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The worst thing, bar none, that you ever did or that ever happened to you in a kitchen"

mamachef Oct 24, 2010 12:11 AM

I have a friend in the culinary business who spent three days making, reducing and clarifying a shellfish stock as well as a veal stock. When the time came to use it, he dumped the shellfish stock into the recipe for the veal, and vice versa. He left the line - and the restaurant - out of pure fear. Myself, I was cooking for a private party, and one thing I'd learned without fail is to turn the oven ON when you get into the kitchen. Which I did do, but did not check inside first. Man of the house was an airline pilot who bought much liquor and wine duty free. Guess where they stored it? In the oven that nobody ever used. The explosions and fires started not long after. There was nothing to do for it but use a chemical extinguisher and start picking glass out of....everything. Their gourmet dinner that evening was Thai takeout. What's your horrendous story?

  1. c
    cleobeach Jan 19, 2011 08:19 AM

    1.) Years ago, I would often host my grandmother, all her sisters and various other female family members and friends for lunch. Most of the group was super wacky about germs, really over the top about it. Definately an OCD trait in the family.

    My aunt was helping me with a pasta salad, stirring a huge bowl as I was shredding cheese directly into the bowl, using a box grater. At the time, I had long, painted nails. I wasn't paying attention and sheared off my thumb nail, the entire nail right down to the quick.

    It took me a few moments to get the words out of my mouth. In the meantime, my aunt is stirring away.

    We could not find the nail, the bowl was filled with 5 pounds of pasta. After a brief discussion, we decided to serve it anyway. No one ever said a word about finding a fingernail in their lunch.

    2.) The night before Thanksgiving, I was washing the dishes that didn't fit into the dishwasher. It was late at night, we had spent several hours prepping for the next day. Wine was included in my prep and my reflexes were not up to speed.

    I was washing a wine glass, holding the bottom in my left hand and using my right to force a dish rag into the bowl of the glass. I used too much force, causing the stem to snap and driving the stem through the yellow glove and nearly all the way through my left palm.

    One look and I knew it was bad. Amazingly enough, the stem missed important nerves and tendons, the ER doc could not believe it. I still have the scar and that area of my palm does have a weird numbness to it. Lesson learned? Don't drink and dish.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cleobeach
      Monica Nov 29, 2011 01:51 PM

      Don't drink and dish! I love it.

    2. gaffk Jan 18, 2011 05:45 PM

      First time I made toffee. I heated the mixture to 310 F and went to pour it onto the flat surface. I got distracted by a visitor and poured the scalding mixture on my hand. Continued to pour, wore the burn for weeks.

      2 Replies
      1. re: gaffk
        a
        Alicat24 Jan 18, 2011 07:48 PM

        Weeks? Only weeks? I am notorious for burning myself on hot oven racks, pans, even a burner once or twice. Those burn scars have always taken upwards of six MONTHS or longer to fade from my pasty skin. I cannot even imagine the pain and burns from molten toffee/caramel!

        Oh, my bad, you probably meant the acute burn "blister" stage, not the scarring. If that's the case than reference the last sentence of the previous paragraph! ;D

        1. re: Alicat24
          gaffk Jan 19, 2011 04:28 AM

          Yes, my pasty skin carried the scar for about a year. It just took weeks for the angry redness left after the blistering stage. Ah . . .the memories.

      2. alliegator Jan 18, 2011 03:00 PM

        This one's easy for me, though my memory of it is foggy. The kitchen in my former house had marble counters in a L shaped formation. And I could not reach the top shelp of the cabinets, so I often just hopped up on it my stocking feet--that was the counter where I put mail, etc. Well, one day I hopped up, stepped back, went down pretty awkwardly and hit my head. Bad. I had a concussion. I kind of got my bearings and just sat on the floor until I felt well enough to drive myself to the emergency room when my vision started to get really blurry.
        All for some oolong tea. Nice :)-
        The funny thing is that at the hospital the story must have sounded so stupid that they kept prodding me and telling me that it was okay to tell them if there was some kind of domestic abuse, lol. And I kept insisting that yep, I'm just that much of a dum dum.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alliegator
          a
          Alicat24 Jan 18, 2011 08:20 PM

          Hi Allie from another Ali! As I was responding below to Gaffk, I thought about what you posted about domestic abuse. I thankfully have never been a victim and am also a kitchen "dum dum". Every time I've burned my forearms while cooking, I've always thought that "someone" might see it and think it was the result of abuse.

          The worst was one that somehow was completely round, about a centimeter+ big and looked just like the cigar burn Judd Nelson shows on his forearm in "The Breakfast Club" (if you've ever seen it). I do realize how lucky I am not to be a true victim of abuse but I am still always hyper-aware of my burns when I get them!

        2. jgg13 Jan 18, 2011 02:30 PM

          Worst thing to ever happen to me in a kitchen? That's an easy one.

          Had a cast iron in a 500F oven. Had a pot holder that was new-to-me. Had no idea that pot holder sucked. Grabbed pan handle, 1-2 seconds later dropped the pan screaming in agony. It would seem that this pot holder mitt had a seam that was completely useless when protecting from heat and that said seam went straight down the part of my hand that was the load-carrying bits (so I couldn't even drop it as quickly)

          It's been 2 years now and it still ain't completely right.

