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Jul 28, 2006 05:32 PM

Near Kitchen Disasters

While reading another post it got me thinking about kitchen disasters, or near disasters.

Personally, I've been fortunate not to have had any, other than nearly cutting off the tip of a pinkie - but like my mom used to say "almost doesn't count".

However, while temporarily crashing with one of my best friends in NYC during a rough period of my life, she did nearly burn down the apartment one night.

She had this terrible habit of going out, getting somewhat inebriated, coming home late and suddenly feeling the urge to cook up some chicken.

It was always chicken. She had some kind of late night cravings revolving around them. In fact, for a tiny women, she sure could pack away a chicken - could eat an entire one in one sitting, skin and all and leave only the bones behind. It was rather impressive if not disgusting at the same time.

So, this one night, she got in not too late, before midnight and pulled out a couple of chicken breasts and threw them into the broiler.
She got into bed and turned on the TV to watch the soap operas she'd taped while at work (a bone of contention between us when sharing a studio apartment as there was nowhere for me to hide other than to put in a pair of earplugs).

Since she was quite tipsy, she evidently fell asleep (i.e.; read as "passed out").

Well, I too had fallen asleep. I awoke around 2am to the smell of smoke. A lot of it. I dashed into the kitchen, opened up the broiler only to find two meteorites, blackened beyond description, shriveled and smoking. I think the only thing that saved them from going up entirely in flames was that the broiler itself was pretty clean since she always had someone come in to clean the apartment regularly.

I ran to her bed and gave her a really good shaking, yelling at her to wake up, hurling explicatives, etc.

Her response? She got up, went into the kitchen and proceeded to see if the chicken was still edible!

I kid you not!

Anyone else have anything to share?

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  1. A friend called to tell me she was making scallops for dinner. She told me she'd fried them, broiled them, then baked them and they STILL weren't any good. "What should I do next?" she asked. "Throw them away," I replied. Doesn't this count as a kitchen disaster?

    1 Reply
    1. Well, I was once talking to my now-husband on the phone while cooking, and the phone cord was slowly bisected by the gas flame, w/o my noticing until it was too late and I was "cut off". He was furious with me for days for not calling him back from a pay phone to let me him know everything was okay (we lived in different cities then) ...I guess I was rather vocal upon the discovery and just before the line went dead.

      1 Reply
      1. Somes garlic butter snails in the oven... I dont know how or why but fire begin... I took the first thing i have to extinguish and it was some dried milk... the smell...!!!

        1. My biggest disaster was when my mother was away and my father invited friends over for New Year dinner. We were going to have turkey. I was in my teens and expected to prepare a complete dinner for about 6 people. I got the turkey prepped and in the oven set to the same temperature my mother always used, looked up the roasting time in a cookbook and sat back.

          Unfortunately my mother roasted her turkey at a much higher temperature than the book. I hadn't checked this basic fact. Turns out I roasted the turkey for twice as long as I should have. I made a *lot* of gravy and took everything out. My Dad's friend offered to carve, he grasped a drumstick which just fell off. It was bone dry. I still remember how awful it was, like chewing sawdust.

          I went out and bought my mother a meat thermometer, though she never did get the hang of it.

          Her personal disaster was boiling a can of condensed milk to make caramel. She fell asleep and woke up just in time to burst into the kitchen as the can exploded. No-one was hurt but the mess was impressive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheryl_h

            Oh wow, my sister did that caramel thing too. The exact same thing; fell asleep, went to the kitchen just as the can exploded. They cleaned up caramel for months as they found it in every crevice in the kitchen.

          2. a few years ago i took a huge, flimsy foil tray of stuffed shells out of the oven. it caved in with some of those steaming hot shells landing on my bare feet. ouch and an utter mess on the floor.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ericalloyd

              This very disaster happened to me just a couple of weeks ago...a foil pan of lasagna buckled as I was taking it out of the oven. The lasagna (that I was making to bring to friends for dinner) slithered out of the pan and splashed down onto the floor and my bare toes, and up onto cabinets and the stove and into a drawer as well. I scooped up as much as I could (i.e.: the part that wasn't directly touching the floor) and dumped it back into the pan, and I described it to the people I was serving it to as "deconstructed lasagna."

              Mopping up involved a mop and many rags, sponges and paper towels - it was like cleaning up a crime scene.

              I told my friends what had happened - how could I not? The lasagna was a mess. But even though it looked ugly, it tasted fine.

              1. re: Pumpkinseed

                Those things and anything beibng prepared in a foil pan, like the disposable turkey roasters and toss away cake pans really need to be on a sturdy baking sheet. If not you are just asking for disaster.

                1. re: Candy

                  Same story but a pumpkin pie that folded in half when my sis was removing it from the oven and squirted its filling all over the green carpet.