I’m some kind of genius food messiah. I have no idea what I did to give them that opinion, because in reality I’m more of a disaster-prone experimenter. My old – rather better informed – flatties used to be uncomfortable with me using the kitchen without adult supervision.

This particular fire was a bit confusing. I mean, I know how to deal with an oil fire, because: Hello, oil fire is my middle name.

But this wasn’t technically an oil fire. It was more of a paper fire… And just while we’re on that? I thought baking paper wasn’t flammable. – I thought that was the whole point of baking paper. Who the hell decided to make it flammable? Because it seems like a really dumb idea.

At the first sign of flame, I’d turned off the oven, and grabbed the box of baking soda… But on second thought, I was planning on baking cookies this evening, and I won’t have a chance to replace any of the stuff I use until I get back in January, and that’s not fair on Becks to have to replace all the baking soda that I used up on fires and cookies.

I mean, sure, Becks wouldn’t mind – considering the whole ‘not burning down the flat’ thing. It’s a pretty good trade-off, but still. I have a pretty awesome flatting arrangement, so I try to be considerate about it.

I contemplated the fire. It was pretty small and well-behaved. Much like when you set a photo of an ex-boyfriend on fire in an old cooking pot.

(Don’t look at me like that. I know you’ve done that too.)

Usually when I’m cooking I can just slam the lid on the pot and remove from heat at the first sign of flame. In fact? I pretty much always cook with the pot lid sitting RIGHT THERE next to me because if I’m cooking, sooner or later, there will be flames. Unfortunately the baking tray was too big for that.

I briefly wondered if this was a situation that water could help in – because usually paper fires are fine to use water on, but there WAS hot bacon grease, and you pretty much never want hot oil/grease to meet water. Bad things happen.

After a little more considering I decided to try blowing it out like a birthday candle… Thankfully it worked.

I sat there looking at the charred paper, and my fabulous cooked breakfast (despite the small fire issue, my poached eggs, toast, and bacon were perfectly cooked) and I thought: “I really don’t think I can deal with leaving the house today. Maybe I should work from home.”

So the moral of this story is: Did any one else think that baking paper wasn’t flammable? Me too.

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5 thoughts on “My latest kitchen disaster…

  1. Holy smokes. I’m glad for your flatmates and you, that you didn’t burn down the house! My ex ex boyfriend unintentionally did that once. Thankfully, it wasn’t my house.

    Haha, yeah, my flatties are pretty damn relieved too! Did he burn down the WHOLE house? That’s a pretty impressive feat (impressive in a bad way.)

  2. I’m trying to understand the logic behind cooking the bacon on the parchment paper. Oh I know, you were trying to avoid a little of the mess of the bacon grease. Since I’m old and have cooked bacon more ways than you may be able to imagine, please allow me to impart this little nugget of bacon fat wisdom.

    It doesn’t need to be “cleaned up”. It cannot really be “cleaned up”. It’s too inherently greasy to ever fully clean up. It’s from PIGS after all. Right? One needs to suspend one’s notions of cleanness when it comes to pork fatted utensils. In my humble opinion …

    If one is to regularly cook and consume bacon, then one needs a cooking utensil which is dedicated to that purpose. Then one can simply pour off the excess fat, whilst still warm and liquid (some people actually save the stuff- yuk) and when the pan is cool it can be washed without caring too much about how clean it really gets, since it will only be used for the very same greasy mess next time.

    Does this make any sense at all? If not then, uh, never mind …

    But it’s great that you were able to get that fire under control. 🙂

    I’ll admit that this definitely makes sense. But. I flat with girls, and us girls get a little … um let’s say nit picky … about things like half-clean pans full of pig fat.

    I’d really rather not have to have that conversation with the flatties:

    Flattie: What’s that?
    Me: My pork-fat pan
    Flattie: Seriously?
    Me: Ah…. No?

  3. Haha, I live with boys… They have a designated pork-product pan. It is disgusting. They hardly ever bother to pour out the fat, and when they do they pour it straight down the drain. DISGUSTING. And messy. Also? WAY bad for the plumbing.

    I’m the girl, and apprarantly I know more about plumbing than they do.

    This is why I don’t live with boys any more. They’re gross. And I’m pretty damn handy with a hammer. *Girl Power!*

  4. Oh so now it’s a girls vs. boys thing, huh? Whatever. 🙂

    We have a cast iron griddle that has a ribbed bottom, good for cooking meats. I spray it with cooking spray (lecithin based- like Pam) before broiling the bacon, which we only have with our weekend breakfasts. I pour off Saturday morning’s grease (NOT down the drain, that’s a huge mistake, grease really fouls up the sewage tank and plumbing) but don’t wash the pan until after Sunday’s breakfast. It cleans up nicely after soaking for a bit. The cooking spray really helps.

  5. As a professional cook I just have to recommend that you invest in a sil-pat http://silpat.com/ They are great and non flammable!! Plus if you like to make cookies and not clean the pan afterwards this is defiantly for you, all you do is wipe it after using.

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