          1. SweetPhyl Jan 18, 2011 12:27 PM

            I was working as a pastry chef in a wonderful, small restaurant with a tiny back kitchen in addition to the open kitchen at the front of the house. I normally worked after close, but my schedule dictated that I bake in the back kitchen during service on a particular evening. With the hood system running full blast, I accdidentally dropped a large plastic bin of cocoa powder on the floor and the lid popped off when it hit the floor. The hood system sucked the cocoa powder up in a cloud and dusted the entire back kitchen with chocolate powder--the floor, the racks, the cookware, the prep tables, the walls, EVERYTHING, including me!. While I was standing there with my mouth agape and stunned at my dilemma, one of the wait staff came to the back to grab the coffee pot and simply gave a silent burst of laughter stifled by a hand over her mouth. Presently, the entire staff of the restaurant came back in small groups to view the catastrophe. I suffered several humiliating comments and quite a few rounds of applause, The chef, a long time personal friend, came back, simply shook his head, and walked away. It took me HOURS and HOURS to clean up the mess and I found the brown dust for months afterward. And, of course, my nickname henceforth--Cocoa. Needless to say, the after work cocktail was much appreciated that evening.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SweetPhyl
              gaffk Jan 18, 2011 01:09 PM

              I hope that cocktail was a chocolate martini!

              1. re: gaffk
                SweetPhyl Jan 18, 2011 01:44 PM

                not on yer life! Martini, yes--chocolate, hell to the NO! LOL

            2. hal2010 Jan 16, 2011 02:10 PM

              I was working in a bar during high school, washing dishes in the kitchen. The bartender asks me to get a mop and I see someone has propped it up against the wall behind the fryer, so I reach over and grab hold of it. My hand sticks to it. There is a sizzling sound. I look at it again and notice that the plastic cap on the metal mop handle has melted. I spend the rest of the night plunging my blistered hand into a pickle jar of ice water every 5 minutes.

              1. Monica Nov 4, 2010 10:03 AM

                I hosted last year's thanksgiving and invited my Jewish mother in law. She eats Kosher(btw, I am not Jewish) so I bought a nice big size kosher turkey bird. Followed this great porcini mushroom recipe I got from one of the popular food websites and roasted this beautiful bird...it was really tasty. My mil devoured the turkey. She loved it, said it was the best tasting turkey she has ever had. Then it hit me much later that I wasn't suppose to use butter which i did when cooking meat..I never told her. I just hope she doesn't go to hell for my mistake.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Monica
                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 15, 2011 08:48 PM

                  oy. well at least you didn't do it knowingly...like in the Seinfeld episode in the Hamptons when George purposely slipped lobster meat into Jerry's kosher girlfriend's eggs ;)

                2. janetofreno Oct 26, 2010 10:14 PM

                  I was having trouble getting our oven to light. Apparently the pilot light was out. So I asked my boyfriend to help, but didn't tell him I'd had the gas on for awhile before trying to get it on. It was not pretty when he took a match to the pilot light. He actually burned off a good deal of hair. Fortunately nothing other than his hair was injured.......

                  No, the relationship did not last...but I think he forgave me. This incident was not the cause of our breakup, as far as I know....

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: janetofreno
                    flourgirl Oct 30, 2010 10:04 AM

                    "This incident was not the cause of our breakup, as far as I know...."

                    ...but it probably didn't help. ;)

                    1. re: janetofreno
                      mamachef Jan 17, 2011 04:43 PM

                      Eeeek, I'm so glad it wasn't much worse....
                      It brought to mind a similar (sorta) story when I was taking the kids camping, and the tents were set up and everything was unpacked and in place, so it was time to make a fire and get busy with good old outdoor cookin.' I got a really nice blaze going, and asked number one son to go get me a good-sized stockpot of water, which he very obligingly did, and hauled it back to the campsite, and when I asked him to put it on the fire, he very obligingly did that, too.
                      Luckily we'd brought along a Coleman too, or dinner would've been pbj's, which would've been fine with everyone but me and his nibs. :; )

                      1. re: mamachef
                        a
                        Alicat24 Jan 17, 2011 07:41 PM

                        Mama, I'm a looong time lurker, became an "official" member quite awhile ago and then life got in the way and I haven't posted in a good piece of time (though I read a little bit almost daily). This post of yours "literallly" made me laugh out loud and post again!!!

                        I grew up camping, hubs never had (a "motel" was roughing it!). After 22+ yrs. together, starting when we were 17, he's been schooled! Still, I do all the cooking because I enjoy it, don't think food should be an afterthought because of the limitations, and because I'll always stand by the non-scientific opinion that everything tastes better when you are (semi) outside all the time!

                        The visual of your son dumping the pot full of water onto your carefully built and blazing cooking fire has me sooo comiserating because it very easily could have been me in our early yrs of camping!! Thanks for the belly laugh and "Viva la Coleman stove's"! :D

                    2. Monica Oct 26, 2010 01:21 PM

                      Not really a disaster but i once roasted bone marrows....wow, the smell of bone (i wonder if the morgue house smells like this) stayed inside the house for days.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Monica
                        ZenSojourner Oct 26, 2010 09:07 PM

                        Was slow getting to the stove to turn it down when the pressure cooker started to whistle. Result: The rocker blew off and there was super-heated turkey-barley soup splattered all over every surface all the way up to the 11' ceilings.

