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04/16/2003 Archived Entry: "The Stove, The Stove, The Stove is on Fire!"

Yesterday afternoon I decided to make myself some pasta for lunch. Simple enough. I had learned how to do this in culinary school. 10:1 ratio of pasta to water, salt water, bring to a boil, add pasta, cook until tender, drain. Got it. As I sat in the other room I heard weird noises coming from the kitchen. I dismissed them at first thinking it was something flapping around since I'd opened the window. That turned out to be a fatal error.

When I entered the kitchen I found my stovetop engulfed in flames. In the center of the chaos was my pasta pot (which was by this point at a nice rolling boil I must say). What had happened was that a container that I kept on the stove top with sugar in it had melted partially, spilling highly flammable sugar straight into the burner on the stove. A thick, magma-like, flaming caramel was pouring all over the top of the stove and down the side like my own little Mount Vesuvius.

In a panic I ran over to the fridge and retrieved the fire extinguisher. After five or six long seconds of staring I realized that I didn't have the foggiest idea how to use the thing so I tossed it aside in favor of tap water. In a matter of seconds I had put the fire out leaving a bubbly caramel on my stove top with a heaping five pound mound of sugar on top, slowly pouring onto the floor. The carnage left in this incident's wake seemed unfixable so I just left it and had some crackers for lunch instead.

I know when to admit defeat.

Replies: 23 People Love Me!


Dear Chefelf,
I like to bring my tea water to a rapid boil. My wife kinda brings it to a pathetic whimpering simmering boil. Is there a difference or am I wasting energy?
Boil Over in Lanark?

Posted by Attaboy @ 04/17/2003 09:27 AM EST

As far as I understand it it is not good to put a tea bag into rapidly boiling water. The 212 degree temperature supposedly releases some toxin from the tea (and also is too harsh to let the flavor properly steep). I'm sure the toxin thing isn't a big deal but that's what I've heard.

So I bring my water to a boil, wait a mintue and then add the tea bag so when it stops bubbling.

That's my foolish take on it anyway.

Posted by Chefelf @ 04/17/2003 09:36 AM EST

I meant just the water itself. We bring the water to a boil (as above) then pour it into a pot with the tea bag. I thought that was the normal way to do it.

Posted by Attaboy @ 04/17/2003 10:02 AM EST

Do so at your own risk! The Tea Toxins may get you!!

Posted by Chefelf @ 04/17/2003 11:58 AM EST

Mmmmm toxins

Posted by Steve @ 04/17/2003 04:36 PM EST

Nate, I suggest that you learn how to use your fire extinguisher -- and soon!!! (Although, come to think of it, if I had a flaming inferno on top of my stove I don't think I'd know how to use mine either!) Were you able to chisel that mess off of your stove?

Posted by Auntie Deb @ 04/17/2003 04:55 PM EST

And you wonder why I never learned to cook??????

Posted by Dad @ 04/17/2003 08:08 PM EST

Fire bad. It threatens the humor-man.

Posted by Lara @ 04/17/2003 08:35 PM EST

Wow, the Fam is really representing on this post.

The mess on the stove has been slightly cleaned up. Tomorrow morning I plan on cleaning up the rest.

All that sugar gone to waste. I'm sure glad it's not the middle ages or I'd have to trade my prize calf to get that much sugar replaced.

Posted by Chefelf @ 04/17/2003 09:53 PM EST

No one could ever say you lead a boring life Nate!

Posted by Sam @ 04/18/2003 12:38 PM EST

Actually it's remarkably boring. I just know how to embelish so that it SEEMS my life is a nonstop rollercoaster ride.

Posted by Chefelf @ 04/18/2003 04:42 PM EST

My life is boring to the max. I tend to spend all my time watching daytime Comedy Network TV and eating Doritos now that school is over. Oh well, at least the Doritos are the really spicy kind.

Posted by Heccubus @ 04/18/2003 05:31 PM EST

Does that mean you see like fourteen episodes of Saturday Night Live a day?

Posted by Chefelf @ 04/18/2003 05:34 PM EST

In Spanish, we listened to a tape of a "wedding shower for Brenda." Brenda got a fire extinguisher, they all laughed. Brenda got a flashlight, they oohed and ahed. She gets a toaster and they BOO. I was very disappointed considering a flashlight is basically useless and a fire extinguisher is a stupid idea for a wedding gift, but now that I have heard about your incident...I'm reconsidering my opinion. Toronto was changed to Virginia Beach 2ish weeks ago. 5 days! woo. have a nice weekend!

Posted by Nicole @ 04/18/2003 07:44 PM EST

I used to see lots of SNL, then they took it off of their lineup. Now I watch a lot of WKRP, SCTV, Beat The Geeks (my new favourite show) and the like.

Posted by Heccubus @ 04/19/2003 04:49 PM EST

I liked that you didn't know how to use your fire extinguisher. It made me laugh. I can relate to your fire incident. Just earlier this morning, I turned on the wrong burner on the stove, and the flowers i stupidly neglected to move from the stove (where they were being stored for simplicities sake) lit aflame! Using quick wit, I blew on the flowers (or green, twiggy things that pretend to be flowers), and that did the trick. Crisis averted. It smelled like marijuana for like an hour afterwards though.

Posted by Rory @ 04/20/2003 10:27 PM EST

I also noted a melted piece of plastic on your cast iron pan's handle. Was that from that incident or a separate high temperature fiasco?

Posted by Chefelf @ 04/21/2003 08:08 AM EST

You know, I think thats been there for a while; it might have been, at one time, part of the pan, like something that makes it easier to hold. I do not really know!

Posted by Rory @ 04/21/2003 02:06 PM EST

I think that hanging out with Bunny is the best. Man if i could get a night out with her i would be so thankful. YUP

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