                        Had to go in with an umbrella and a pair of heavy duty cowhide gloves to get it turned off.

                      2. d
                        dingey Oct 26, 2010 12:31 PM

                        Plenty of typical spacing-out-and-not-paying-attention burns, cuts, impalings, etc. The thing that stands out, though, was when i tried to make some oven-baked grits recipe using a pyrex dish. Yyyyyeah, judging by other stories on here, you can guess what happened, very early in the process. Explosion, water, milk, butter, and uncooked grits coating the entire inside of the oven. It was a used pyrex dish that I'd picked up somewhere....i assume it had a craze in it that I hadn't noticed.

                        My mom once had a molten-hot jar of homemade applesauce explode just as she was lifting it out of the canner. She still has some bubbled scars up and down her arms years later. AND she still cans. Fear nothing! Excelsior!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dingey
                          mucho gordo Oct 26, 2010 02:30 PM

                          Reminds me of the time, back in the '50's when my mother spilled still bubbling bacon grease on her foot. She couldn't walk for weeks.

                        2. i
                          Isolda Oct 26, 2010 12:04 PM

                          This isn't a cooking story, but it does involve a kitchen. As a nervous first time mom, I was careful to boil, sanitize, and sterilize everything that might have the remotest possibility of coming into contact with my baby daughter's skin. So one day when I was boiling the hell out of my breast pump components, I got a call from my boss. While I was on the phone, my burner superheated (old electric stove). The burner basically consumed itself, shattered the lid of my Chantal pot, and warped the pot. The smoke detectors, which were hard-wired to the fire station, went off. So did the burglar alarm, for which I did not have the code. There was black dust everywhere. After shutting off the stove, I grabbed my baby, strapped her into her car seat and practically threw her out onto the porch while I went back inside to grab our coats. I took her off to a neighbor's house and when I returned, my house was swarming not only with firefighters, but with cops. I got a new stove, a free clearning courtesy of the insurance company, and a reputation as an idiotic new mom.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Isolda
                            q
                            Querencia Nov 2, 2010 06:46 PM

                            More kitchen-but-not-food stories: 1) Tried to sterilize a kitchen sponge by microwaving it. Caught fire. Was out of kitchen at the time---didn't notice fire continuing freely. Had to replace microwave. 2) Set hot steamy pot lid down on glass cooktop. Suction formed. Top cracked. Had to replace glass cooktop. 3) Sons were growing some kind of larval things in a terrarium my kitchen to feed biological specimens of ?. All suddenly grew wings and took to the air minutes before we were having a dinner party--- millions of bugs flying all over the house.

                            1. re: Querencia
                              gaffk Nov 2, 2010 07:10 PM

                              1 & 2 check--we've all been there.

                              3--ROFLMAO. Can't even imagine . . . glad I don't have sons :)

                              1. re: Querencia
                                Monica Nov 2, 2010 07:23 PM

                                #3 is just too funny...thanks for the laugh.

                                1. re: Querencia
                                  flourgirl Nov 3, 2010 04:57 AM

                                  Oh no! #3 is hilarious!! (I'm sure it wasn't at the time, but OMG!!!)

                                  1. re: Querencia
                                    goodhealthgourmet Jan 15, 2011 08:37 PM

                                    okay Querencia, you win!! #3 had me laughing so hard i had to sit back & catch my breath before i could type this.

                                2. b
                                  borntocook1 Oct 26, 2010 11:21 AM

                                  Here's a truly unusual "kitchen" disaster and a great story. It happened back in the 1980's, when somehow I got the bright idea to hard-boil 6 eggs in the microwave oven at our office, by placing them, with water to cover, in a Corningware pot with a glass lid, and setting the oven on "high" to cook for 6 minutes. I had completely forgotten that microwave ovens are not egg-friendly, and the only way to safely do an egg in them is out of the shell, and by first pricking the white and yolk with a fork so the egg does not explode. The microwave was located in a storeroom that served as a makeshift kitchen as well.
                                  About 3 minutes into the cycle, everyone in the office heard a loud "bang" as if someone had just dropped a large box of books onto the floor. We ran in and discovered rotten-smelling egg shards and water dripping all over the counter and floor. The 6 eggs had acted like depth charges and when the fat inside the yolks got hot enough they all blew up. The force blew the lid off the pot and made a hole in the plastic ceiling of the microwave. Also blew out the circuit.
                                  We cleaned it all up, called the repair service and the oven was still under warranty. When the serviceman arrived, I said innocently, "It just stopped working," hoping he wouldn't notice the obvious hole. He never said a word. It was just a blown circuit breaker.
                                  Afterwards we had an office contest for the best "egg bomb" poem. The winner (me as it turned out) was awarded an egg salad sandwich from the sandwich shop downstairs. I think it was the line, "try eggs St. Helens, micro-popped" that won it. I've posted my husband's entry which I thought was the funniest of all. It's a parody of the "cooking eggs in the microwave" instructions that came with the oven. In case you can't read the text with the drawing it reads, "PREPARING HARD-COOKED MICROWAVE". Cooking eggs in their shell is a microwave egg NO. Because you are unable to pierce the shell or the egg membrane, there is no place for the steam to escape. The result would be a messy oven, bursting inside the egg."

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: borntocook1
                                    b
                                    borntocook1 Oct 26, 2010 12:14 PM

                                    Here's the promised drawing.

                                     
                                  2. c
                                    CarmenR Oct 25, 2010 06:40 PM

                                    Cut the end of a finger off chopping basil (there's a reason they say to tuck the fingers in, come to find out!) It cut clear through the nail so they couldn't really stitch it. No longterm damage, everything actually grew back.

                                    And, more humilating than anything, in college my roomie was a crash dieter and had a stint with atkins where she ate bacon 24/7. We had an electric range which she kept EXTREMELY clean- OCD style clean. One day she cooked some bacon and then shut the burner off and removed the pan. A few minutes later I went into the kitchen and there was the tiniest little blue flame aglo on the stove. Thinking it was a grease fire, we tried smothering it with baking soda- no dice. We tried covering it with a plate to drown it out- it exploded our microwave proof plate. it wasn't growing bigger but it wouldnt go out either. We didn't have an extinguisher, so we threw another plate over it and covered it with wet towels while we called the fire dept to ask for advice...
                                    "No, sir, we really dont need a firetruck we're just wondering what we should use to put it out...no, its an inch-sized flame, please don't send the truck...MY GOD we do NOT need a firetruck this is not an emergency..."

                                    2 minutes later we hear sirens and no less than 5 firetrucks barrel into our apt complex, lights ablazing. Every neighbor was on their porch to see what the commotion was about. 15 firemen entered our apartment to find our little eternal flame, which took one "poof" of a extinguisher. We never heard the end of it from our neighbors.
                                    For the record, it was some sort of electrical fire under the range top. Our stove was replaced the next day. And we bought an extinguisher.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: CarmenR
                                      t
                                      Terrieltr Nov 3, 2010 11:40 AM

                                      The "fire" story made me laugh so hard that I started to tear up. Thank you so much for the smiles it brought!

                                      1. re: CarmenR
                                        t
                                        tinnywatty Jan 15, 2011 08:14 PM

                                        lol.. That was the greatest.

                                      2. b
                                        borntocook1 Oct 25, 2010 05:32 PM

                                        I had a similar experience once -- making some fancy gourmet flageolet beans for a pot-luck party with friends (at our home). When the beans (which were delicious and almost perfect), needed some more broth, I added a jar from the freezer of what I thought was chicken broth but turned out to be fish broth my husband had made for a future fish stew (he almost never did anything like that). It nearly blew my mind when I tasted the beans again and they were distinctly fishy. No time to buy more and start over. What to do. I tried pouring off all the liquid and rinsing them in several changes of water, then adding new chicken broth and tomato juice. The result was barely edible, but I was stuck, and none of the guests complained about it. There was a ton of it left, so I sent them home with plastic containers (should have just thrown it out, of course). They never mentioned it later either, so I guess I pulled it off somehow. Also, we did save the fish broth I'd poured off from the beans at the beginning, and later made an absolutely delciious bouillabaise with this -- the bean liquid didn't hurt a bit. So I guess the catastrophe did have a silver lining.

                                        1. RC51Mike Oct 25, 2010 10:23 AM

                                          I had just finished chopping pototoes for home fries and swept my hand across the cutting board....right into the awaiting chef's knife in my other hand....which was stopped by the bone in my index finger. I don't remember how many but, who'd of thought you could put that many sutures in a finger.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: RC51Mike
                                            mamachef Oct 25, 2010 11:31 AM

                                            owowowowowowowowow. You are talking to the proud former owner of 1/4 inch less of a thumb tip (left hand) than I used to have.......sooo bad that no sutures were taken and they didn't even attempt to do anything other than disinfect it and stop the bleeding and wrap it up gooooood. I did go back to work that night. It was considered a badge of honor for a long time to come in that macho kitchen of yore.

                                            1. re: RC51Mike
                                              Emme Oct 25, 2010 01:35 PM

                                              ouch. yours just reminded (don't know how i could have forgotten though) of last year when trying to open a bottle of something with one of those perforated lids. i tried to use a fork to separate a few of the perforations and get it going. unfortunately the fork slipped and ran the circumference of the cap, then on a lovely slant right into the middle section of my index finger. because it was on an angle, about a good half to 3/4 inch of the tine went in. i yanked it out immediately, but thought i was going to pass out.... shudder.

                                            2. mucho gordo Oct 25, 2010 10:05 AM

                                              The "Unspeakable" after cutting up some chilis and heeding the 'call of nature' before I could wash my hands.

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: mucho gordo
                                                mamachef Oct 25, 2010 10:11 AM

                                                Oh gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd. Oh mucho. does it still hurt?

                                                1. re: mamachef
                                                  mucho gordo Oct 25, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                  It did take a few hours for the pain to subside. Milk? Butter? Nothing worked; just had to grimace and bare it. I can joke about it now but..................

                                                2. re: mucho gordo
                                                  ttoommyy Oct 25, 2010 10:13 AM

                                                  Ouuuuuuch!!!!!!

                                                  1. re: mucho gordo
                                                    Veggo Oct 25, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                    In days of old, it was only cropdusters who had to wash their hands BEFORE going.

                                                    1. re: mucho gordo
                                                      Monica Oct 25, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                      OMG, hopefully you don't have a perm damage..lol

                                                      1. re: Monica
                                                        mucho gordo Oct 25, 2010 10:28 AM

                                                        Fortunately, no. It just a 'never to be forgotten' lesson learned the hard way.

                                                        1. re: Monica
                                                          Perilagu Khan Oct 25, 2010 11:09 AM

                                                          Instant bris.

                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                            mucho gordo Oct 25, 2010 11:41 AM

                                                            Reminds me of that silly old joke: A doctor carries a black bag, a plumber carries a tool box but, what does a mohel carry?
                                                            Ans: a bris kit

                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                              mariacarmen Oct 26, 2010 11:16 PM

                                                              ahahaha!

                                                          2. re: mucho gordo
                                                            f
                                                            fooodie Oct 25, 2010 11:11 AM

                                                            Wow, that must have hurt. I cut up a bunch of chili peppers without gloves and even though I washed my hands afterwards, my hands were on fire for at least a day.

                                                            1. re: fooodie
                                                              Pia Oct 25, 2010 12:46 PM

                                                              I have a hot pepper story too. It happened on the couch, but I say it counts because it's cooking-related and we lived in an open floor plan house at the time with no separation between the living room and the kitchen. After I had chopped hot chiles without gloves on, the skin underneath my wedding ring felt like it was burning. I took off the ring and moved it to my pinky finger. While I was making an emphatic gesture, my ring flew off... never to be found again! We lived in that house for seven more years. We moved all the furniture and took apart the radiator. It just disappeared. My husband gave me so much grief for losing my wedding ring after only a few months of marriage that it was worse than the burning sensation from the peppers.

                                                              1. re: fooodie
                                                                l
                                                                LePetitChefCanadien Nov 28, 2011 09:33 PM

                                                                It's bad enough to chop chiles without gloves but if you do, then whatever you do, don't try to take out your contact lenses. I learned that the hard way.

                                                              2. re: mucho gordo
                                                                i
                                                                Isolda Oct 25, 2010 04:58 PM

                                                                I can only imagine! I wear contacts and have removed them even after washing my hands and still suffered.

                                                              3. Monica Oct 25, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                                I boiled an empty pot for over night...that's 8 hours. Ruined a perfectly good All Clad pot...but I was lucky it was a stainless steel pot...if it was something else, i am sure my house would have been on fire.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Monica
                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Oct 25, 2010 08:44 AM

                                                                  one of my college roommates did that when we were having a dinner party. i left her in charge of ONE thing - steam several batches of vegetables while i ran to the store to pick up an ingredient we needed. when i returned, i noticed the stench of charred *something* as soon as i walked in the door. it turned out that she had let all the water boil off, and in addition to scorching the bottom of the pot, the cheap nonstick interior (i think it was a crappy drugstore T-Fal pan) had turned black, bubbled up and melted.

                                                                  i asked her why she hadn't added more water to the pot, and she said i didn't TELL her to :)

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                    Monica Oct 25, 2010 09:25 AM

                                                                    LOL, I wonder what your roommate is doing now.

                                                                    1. re: Monica
                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Oct 25, 2010 05:43 PM

                                                                      funny you should say that...we're still in touch 20 years later, and that was back in Atlanta, but we now live 10 minutes from each other in Los Angeles...and she's become much more competent in the kitchen :)

                                                                2. Emme Oct 24, 2010 09:31 PM

                                                                  earlier this summer actually, i was cooking for my girlfriend's wedding. i needed another oven, so my neighbor let me use his. preheated it, came back, stuck my stuff in. suddenly, i smell smoke... the fire alarm is blaring downstairs. well, turns out the night before in a drunkener state, he'd made pizza and some cheese dripped to the bottom of the oven. it was of course now burning. the place was filled with smoke. i had to bring his dog upstairs while i got the fan seriously going to air out the place. to add insult, smoke filled the apartment on the other side of his too. and they're asthmatics. needless to say, generous neighbor with oven felt badly. as did i. good news is, the smell cleared, the place didn't burn down, AND my dish didn't smell like charred cheese in the slightest!

                                                                  1. amokscience Oct 24, 2010 09:11 PM

                                                                    Pot of oil flash steamed or something and exploded into my mother's face. The pot fell onto the floor and left a nice permanent reminder. After the emergency room visit my mother's face and one eye were wrapped up in gauze for the better part of three months but she made a full recovery with little effect.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: amokscience
                                                                      flourgirl Oct 25, 2010 08:26 AM

                                                                      OMG! That's horrible! So glad to read that she made a full recovery.

                                                                      1. re: amokscience
                                                                        Monica Oct 25, 2010 08:31 AM

                                                                        OMG, That's crazy scary...

                                                                      2. RealMenJulienne Oct 24, 2010 08:47 PM

                                                                        Back in college when I didn't really know how to cook anything, I somehow got the idea to make french fries from scratch. I hacked up some potatoes until they looked about the right size, stuck a pot of oil over the burner and turned that thing all the way up. When I dumped in the potatoes, the whole thing immediately foamed over and started a grease fire on the stovetop. Our small apartment filled with smoke and cursing roommates. After I got the fire out and the roommates placated, I decided to soldier on with the fries. They turned out great! Could my initial fry - then removal from the fire - then second fry, have unwittingly duplicated the famous double-fry process?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                                          mamachef Oct 25, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                                          Sounds like you were truly on a mission that day, RMJ - funny, you did a true blanch and second fry without meaning to....

                                                                        2. s
                                                                          sherriberry Oct 24, 2010 05:15 PM

                                                                          I, too, have had the pyrex explosion-mine was mac and cheese. What a mess. I also once tried to hard boil an egg in th microwave. If you leave it on too long, it will make a lovely explosion throwing open the micro door and spewing egg throughout the kitchen. The best, however was when I was 25 and my roommate and I invited our parents for Thanksgiving dinner. We put the turkey in the oven and proceeded to watch an I Love Lucy marathon on tv while enjoying many mimosas. When we went to take the turkey out, our coordination was a little off and it slid across the kitchen floor. We picked it up, wiped it off, served it and never told our folks until years later. We don't see each other often anymore, but when we do, we always laugh about our "lucy and Ethel"moment.

                                                                          1. MinkeyMonkey Oct 24, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                                            Mine was pretty simple. I have tons of my grandparents' old kitchen things--dishes, utensils, baking ware. I had a simple pyrex rectangular brown glass baking dish, about the size of a bread pan--nothing fancy, nothing I could not replace but it once belonged to my grandparents'!

                                                                            I had it on the counter top and for some strange reason set a gigantic lid on top of it. The lid is metal and obviously not see through.

                                                                            Later, I went to grab the lid and wondered why it was so, I dunno, weighted. Yeah, that was sad and my brain was slow and the lid pulled the pan onto the red stone floor--KRASH!!

                                                                            I no longer set lids or other items on top of anything.

                                                                            1. j
                                                                              jenni49 Oct 24, 2010 04:13 PM

                                                                              For me, it was the time I took a very hot roasting pan out of the oven & set it on a plastic cutting board. I checked for doneness and decided it needed a few more minutes. Putting it back in the oven, I failed to notice that the plastic board was stuck to the pan. The plastic melting smell a few minutes later alerted me to what I had done. Needless to say, I destroyed the board & the racks with melted plastic. Thankfully the roast itself survived. Then there was the time I exploded the pressure cooker... Another story & the end of my pressure cooking.

                                                                              1. onceadaylily Oct 24, 2010 03:39 PM

                                                                                I might have told this story on CH before, but I once, during a lunch rush, too-hastily tried to pull down a glass salad plate from its shelf, which was above the *open* prep cart. You have to understand. I was told often by my customers how they liked to watch me in that little kitchen. One said it was like watching the ballet. I could keep an endless array of tasks going with little error. I guess I was saving up for a big one.

                                                                                There were only two of us working, a line going to the door, and tickets lined up like the white brick road to hell when I began to pull that plate down from the stack. I don't know how many plates came down. I remember the sound of the glass breaking. I think I said, either, "Noooooo!", or "%$^&!", (but it's kind of a blur), and then just stared in dumb horror at the shards that littered every bit of the prepped produce and spreads. I had just refilled the damn thing with the last of the prep, the prep that I had worked like mad throughout the morning, between customers, to have ready for the lunch rush, and all of it was useless. It had been a really busy day, and I remember I wanted to cry. And quit. The cutting boards were so sparkly, and the floor was so crunchy, and I had worked so hard, but then screwed it all up so magnificently.

                                                                                My coworker had just come on shift, and was fresh enough to pull us both through the extra work and angry demands for food from people who were due back at work. Even though we cleaned it up the best we could, I think both of us were waiting to be called on the carpet by a customer with a bloody tongue. On the other hand, my martini tasted quite special later that afternoon. I think it was the best drink I ever had.

                                                                                1. j
                                                                                  jeanmarieok Oct 24, 2010 11:35 AM

                                                                                  Exploding Pyrex. I was making spoonbread, and put the dish in the oven with a half stick of butter to melt and get hot. Pulled the pan out of the oven, and as I poured the batter into the pan, it exploded into a million pieces. Glass everywhere. Found some years later when we pulled the stove out from the wall to fix a gas leak.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                    mamachef Oct 24, 2010 01:15 PM

                                                                                    That really negates the whole selling point of Pyrex, doesn't it?
                                                                                    Dear Nephew, at the age of four, poured an entire cup of sugar into Baby sister's microwave vents and kept it way on the down-low. She was nuking a micro-extravaganza dinner (something long, like meatloaf and baked potatoes at the same time) when the terrible things started happening; first an audible series of shorts, then sparks, flames and actual FIRE. Again, a chemical extinguisher was dispatched without delay. She has never allowed another micro in her home, which may or may not be a plus for her.

                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                      onceadaylily Oct 24, 2010 03:43 PM

                                                                                      I've heard the Pyrex story from too many people. I have one, and I use it with the greatest caution. I always feel as if I'm tempting fate a bit.

                                                                                      1. re: onceadaylily
                                                                                        flourgirl Oct 25, 2010 08:25 AM

                                                                                        I had a pyrex pan explode in my oven. I posted about it on CH when it happened. No more pyrex for me.

                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                          Firegoat Oct 30, 2010 07:48 AM

                                                                                          I had a "Visions" casserole pan explode in the oven. Had used it a billion times.... I guess that was one too many times.

                                                                                      2. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                        dcdavis Oct 25, 2010 02:01 PM

                                                                                        Same story. Eggplant parmesan! (already posted the whole ordeal elsewhere, can't relive it again!)

                                                                                      3. m
                                                                                        morwen Oct 24, 2010 09:51 AM

                                                                                        Worst thing that happened to me was trying to save a large Sicilian pizza that a novice coworker was pulling out of the oven. Instead of pulling the peel on the level with one hand supporting the handle near the pizza, he pulled it with both hands on the back of the handle. It twisted in his grip, the pizza started sliding, and I caught it, hot melty cheese side down on the inside of both forearms. The burns were nasty but healed with little scarring. Lessons learned: (1)Splatted pizza is much cheaper in the long run than ER charges, follow up, and lengthy down time. (2) If it's hot or pointy let it go and get out of the way.

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: morwen
                                                                                          mamachef Oct 24, 2010 10:19 AM

                                                                                          Word, Morwen!! "If it's hot or pointy let it go and get out of the way." Truer words never spoken.

                                                                                          1. re: morwen
                                                                                            natewrites Oct 24, 2010 10:24 AM

                                                                                            Mamachef, great story. Similar experience happened to me when I worked in the salad station of a supper club as the owner came back with one of my salads with an earring in it! I was ashamed. I forgot about my past restaurant stories. LOL.

                                                                                            From my home kitchen, I can remember in college in the 1980's when I didn't eat meat. At the time, there wasn't any mass-market style veggie Boca burgers available. So I was going to make lentil burgers en mass and freeze them.

                                                                                            You had to put batches of cooked lentils in the blender and it was such a time-consuming process of shutting the blender off, stirring, putting the top back on, hitting the power and so forth, that I decided to just carefully poke my wooden spoon into the blender with the top off while the motor was running. I had thought I was getting good at this when I stuck the wooden spoon too far into the blades and all hell broke loose.

                                                                                            Probably a two cups of the lentil mud/mess shot out of the blender and up into my face and long hair and up onto the ceiling and all over my kitchen cupboards.

                                                                                            I have NO idea how that splattered so badly. Needless to say, the lentil burgers were awful and didn't stay together. Sigh.

                                                                                            1. re: natewrites
                                                                                              mamachef Oct 24, 2010 10:39 AM

                                                                                              There really is just something about a wooden spoon handle and blender-blades, isn't there? Creates an astounding mess. This brought to mind the one time my mom, the un-cook, tried a pressure cooker to do tomato sauce. This was in the old days. I remember hearing that whistle. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I ran out to find her poised at the kitchen entryway, looking at that pot, afraid to enter.
                                                                                              Next scene: Kaboom. Picture mom, for the next three months, using a toothpick to clean out the holes in her (for whatever reason) acoustic ceiling and the letters in the stove.....

                                                                                              1. re: natewrites
                                                                                                i
                                                                                                Isolda Oct 25, 2010 04:53 PM

                                                                                                I did the same thing, only the implement was a knife and the food was tuna. Had to wash my hair several times to get the smell out. The cabinets stank for weeks in spite of thorough cleaning.

                                                                                              2. re: morwen
                                                                                                Perilagu Khan Oct 24, 2010 11:33 AM

                                                                                                I bet that took the wind out of your sails.

                                                                                                1. re: morwen
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  LauraGrace Oct 24, 2010 11:42 AM

                                                                                                  A big amen to #2. Learned that the hard way with a saran wrap dispenser blade. Fortunately no scar, but it sucked.

                                                                                                  1. re: morwen
                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                    smartie Oct 24, 2010 03:28 PM

                                                                                                    saved a tray of bread in tins in a bakery when I was about 22 years old, they slid as I was taking them out of the oven and I caught the tray on the inside of my right arm!! Still have the scar too 30 years later.

                                                                                                    1. re: morwen
                                                                                                      Emme Oct 24, 2010 09:27 PM

                                                                                                      not a cooking catastrophe per se, but in college i was heating up some hot water for tea in my microwave. put tea bag in, then nuked to release the tea. pulling it out, i dropped the cup on my foot... which was in a sock... which pulled the hot water right in. the skin was charred off my foot. took 3-4 months to heal, during which time i would send my mother pictures via email. they were horrendous, and she eventually said, "stop. i can't eat lunch." i did however run through the entire recovery, bandaging the foot really well. and shockingly, there's no scar... i don't know how i got so lucky. now, i am always wary of tea, with everyone, esp on a rickety shaky table.

                                                                                                      1. re: Emme
                                                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Oct 24, 2010 10:23 PM

                                                                                                        owowowowow. Emme, i drink tea all day long, and i'm now going to think of you every time i even make a tiny splash when pouring...though i always use an electric kettle because i can't stand nuked water :)

                                                                                                    2. Veggo Oct 24, 2010 09:20 AM

                                                                                                      I suppose the worst thing you can do in your kitchen is what Hunter S. Thompson did.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                        mamachef Oct 24, 2010 09:26 AM

                                                                                                        Is that where the venerable man, ah......"offed" himself? I'd have a real hard time getting past the association, if I had to cook in that kitchen I'm not sure I could. Kinda like buying a house where a mass murder occurred.
                                                                                                        Baby sister claims that the worst thing that ever happened in the kitchen was her walking into it with an eye towards doing some cookin'. Never happened; she broke down halfway through reading the recipe. They order out a lot. She scrambles many eggs and they make do.

                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                          flourgirl Oct 25, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                                                                          I just happen to live four houses down from a house where two sweet older people were brutally murdered by their son... the house actually sold six months later. I couldn't believe it.

                                                                                                      2. goodhealthgourmet Oct 24, 2010 08:54 AM

                                                                                                        mamachef, you're in good company. check out the following thread (my first reply within it contains links to a bunch of others as well):

                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703594

                                                                                                        BTW, most cooks who have ever lived in a tiny NYC apartment with a barely-serviceable kitchen, have, at some point, turned on the oven forgetting to remove whatever (books, sweaters, shoes) they had stored in there. fortunately for me, it was just extra pans, and i remembered when i heard the loud *bang!* when one of the sheet trays began to warp from the heat ;)

                                                                                                        1. mamachef Oct 24, 2010 08:29 AM

                                                                                                          My second worst, and I still get cold chills when I think about it, was when I was brand, spankin' new on the line, like my 2nd day at my first in-house job. I was in the habit of stashing a lighter, a couple of cigarettes, and a roll of certs in my (buttoned) jacket pocket so that I wouldn't have to make a mad dash upstairs first when the opportunity presented itself. Breaktime rolled around, and I headed out to the alley alongside the restaurant and grabbed for my smoking materials, which magically were not there. I went dashing back into the house and proceeded to tear my station apart looking for the missing items. Did NOT find them. Had no idea what to do. Proceeded with the night, cleaned up, broke it down and went home.
                                                                                                          The next day I showed up for my shift, and was met at the kitchen door by Chef, who was wearing a very grim expression and holding a pan of romaine that I'd prepped out the day before. He thrust it into my hands and told me to dig around. I knew what was coming. I knew what was in there. I pulled out a......nonworking lighter, two shredded smokes, and a roll of melty, decomposing certs.
                                                                                                          No words for this one. I just looked at him miserably and said, I'm soooooo.......I'm sooooooo.
                                                                                                          to which he said, yes, you're sooooooo witless. Didn't fire me. Let me go with a very stern warning. Everafter, I stored nothing in my jacket but air. I think this scenario would've turned out differently if something had actually gotten served. Thank goodness: small miracles.

                                                                                                          1. Perilagu Khan Oct 24, 2010 07:46 AM

                                                                                                            I was making a soup that featured shrimp for a large family gathering a few days before Christmas. This must have been around 1991. Anyway, I was running late as I peeled the shrimp. The guests were to arrive at any moment. In my haste I accidentally tossed the peeled shrimp into the trash instead of the shrimp scraps. As I prepared to add the shrimp to the pot, I realized my mistake. I mentioned my awful situation to a cousin who was hanging around in the kitchen. About that time my grandparents rang the doorbell. My cousin said, "Quick, dig the shrimp out of the trashcan and put them in the soup! Nobody will know!"

                                                                                                            That is exactly what I did, and nobody DID know, although my grandparents, pretty shrewd observers of their fellow human beings, asked if everything was alright when they entered the kitchen. I suspect we were unable to conceal our guilt entirely.

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                              mamachef Oct 24, 2010 08:20 AM

                                                                                                              Classic. That's the kind of situation where you just "kiss the food up to G-d" and hope for the best. I bet the soup tasted good, though.

                                                                                                              1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                Perilagu Khan Oct 24, 2010 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                Nobody complained.

                                                                                                                But the entire family went down with botulism. ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Oct 24, 2010 02:40 PM

                                                                                                                  ha! :)

                                                                                                                  we once had to send about 30 holiday guests to the hospital to get tested for Hepatitis A when we found out that our housekeeper who had set the table and handled everyone's dishes, drinkware, and cutlery was infected...fortunately everyone was fine.

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Oct 25, 2010 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                    Good help is hard to find.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Oct 25, 2010 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                      that's why *i* personally choose to do it all myself ;)

                                                                                                              2. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                ttoommyy Oct 25, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                This experience doesn't contain any pain, food poisoning or fire, but...

                                                                                                                not too long ago, I went to grab for a box of Quaker's quick-cooking grits kept in a cabinet up above the microwave (which is above my range) and yes, I dropped it. Grits and grits dust everywhere you can possible imagine. This is stuff nightmare's are made of. Luckily, I have a partner who calmed me down and cleaned up most of it for me while I stood there in shock (and grits).

                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Oct 25, 2010 05:39 PM

                                                                                                                  i've got a better one for you...potato starch. ugh.

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